In the state of Wisconsin, it is required by law that students in grades 7 through 12 complete a minimum of 1,137 hours in any given school year. Typically, this is broken down between 180 days of instructional time within the months of September through June.
In more recent years, some districts have been pushing for year-round school.
But what exactly does this look like?
In most cases, year-round school functions in one of two ways: 45/15 or 60/20. In both methods, the amount of instructional time remains the same. This is frequently the most misunderstood aspect of year-round schooling.
Both scenarios of year-round schooling allow for the instructional period to remain the same. In the 45/15 method; there are 45 consecutive days of instruction, followed by a fifteen-day break. In these schedules, normal holidays are still scheduled as time off.
60/20 is similar in the structure, but students are given 60 instructional days, with a 20-day break.
The push for year-round schooling is derived from the additional benefits.
One is student and teacher burnout. In the typical schooling schedule, there are three small breaks and a long three-month summer break. In this time students and teachers are required to instruct and meet for several months before receiving a week-long break. This method puts lots of stress on students and staff, not allowing them to regenerate. Whilst also forcing them to use one short break to compensate for several months of instruction.
Additionally, this system helps lower-income families and areas. A three-month break during the summer can be hard to accommodate for families that cannot afford childcare. Although many programs are available, many only go until midday or do not have alternatives for older children. In year-round schooling systems, the breaks are shorter, and more manageable.
Sports and extracurricular activities also play a large role in the push for year-round schooling. Due to the breakdown of the year, sports seasons can be extended (offering four instead of three) and allowing athletes to participate in more activities. For example, baseball and softball would be summer sports and would be available to all groups of students, instead of being offered just club sports, which not everyone can afford. This would also allow for athletes to rid themselves of the sacrifice between, for instance, soccer and softball in the spring for girls.
Overall the year-round school system allows for far more opportunities for students, districts, and families.