Benefits of going to school year-round

HOLT, Mich. (WSYM) - As many students just start heading back to the classroom, some in mid-Michigan have been back for nearly a month already.  That's because they attend what some call a year-round or balanced schedule.  FOX 47's Marcus Dash has more on what that is and why some say it's the best way to learn.

The students and faculty at Sycamore Elementary in Holt are still going to school for the same amount of days as a traditional school, which is 180 days.  They just don't have the usual long summer break.

"We eliminate that huge gap in the summer where a large majority of kids have summer reading loss or even summer learning loss," said Sycamore Elementary Principal Steve Garrison.

This type of school schedule has been offered in the Holt area for years.

Kristin Whitwam a Sycamore mother has had her kids in traditional schools settings.  She said this type of schedule allows her kids to enjoy their summer break.

"We don't have to spend a lot of time doing review in the summer, because the summer is so much shorter that they don't really have the time to forget," said Kristin Whitwam.

With the shortened summer break, Sycamore Elementary gets more time off during the year with longer spring and winter break and an additional fall break.

"We noticed kids kinda getting a little more tired right before Memorial break, we noticed behaviors starting to rise, the kids go on that one week break, kids get caught up on their rests, they get that reduction," said Garrison.

Aside from giving kids time to rest, Garrison says the biggest key to making any kind of schedule work whether it be balanced or traditional is keeping faculty fresh.

"Teaching is tiring, it's stressful, and having those breaks throughout the year re-energizes staff as well," said Garrison.

Whitwam says parents should consider this schedule because it can also help save money.

"We also get a pretty decent fall break in October, there's a lot of one to two-week breaks throughout the year, so when that's when we usually go on vacation it's cheaper," said Whitwam.

The Elementary School has been doing the balanced schedule for six years and has maintained their student population of about 400 students.

Parents who support it hope this type of scheduling will catch on at the Middle School or High School down the road.

There is currently no plan for the Middle school and High schools in Holt to consider the balanced schedule, but for now, they are fine with giving parents of Elementary school students the option.