Overcrowded Schools: Some Thoughts On The Year-Round Schedule

Back in the day, I attended a year-round school due to overcrowding in the Clark County School District. Look at how many kids were in my 5th grade class.

There were over 40 kids in my class, but never all at the same time. Every few weeks, about ten of us would go on track break (there were 5 tracks). This happened throughout the year, August through August, thus the year-round school concept.

So while my track was gone, my classmates were still learning. When my track returned it was a tricky mess of catching us up while continuing with the education of the students who had not been on track break. And don’t forget, about ten other students left for track break when my track returned. It sounds like a confusing mess because that is exactly what it was.

Looking back, I often wonder how my education would have been different if I hadn’t been a part of this program. I know that there were major holes in my learning because it was an impossible situation for teachers to teach. I know that most of my teachers worked hard and did inspiring lessons with us. I’m pretty sure they were also overwhelmed and constantly trying to figure out how to make the crazy schedule work.

I remember having a lot of substitute teachers as well. I don’t know how many days my teachers were required to work and take off, but I have faint memories of my teachers taking significant chunks of time off. I think that was hard on them and us.

It was not a good situation. Now, we are bringing back year-round schools again (it comes and goes). Luckily, it works differently now. Regular classroom teachers are assigned one track. If a teacher is assigned track 4, all of the students are in track 4, which means the teacher and students take their time off on the same schedule. It’s much better this way, but it still creates strain at school.

For example, the music, art, library, p.e. and humanities teachers have to juggle lessons and try to keep track of which tracks have completed projects, which ones haven’t, etc. Their job is already immense, working with all of the kids at the school. So this makes it way more stressful. It’s also hard to plan art nights and music concerts and carnivals because there will always be a track that is missing. As a teacher, you care about what you are presenting to students and their families. You don’t want kids missing out because of the school schedule.

Even though I swore I would never work in a year-round situation like I experienced when I was a student, that is exactly what I’m doing now. I teach at two schools. One school is year-round and the other one is not. At my year-round school, I teach six classes. Each class has interesting combinations of students in tracks 1-5. In some classes I have all of the kids on my roster during certain times of the year. In other classes there is always someone on track break. It has made it rough to complete complicated projects with students. I’m trying to figure out how to isolate lessons/projects so that they fit into the small chunks of time I have kids before the next switch, and the next switch, and the next switch. It will be interesting to see what I come up with this year to cope with this situation. I wish I had a crystal ball to see how far into the future we will need to be on a year-round schedule. I wish we had enough schools built so that we could go back to all schools being on the nine month schedule.

About misslittleowl

A teacher writing about local happenings, school adventures, intriguing books, desert gardening, and whatever else she stumbles upon that needs sharing.
This entry was posted in Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Overcrowded Schools: Some Thoughts On The Year-Round Schedule

  1. Catherine says:

    I did not know that this is how some schools do year round. This is crazy! I remember writing an essay in school about how we should go from the standard 9 month schedule to a year round schedule, but it was more about preventing summer “brain drain” than trying to cram too many kids into too small of a space. I couldn’t imagine missing a week of school while my classmates still attended.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankfully, the year-round schedule has been improved since I was a kid, but there are still some loose ends. It would be so much nicer if we had enough school buildings for all of our neighborhoods.

      I like how you are thinking of different school schedule options to increase knowledge retention. I would like a more consistent schedule. I want as many 5-day weeks as possible (next Friday the kids have a staff development day off and the following Monday off for Labor Day). It is so hard to get routines set when days keep disappearing. A longer school year probably wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s