SCHOOL IN AUBURN
Year Round School in
A report to the
Auburn City Schools Board of Education
November 7, 1998
Stop Year Round School
Citizen's Group300 N. Dean Rd.
5172Auburn, AL 36830-5045
1998, Stop Year Round School Citizen's Group,
required for reproduction of any part of this document.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
3 BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
INVESTIGATION OF YRS IN AUBURN
4 REASONS GIVEN FOR YEAR
ROUND SCHOOL AND RESPONSES
CHARGE 4.2 AUBURN
DIRECTIVE 4.3 CONTINUITY
TEACHERS 5.2 BUDGET
6 UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
7 SUGGESTIONS FOR
IMPROVEMENTS TO AUBURN CITY SCHOOLS
COMMENTS FROM PETITIONING, 3 NOV
OF OTHER SCHOOL SYSTEMS WITH YEAR ROUND
TEXT OF PAPERS
Year Round School
Auburn City Schools (ACS) is
evaluating the desirability of year round school (YRS).
This document has been assembled
from many sources to address the reasons given for instituting year round
school in Auburn. The study shows that:
1) Directives from the Board of
Education and Auburn 2020 were to study extending the school year - not
alternative calendar or YRS;2)
YRS doesn't provide continuity of learning (just the
opposite);3) YRS doesn't bring
academic gains for the students overall or at-risk students in particular; and
4) Teacher burn out is only
sometimes alleviated with YRS.
There are some very valid
concerns about this calendar. Teachers' opportunities for summer work on
advanced degrees or employment will be limited. There will be in-creased costs
to implement YRS, not only monetarily but also in terms of family and community
disruption. YRS means a smaller window of opportunity for other educa-tional
experiences like camps, employment, recreational programs, vacations and
quality family time.
conclusion: reject the YRS
concept, carefully evaluate the several sizeable changes recently made in the
school system, and spend our resources on proven pro-grams and policies that
give the greatest help in improving the academic achievement of our children.
The year round school
concept is simple -- spread the school days out over more of the year by
increasing both the number and the length of the breaks in the school year.
There is a myriad of ways to do this.
The Auburn City Schools
administration examined and rejected the concept of year round school in 1992
and is revisiting the issue in 1998. The idea is controversial. This document
is an attempt to identify and respond to the reasons ACS has given for making
the calendar change, as well as providing information on other aspects of the
issue and suggestions for change. Hopefully, this document will clarify the
Since 1 September 1998, six
major reasons have been given for changing the ACS traditional calendar to a
year round calendar. Each is listed below and addressed in a section of this
document. None have academic
The reasons are:
1. The Board of
Education charged the Auburn City Schools administration to study the year
round school concept.2. The
Auburn 2020 report directed Auburn City Schools to examine the year round
"Continuity of learning" is enhanced under year round
school.4. Overall academic
achievement increases with year round
school.5. Year round school will
improve the performance of at-risk
students.6. Year round school is
needed to reduce teacher burnout.
Each reason above is quite
distinct from the others, and requires a different set of facts to address it.
Each is addressed in this document.
Brief history of the
investigation of YRS in Auburn
An Auburn City Schools committee
(Action Team Number 6) examined both ex-tended program and YRS in 1992. They
rejected the idea of year round school and produced the attached document.
(Document 1, TO: STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE) The primary conclusions were:
Extend the school day by one
(1) hour three (3) days a week for grades 5-12,
Increase the number of student school days by 5 (from 175 to 180 days),
Maintain the traditional school
year, and Expand the summer
(See also Document 20, Guest
Column in the Opelika-Auburn News, 27 Oct 1998 by Lauren Lancaster Pugh, a
member of the 1992 committee.)
In October 1997, another Auburn
City Schools year round school committee was formed. It met during the 1997 --
1998 school year and convened again on 1 Sep 1998.
The Committee inducted about 17
new members on 1 September 1998, to bring the total to approximately 52. At
this meeting, the Committee rejected their interim report on year round school,
and was charged with creating a new interim report. Subcommittees were formed
to address areas of concern. A Facts Subcommittee was formed and charged with
determining the academic merit of year round school. On 15 Sep, the Facts
Subcommittee received for evaluation the year round school literature collected
by the Committee during the previous year -- over 80 documents including
research papers, studies, and articles amounting to over 1000 pages. From this
information, the subcommittee concluded that only 14 of these documents were
"fact, not opinion, statistically significant, single track YRS" and
therefore pertinent to Auburn. It is primarily from this information that the
subcommittee produced their recommendation.
In early September, the Auburn
City Schools administration declined to release the names of the Committee
members (Document 2, Opelika-Auburn News, 11 Sep 1998). Later the names were
released to the public (Document 3, Opelika-Auburn News, 18 Sep 1998).
The Committee met again on 1
October 1998. One result of this meeting was the adoption of two contradictory
Fact Sheets that were subsequently printed and mailed to the parents of Auburn
City School students. Examples of their contradictions are in the following
Fact Sheet One
Fact Sheet Two
"With these problems acknowledged, a
review of these studies indicates that under a year-round school there is:
Inconclusive evidence of an increase
of overall academic achievement
students do as well or better than traditional calendar
"Inconclusive evidence of social
improvements for example better attendance, better attitude, less vandalism,
"Most studies report increased
student attendance in YRS."
The committee also announced the
holding of a public meeting on year round school on 12 Oct 1998. The formal
announcement of this meeting and associated PTA meetings was made to Auburn
City School student parents on 7 Oct 1998, with a flyer that was sent home with
students. A newsletter was mailed to parents, arriving on 9 or 10 Oct 1998
(depending on mail district), that included the contradictory fact sheets and
the dates of the public meeting and PTA public meetings.
The public meeting was held on
12 Oct 1998 at Auburn High School. Attendees were invited to write their
questions only on paper supplied at the meeting. The questions were screened by
a panel of five, before being passed to the modera-tor, who sorted them and
asked the committee to respond.
At the conclusion of the
meeting, there were over 50 questions left unanswered (personal communication
with Dr. Ley, meeting moderator. See also Document 5, Opelika-Auburn News, 15
Oct 1998 and Document 25, Auburn Bulletin, 7 Nov 1998).
Subsequently, PTA meetings were
held at all schools where attendees could direct questions about year round
school to panels (different at each school). These concluded on 21 1998. Some
results of these meetings are cited below.
a) Dr. Martin, at
the Auburn Early Education Center PTA meeting, 15 Oct 1998, said that
remediation during intersessions could cost $1,700,000. At the Cary Woods PTA
meeting, 21 Oct 1998, he cited this same figure as an upper limit that would
include transportation and meals during intersession.
b) Also at the
Auburn Early Education Center PTA meeting, 15 Oct 1998, Ms. Jean Spicer who
works with "welfare" moms in her job pointed out that with welfare
reform these parents must hold a job to qualify for food stamps but can't
afford childcare for the intersessions. Therefore, she said that many at-risk
children would become latchkey children during intersessions.
c) Several teachers
at the Cary Woods PTA meeting, 21 Oct 1998, said it would be difficult to
establish the trusting and stable relationship necessary for elementary
students' maximum learning in the 1 or 2 week remediation period during
intersession. A teacher at the Ogletree PTA meeting, 26 Oct 1998, seconded this
concern. At the lower grades the formation of a trusting relationship is very
important and this simply cannot happen in a week of in-tersession.
for 1998 year round school investigation conducted by Auburn City Schools.
First committee meetings held.
1 Sep 1998
Committee meeting held. Summary year
round school document rejected as being too biased. Subcommittees were formed,
including the Facts Subcommittee which was charged with determining academic
merit of year round school
14 Sep 1998
Auburn City Schools releases copies of
1000 pages of literature for the Facts Sub-committee to read and interpret.
1 Oct 1998
Full Committee meets again to hear report
from Facts Subcommittee. Committee adopts two conflicting Facts Sheets and
agrees to send them to the public. Neither is the sheet that most members of
the Facts Subcommittee expected to be presented to the Committee (Document 24,
Memo to ACS Alternative Calendar Committee, dated Nov 3, 1998 and Memo to Dr.
Martin, dated Oct 4, 1998).
Dr. Martin announces Town Meeting on 12
7 Oct 1998
Parents informed of Town Meeting by
9 - 10 Oct 1998
Parents receive Auburn City Schools
Committee conflicting fact sheets by mail.
11 Oct 1998
Opelika-Auburn News announces Town
Meeting to be held the next day. This is the only city-wide announcement.
12 Oct 1998
Town Meeting held. 400 attend.
12-26 Oct 1998
Special PTA meeting/forums held on year
round school. Questions and answers.
26 Oct to 3 Nov
Committee time to hear, digest,
investigate comments from citizens and formulate responses and investigate
issues and citizen concerns
(NOTE: this is only seven
3 Nov 1998
Final committee meeting held. No
discussion of public input. 45 minute meeting.
4 Reasons given for year round
school and responses.
4.1 Board Charge
"On March 11, 1997, the
Board of Education charged the administration to set up a committee to study
the ramifications of an alternative/extended year calendar" (Document 6,
Fact Sheet for Alternative Calendar Exploration Committee, p. 1). There is no
record in the minutes of the 11 March 1997 Board of Education meet-ing that
shows the administration being asked to investigate year round school (Document
7, ACS fax dated 9/16/98). In a memo following that board meeting, Dr. Ferne
Garrett, Associate Superintendent, says the board has "instructed the
administration to set up a committee to study the ramifications of an
alterna-tive/extended school year (Document 8, Memo to Calendar Committee dated
March 21, 1997).
In fact, back in Nov 1997, the
name of the current Committee was the "Extended Year Exploration"
committee (Document 9, Extended Year Exploration Agenda). The current committee
should be considering only extending the year, not year round school that has
the same number of days.
It is worth noting that the
primary recommendations by the ACS 1992 year round school committee were to
extend the school day, and to extend the school year, as ways of improving
learning (Document 1, TO: STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE).
4.2 Auburn 2020 Directive
Ms. Lynda Rainer, in the
Opelika-Auburn News (Document 10, Opelika-Auburn News, 14 Sep 1998) referred to
the "--2020 directive--" as a reason to investigate year round
school. Dr. Martin referred to the 2020 subcommittees that were directing ACS
to investigate YRS (Document 22, Opelika-Auburn News, 10 Sep 1998).
In the Auburn 2020 report, two
subcommittees of the Education Committee rec-ommended that the ACS School Board
be encouraged to evaluate options for "--revising and extending the school
calendar--" (Document 11, Auburn 2020, pp. 22 & 26). The Family and
Community Committee recommended that for 11 -- 15 year olds, we "extend
the school year and extend the use of our school buildings past the traditional
school day" (Document 11, Auburn 2020, p. 111).
Extending the school year is not
year round school. "Extended
School Year is the lengthening of
the school year from 175 instructional days up to 240 instructional days.
Auburn City Schools is NOT
considering this option" (Document 6, Fact Sheet for Alternative Calendar
Exploration Committee, front page, emphasis in original).
Extending the school day (as
suggested on p. 111 of Auburn 2020) is not year round school. Extending the
school day is the lengthening of the school day by an hour or so. Auburn City
Schools is not considering this option despite the fact that this is one of the
few proven ways to improve academic performance (Frazier et al., 1998)
4.3 Continuity of learning
It has been suggested that a
year round calendar will provide a greater continuity of learning by reducing
the length of the summer break. In a letter about YRS pub-lished in the
Opelika-Auburn News, 18 Sep 1998, the President of the ACS Board of Education
wrote, "The only difference is longer breaks throughout the year and a
shorter break in the summer. The premise is more continuity of learning "
(Document 3, Opelika-Auburn News, 18 Sep 1998, p. A-5). Year round school (YRS)
can reduce the summer break to 6 or 7 weeks.
However, summer learning loss
doesnÌt happen in all academic areas nor does it happen with all
children. One study (Cooper et al., 1996) investigates academic loss during the
summer vacation. This was not an empirical study, but a review of several
empirical studies. It found that some students gain, some lose, but most show
little change on standardized tests between spring and fall. Perhaps most
important is their conclusion that children who have the opportunity to do
things during the summer improve on tests of some subjects and return better
off than when they left in the spring. Those children who do not have these
advantages either show no improvement or, in some cases, loss.
YRS also introduces another
break in the school year compared to the traditional calendar. This gives the
students one more time to forget what they are learning. As one parent at the
Auburn High School PTA meeting, 20 Oct 1998, pointed out, breaks in the school
year are particularly difficult for children with learning disabilities to
handle. These students do much better with a consistent schedule.
YRS can also lengthen the
current winter and spring breaks to 3 weeks (see sam-ple calendar D in ACS
Newsletter, Document 4, Exploration of An Alternative Calendar). This gives
students more time to forget. KneeseÌs comment that "In some
single-track designs there are shorter intersession periods, which may produce
as advantage of greater learning retention" (Kneese, 1996, p. 70) suggests
that rather than serving to provide a continuity of learning, intersessions
cause learning loss.
In the middle and high schools,
where single subjects are taught by individual teachers (science, math,
English), year-round school amounts to Block Schedul-ing, which already exists
at Auburn High School. Block Scheduling provides up to twelve months for
student forgetting between courses. For example, a student may take a math
course for 18 weeks in Fall 1998, finish in January 1999 and not see another
math book until January 2000 under Block Scheduling. This causes a long
"startup" period with Block Scheduling. This is not "continuity
of learning." It is, rather, a very lengthy time for forgetting.
(Note: Implementing Block
Scheduling is a well-known technique to begin the transition to year-round
school without the public understanding the significance (Gee, (1997) pp. 794
learning" does not take place in year round school (or block sched-uling).
It is not a reason to switch to year round school because YRS provides greater
discontinuity of learning than a traditional calendar.
4.4 Overall Academic Improvement
One reason given for adopting
some form of YRS is that it can increase the aca-demic performance of all
students. The literature distributed by Auburn City Schools and others does not
support academic improvement due to changing the calendar. Dr. Freeman, from
Auburn City Schools, echoed this at the Dean Road PTA meeting on year round
school, 15 Oct 1998, and at the Ogletree PTA meeting, 26 Oct 1998, when she
change the calendar and it won't improve a thing."
This statement is supported by
several recently published articles made available to the public by the Auburn
City Schools. For example:
from year round schooling studies have been inconclusive; Thus, no body of
solid empirical evidence exists to support the proposition that year round
schooling improves achievement" (Frazier et al., 1998, pp. 495-496).
"Analysis of a
number of student outcomes (basic skills gains, absences, promotion rates,
number of books read, and reading levels) found no significant differences in
favor of the year-round students (Campbell, 1994, p. 24).
practitioners moving toward year-round education have little basis to expect
that in and of itself YRE will significantly accelerate achievement unless a
dedicated movement to educational reform, including factors such as utilization
of the intersession for remediation and curricula changes is
accomplished." (Kneese, 1996, p. 71).
(Excerpts from the quoted
articles follow this page along with a map showing the academic impact of YRS.)
4.5 At-Risk Student Improvement
Of concern to any school system
is the low achievement of at-risk students. The number of at-risk students in
the ACS district is 537 as cited at PTA meetings. There are about 4100 students
enrolled in the district schools. The advantage of YRS for at-risk students is
the possibility that remediation during the intersessions might help.
Unfortunately this promise has not been fulfilled. As was pointed out at the
Cary Woods PTA meeting, the suggestion that 9 weeks of failure can be remedied
in one week of intersession is unrealistic.
Interestingly, Fact Sheet 2
(Document 4, Exploration of An Alternative Calendar), provided by Auburn City
Schools, claimed that year round school helped at-risk students. Several
references were cited. However, these references DO NOT support this claim.
Put simply, the references
were misused in Fact Sheet 2 to justify year round school.
The following paragraphs examine
these studies. The full text of these studies is in the Appendix.
Contrary to the assertion in the
fact sheet, these papers show that
YRS, even with remediation, is unlikely to help at-risk
students. Three of the studies
(Greenfield, (1994), Kneese and Knight (1995), and Roby (1995)) didn't contain
enough information to determine if they applied to at-risk students. Four of
the papers (Campbell (1994), Greenfield (1994), Haenn (1996), Peltier (1991))
report no statistically
significant effects of year-round calendars on reading, math, or other
academically relevant areas. One
of these (Greenfield (1994)) did not appear to involve at-risk students and the
relevance of the others to at-risk children varies.
The study by Cooper and Nye
(Cooper et al., 1996) was not an empirical study, but a review of several
empirical studies. The authors write that
their report cannot be applied to
alternative school calendars. One
report (Shields et al., 1996) is a literature review conducted for the British
Columbia Ministry of Educa-tion. It points out
that the reason that at-risk
children benefit probably lies in other reforms that accompanied the year round
calendar and not the change in the calendar
One study (Curry et al., 1997)
is a detailed report of 12 elementary schools in Austin, Texas. At these
schools, 50 to 85% of the students were Hispanic. Bene-fits were reported for
Hispanic students. However, a recent news report on Na-tional Public Radio's
Weekend Edition (Document 26, NPR Weekend Edition, 25 Oct 1998) revealed that
the data from Hispanic students
had been changed by principals.
There are no studies that show that year round school alone improves the
performance of at-risk students.
The following are quotes taken
from some of the very papers cited in ACS Fact Sheet 2 as supporting year round
"Analysis of a
number of student outcomes (basic skills gains, ab-sences, promotion rates,
number of books read, and reading levels) found no significant differences in
favor of the year-round students (Campbell, 1994, p. 24).
did not demonstrate significant score increase across the years in any of the
content areas. Neither did the
scores of a single cohort of students, tracked for two years before and then
again after YRE implementation suggest improved academic per-formance across
time" (Greenfield, 1994, p. 256).
Dr. Freeman, from Auburn City
Schools, echoed this at the Dean Road PTA meeting on year round school, 15 Oct
1998,and at the Ogletree PTA meeting, 26 Oct 1998, when she said:
Dr. Freeman went on to explain
that it is what is done during the intersessions that can sometimes improve the
test scores of at-risk students.
Even this remediation remains
problematic. Consider what must happen for intersessions to be effective:
1) the student must attend,
2) there must be money to fund
it, 3) teachers must be prepared
for it, and 4) the intersession
must be long enough.
Is it reasonable to expect that
students will be able to make up 9 weeks of work in 1 or 2 weeks? Will an A
during intersession erase an F from the previous 9 weeks?
Especially with kindergarten
and elementary students, it is difficult to establish in one or two weeks the
trusting, stable relationship required for maximum learning.
(Teachers at the Cary Woods (21
Oct 1998) and Ogletree (26 Oct 1998) PTA meetings added that
insight). These are some of the
troublesome points that must be addressed.
4.6 Teacher Burn Out
Many teachers spoke at the Board
of Education meeting on 13 October 1998, and said that YRS would provide needed
breaks to help prevent teacher burn out. However, one might note that high
school teachers have a 90-minute plan-ning period every day. They are not with
students all the time. If YRS reduced teacher burn out, teacher attendance
should improve under YRS. The results of a study by Janice A. Kocek suggest
that the change in teacher attendance is in-significant (Kocek, no date, p. 7
(note -- this study was only on elementary teach-ers)). Fact Sheet 1 states
that some teachers and administrators love YRS and some report burn out
(Document 4, Exploration of An Alternative Calendar).
A teacher at the Ogletree PTA
meeting, 26 Oct 1998 pointed out that it isn't the teaching that causes burn
out but the disciplining. This suggests money might be better used to address
discipline problems on a daily basis; thus, freeing the teacher to teach and
the class from behavior distractions.
With a shortened summer break
teachers will spend a greater percentage of their vacation time working on an
advanced degree or at workshops, which means more stress and less relaxation,
hence more burn out. In addition some teachers could be teaching intersession
so they would get a shorter break or none at all. Perhaps teachers from outside
the Auburn City School system would have to be used.
5 Other Considerations
5.1 Concerns for teachers
1.7.1 Nine-month contract
teachers in ACS supplement their salaries by finding em-ployment during the
three summer months. Year round school reduces or eliminates this period of
employment. Of interest in this area is the Summer Camps Short Fact Sheet and
the Summer Camps Fact Sheet (Document 13, Summer Camps Short Fact Sheet and
Document 14, Summer Camps Fact Sheet). These show that many camps are staffed
by teachers and school food service personnel. To be accredited, these camps
must train their personnel before camp starts, during summer break. This
further limits time available for summer camps.
1.7.2 Student interns from AU
would be in a difficult position since ACS could be in school while the interns
are not and vice versa. In fact, the proposed Calendar D (Document 4,
Exploration of An Alternative Calendar) virtually eliminates vaca-tion time at
Auburn University (Auburn's largest employer) coinciding with the va-cation
time of Auburn City Schools. This translates to less help for teachers from
1.7.3 A big question for
teachers is "Who is going to teach during the intersessions?"
Teaching during intersession is a loss of vacation time. Less vacation time
from teaching intersession would increase teacher burn out. Regular teachers
already reported burn out after only nine weeks of school (Auburn City Schools
Board of Education meeting, 6 Oct 1998). Teaching during all the year round
school intersessions changes a nine-month job into a twelve month job.
The use of less qualified
instructors in intersession defeats its purpose.
5.2 Budget Considerations
1.8.1 Several studies indicate
that year round school costs more than the traditional calendar (see Peltier,
1991, pp. 126 & 128; Long et al., pp. 4, 5 & 7; and Educa-tional
Research Service, Report #7112, 1994, p. 63). A five-percent increase for
heating and cooling costs is cited in the ACS Alternative Calendar Exploration
Committee Subcommittee Report on Costs (Document 21, Costs and Financial
Information Received For Other Schools Systems Who Have Implemented Year-Round
Calendars). The map on the next page illustrates the extra costs of year round
1.8.2 Auburn City Schools
personnel have given the following range of estimates:
Dr. Freeman, 1 Sep 1998, and 1
Oct 1998, $45,000 per year.Dr.
Martin, 15 Oct 1998, $1,700,000 per year (upper bound).
Several other intermediate
figures have been cited. Dr. Martin has indicated that the $1,700.000 figure is
the upper limit and includes meals and transportation for intersessions.
The $1.7 million estimate would:
hire approximately 40 full time teachers,
add about 80 teacher aides (one
for every K -- 5 class in Auburn City Schools),
construct 17,000 ft2 of classroom
space every year (about 24 classrooms every
have to be paid by about 34,000
Auburn citizens. This is ~$50/citizen or $200/family each and every year for a
family of four.
The Auburn City Schools are
already strapped for cash. Dr. Martin stated at sev-eral PTA meetings that the
school budget was very tight this year in part because ACS put two new schools
on line that didn't receive state funds for this first year. Moreover, the
elementary schools had a 20% cost overrun (about $2 million).
Year round school could reduce
attendance (and thus, funding) especially due to summer absenteeism of
students. State funds are based on student attendance. For instance, increased
absenteeism during YRS summer sessions has significantly reduced state funding
in the San Diego school system. State funds are provided according to the
actual number of students who attend each day. In San Diego, 10 single track
year round schools (STYR) lost $371,339.20 more than the 10 matched traditional
schools during the first 44 days of their scheduled school days. Attendance was
low at the STYR schools due to absenteeism during the traditional summer
vacation (Educational Research Service, Report #7112, 1994, pp. 59, 63 &
69). Simply put, parents will take family vacations when the parents can get
time and want to do it -- summer.
The aforementioned report
recommended that the STYR schools consider shift-ing to a September to
September calendar or, that failing, establish procedures for the transition to
a traditional calendar to reduce the ADA (average daily atten-dance) revenue
losses. In another example, Oxnard School District reduced their ADA losses by
90% by changing their starting date from July to August (Educational Research
Service, Report #7112, 1994, pp. 59, 63 & 64).
There is little downtime
available to make necessary building repairs with a sin-gle-track YRS calendar
(Peltier, 1991, p. 127). This can shorten the life of the school itself by as
much as 50%.
5.3 Community reasons
The community must be behind
year round school in order for it to work. Peltier says that implementing YRS
is not easy and requires that administrators, teach-ers, parents and the
community be involved from the beginning (Peltier (1991) p. 128). Other authors
also mention the need for parental and community support (Gee (1997) p. 796;
Greenfield (1994) p. 261; Haenn (1996) p. 34; and Long et al., pp. 5, 6 &
7). Like any public policy in the US, public support is needed for success.
This is especially true for education where the citizens and administration
interface every working day.
Auburn is not in favor of year
round school. The attached petitions (about 2400 signatures) and the public
response during petitioning (see Appendix), the public response at the 12 Oct
Town Meeting and the responses at the PTA meetings on year round school
indicate that Auburn is not in favor of year round school.
5.3.1 Camps, etc.
Camps and other similar
experiences would be severely restricted by year round school.
Families that send their
children to academic, religious, athletic, or summer camps will find it harder
to do so, because camp schedules are arranged to cater to the 97% of the
schools that have a 12 week summer. They take place in July and August when our
children would be in school on YRS. Camps are not just fun and games but
provide quality youth development experiences.
The American Camping Association
(ACA) states, "ACA is not against year round education. It is against year
round schools." (Document 14, Summer Camps Fact Sheet).
The Auburn City Schools
Alternative Calendar Committee Subcommittee on Camps research shows that year
round school would severely reduce Auburn City Schools students' access to
camps and similarly activities.
"Camps and agencies argue
that the schools can't replace the broader educational legitimacy of public and
private camps, YMCA's, YWCA's, Park Departments, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp
Fire Inc., and others. They
further argue that the school cannot have complete authority, either in fact or
in power by position, over the students' informal educational experiences"
(Docu-ment 15, American Camping Association, YEAR ROUND EDUCATION, p. 4
(emphasis in original)).
Summer sports and cheerleading
clinics that use college dorms can't shift to in-tersessions because dorms
aren't available then (Document 13, Summer Camps Short Fact Sheet). The summer
theatre camp at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is always scheduled during the
first two weeks of August so that all the facilities are available for the
campers to use. "If Auburn moves to year--round school, this opportunity
will be lost for Auburn students. There are many other outstanding arts camps,
such as Interlochen, that Auburn students attend. It is unlikely that these
camps will modify their schedules to coordinate with YRS schedules, since
approximately 95 percent of the nation's school system adhere to traditional
calendars." (Alabama Shakespeare Assistant Director, Document 16, Auburn
Bulletin, 28 Oct 1998, p. A-6).
5.3.2 Recreation department
National and regional
tournaments are often scheduled during summer months. In Dothan, which is on
YRS, schools excused students to play in the Dixie Youth State Tournament and
the Alabama State Closed Tennis Tournament (Document 17, Impact of Extended
Year on Recreation). There is no indication on the state level that these
tournament schedules will be altered (Document 17, Impact of Extended Year on
Recreation). Excused absences for such activities will be detrimental to the
academic education of students, particularly those at-risk. If students must
maintain a certain grade-point average to be excused for such activities, this
will unfairly punish those who don't qualify and yet would have usually taken
advantage of these developmentally important activities during the summer
There will be a large cost to
accommodate a glut of school-age children during intersessions and the
shortened summer. Auburn University college students would not be readily
available during intersessions to serve as recreation pro-gram workers since
they would be in school. Calendar D of the ACS proposed calendars (Document 4,
Exploration of An Alternative Calendar) would virtually prohibit their working
since the Auburn University vacations almost never coin-cide with the proposed
ACS vacations. Calendars B and C are not much better.
The summer swim program runs
continuously from June 15 to August 1. This program would also be affected by
the unavailability of Auburn University stu-dents as employees. With YRS,
changes in swim lesson times to coordinate with school hours would result in
less recreational swim time (Document 17, Impact of Extended Year on
5.3.3 Childcare problems
It can be difficult to find
adequate childcare for the intersessions. Childcare facilities will be really
loaded during these breaks and won't have college students on summer break to
use for staff. Two programs contacted for the Child Care Report indicated that
YRS would make it difficult to utilize students (Document 23, Extended Year
Calendar Child Care Report).
Ms. Jean Spicer who works with
"welfare" moms in her job pointed out that these parents can't afford
childcare for the intersessions but must hold a job to qualify for food stamps.
From her experience mothers, out of desperation, leave children as young as 7
or 8 home alone. Therefore many low-income children would become latchkey
children during intersessions. These are often children who are at-risk
students -- the very students that YRS is supposed to help.
Divorced parents who have joint
custody of children often send their children to the non-custodial parent
during the summer months. Unless the non-custodial parent lives close by, YRS
will decrease the time that a child can spend with one of his/her parents. In
the case of a dispute, parents will have to return to court to settle the
question thus incurring additional expenses.
5.3.4 Disruption of family
Perhaps the most disturbing
aspect of an extended school year calendar is the considerable negative impact
it will have on quality family
time. The re-structuring of the
school year takes the decision process out of the hands of parents. Informal
educational experiences are no longer up to parents but unjustly influenced by
the time constraints imposed by the school.
"The current long summer
break not only provides for increased flexibility in summer trip and vacation
planning, it also is the time of year when parents have the greatest chance of
spending quality time with their children. Summer provides an extended period
of time with long daylight hours during which dad or mom can get home from work
and still have time to do something outdoors with their children before it gets
dark. This will not be an option for most of the summer if an extended school
year is put into effect. The requirements of homework and after school
activities will rob parents of this important chance to spend time with their
kids. Similarly, it will not be an option during the rest of the year due to
the shorter daytime period and subsequent lack of evening daylight hours."
(Document 18, Opelika-Auburn News, 3 Sep 1998).
With a traditional calendar,
common vacations for all family members are easy to schedule and to coordinate
with the extended family who are also on the traditional calendar (aunts,
uncles, cousins, etc.). Since 97% of schools are on a traditional calendar,
most vacation places and job vacations and families are geared to traditional
summer activities. With Auburn University moving to semesters in the fall of
2000, the summer vacation for Auburn employees will correspond closely to ACS's
traditional calendar. YRS will put children in school while the university is
With a traditional calendar,
students have a significant summer employment pe-riod (a learning experience in
itself!), earning money to supplement family income or for future education.
Dr. Martin at the Public Forum, 12 Oct 1998, said there was no answer to this
percent (97%) of schools in the US share our traditional calendar. Therefore,
the influx of new students each fall is much better handled in a tradi-tional
calendar. Transfer students won't be starting weeks behind their class-mates.
If ACS started school on July 25 (Calendar D, Document 4, Exploration of An
Alternative Calendar), a high school student coming from a traditional calendar
school and enrolling on August 15 would be behind three weeks in his classes.
He/she would also have 10 unexcused absences thus FX-ing (failing due to
unexcused absences) all term classes and any year-long alternating day classes
in which he/she enrolled (Auburn City Schools, Pupil Progression Plan
1998-1999, p. 8). As well as making up missed work the student would have to at
least appeal to the principal to receive credit for the classes. Year round
schools in the Oxnard School District saw a 75% reduction in late arrivals by
changing their starting date from July to August (Educational Research Service,
Report #7112, 1994, p. 59).
"Finally, the current long
summer vacation provides kids with a chance to be kids. While they may be
enrolled in sports or educational programs, there's still plenty of time to
follow their dreams, whether they're hobbies or just simply going out to play.
A shortened summer break will have a major negative impact on this important
part of growing up" (Document 19, Opelika-Auburn News, ~22 Jan 1998).
5.3.5 Effect on the business community
High school students are not
readily available for work during the time that col-lege students are out of
town. This particularly affects seasonal businesses like construction and
There will be difficulty in
scheduling vacations for staff when everyone wants time off during
intersessions. Summers are manageable because vacations are spread out over
three months and business is slower anyway. So not too many of the employees
are away at a given time. With year round school, there will be a huge staff
demand for vacations during a short period (intersessions) and the regular
A reputation for good schools
has drawn people to Auburn. It is a positive selling point that encourages
industries to move to the area. Industries don't want to come to an area with
YRS. This can lead to a decrease in business development and in housing prices.
6 Unanswered questions
ACS has made several significant
changes in the past three years. The effects of these changes need to be
thoroughly evaluated before making another change as radical as year round
school. What is the effect of
Block scheduling at the high
school reduces teacher-contact time to only 75% of the traditional calendar.
Block scheduling allows large breaks between similar classes (up to 12
months!). Less contact time, and
time away from subject matter are known to reduce academic performance. Is
block scheduling affecting AP and ACT scores? (Many parents believe it is.)
The Auburn City Schools has been
redistricted. The former middle school and junior high school have merged into
two middle schools. There have been indi-cations that this arrangement needs
some tuning. Is one athletic team
repre-senting both middle schools the best way to go? Can classes be better
scheduled to eliminate the wide variance in class size in core classes?
With the cost overruns at the
new elementary schools and the needed funding to complete these schools and
their facilities (for example enough books in the library),
can ACS afford the cost of
shifting to YRS, let alone the cost of an intersession remediation program?
Dr. Martin has indicated that
another high school will be needed in Auburn in the near future.
"Frequently, single-track is merely a first step in the implementation of
the year-round school, and the school district can fluctuate between the two
tracks, depending upon the increase or decrease in the student body"
(Kneese (1996) p. 60). If a year round school calendar is adopted,
is there any guarantee that the
high school won't go to multi-track YRS to delay construction of a new school?
The ACS newsletter mailed to
parents lists criteria for at-risk students (Document 4, Exploration of An
Alternative Calendar). Two of the four factors focus primarily on kindergarten
to fourth grade reading. Are there
reading, writing, or other programs targeted at this age group that have a
better track record and are less disruptive than
7 Suggestions for Improvements
to Auburn City Schools
Open up administration/teacher
communication at Auburn City Schools. There is a need for open communication
between the Auburn City Schools administration and the Auburn City Schools
teachers. The survey conducted in 1992 says that teachers have a lot of ideas
to improve education but are also distrustful of the administration (Cherones
et al., Survey of Public Opinion of Year- Around Education in the Auburn City
School System, pp. 58 & 59).
This same survey indicated that
parents were eager to share their concerns about the school system with someone
who would listen (Cherones et al., Survey of Public Opinion of Year- Around
Education in the Auburn City School System, pp. 39 & 59). Auburn parents
have ideas and want to help.
Public meetings where the public
is not allowed to speak shows disrespect of the parents and fosters distrust.
Meetings where no minutes are taken border on being secret. Meetings where
public input is sought but clearly not recorded is condescending. Meetings
where the public input is sought on the surface, but then cut off or ignored
(13 Oct 1998 Board of Education meeting; Document 25, Auburn Bulletin, 7 Nov
1998) alienates the very people whose help Auburn City Schools needs.
When input is sought (as it
should be more often), that input must be recorded and considered.
Programs with proven benefits
like Title 1 should be expanded.
An article in the
Review of Educational Research
(66) maintains that:
* higher per pupil
expenditures (that is better teacher pay),
* better teacher preparation
(education, experience, ability), and
* smaller schools and classes
produce higher student
achievement regardless of income or race (Greenwald et al., 1996).
What is ACS doing to improve
these three factors that demonstrate a strong im-pact on achievement? What
plans are in effect to improve these factors? Auburn City Schools must spend
its precious resources on the programs with the strongest predictors of
producing student achievement.
The following points have been
made about year round school:
* Year round school
does not increase academic achievement -- of gifted, av-erage, or at-risk
* Community support
is necessary for the success of year round school. That support does not exist
in the Auburn community.
* A traditional
calendar provides a greater continuity of learning. Year round school has more
breaks and longer breaks.
* Year round school
costs more, not only monetarily but in lost opportunity costs because it
lessens the window of opportunity for participation in sum-mer employment,
tournaments, camps, and other summer programs. All of these are educational
* Year round school
is disruptive to families - their vacations, childcare ar-rangements, custody
arrangements, and family time.
* Auburn City
Schools needs to evaluate the recent large changes made in the schools,
scheduling at the high
school,Creation of two middle
schools,Addition of two
elementary schools and subsequent loss of the acceler-ated math program for
For the above reasons, Auburn
City Schools should keep their traditional calendar.
Auburn City Schools. Pupil
Progression Plan and Statement of Responsibilities for School Personnel,
Parents, and Students 1998 -- 1999
Campbell, Wallace. 1994.
Year-Round Schooling for Academically At-Risk Stu-dents: Outcomes and
Perceptions of Participants in an Elementary Program. ERS Spectrum.
Cherones, Linda et al. 1992.
Survey of Public Opinion of Year-Round Education if the Auburn City School
System. 4 December 1992.
Cooper, H. et al. 1996. The
Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and
Meta-Analytic Review. Review of Education Research. Fall. 66:3:227-268.
Curry, Janice; Washington,
Wanda; Zyskowski, Gloria. (1997? ) Year-round schools evaluation, 1996-1997.
ERS Report # 7112. Report on
Single-track Year-round Education in
SanDiego Unified School District.
Frazier, Julie A. and Morrison,
Frederick J. 1998. The Influence of Extended--Year Schooling on Growth of
Achievement and Perceived Competence in Early Elemen-tary School. Child
Development. April 1998. Vol. 69: No. 2:495-517.
Gee, William D. 1997. The
Copernican Plan and Year-Round Education. Phi Delta Kappan: June 1997:793-796.
Greenfield, Teresa. 1994.
Year-Round Education: A Case for Change. The Educa-tional Forum. Vol.
Greenwald, R., Hedges, L. V.,
& Laine, R. D. 1996. Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement.
Review of Educational Research: 66:361-396.
Haenn, Joseph. 1996. Evaluating
the Promise of Single-Track Year-Round Schools. ERS Spectrum. Fall:27-35.
Kneese, Carolyn Calvin. 1996.
Review of Research on Student Learning in Year--Round Education. Journal of
Research and Development in Education. Vol. 29:No 2:Winter:60-72.
Kneese, Carolyn and Knight,
Stephanie. 1995. Investigating the Effects of Single-Track Year Round Education
On Achievement of At-Risk Students. Annual Meeting of the American Educational
Research Association, April 18-22, San Francisco, CA.
Kocek, Janice. The Effect of
Year Round School On Teacher Attendance.
Long, Larry and Javidi,
Manoocher. Executive Summary
Peltier, G. L. 1991. Year-round
education: The controversy and research evidence. NASSP Bulletin.
Roby, D. E. 1995. Comparison of
a Year-round School and a Traditional School: Reading and Mathematics
Achievement. ERS Spectrum.
Shields, C. H. and LaRocque, L.
J. (1996) Literature review on year-round schooling (with an annotated
bibliography). Report done for the British Columbia Ministry of Education.
Brekke, Norman R., 1992. Year
Round Schools: An Efficient and Effective Use of Resources. School Business
Cooper, H. et al. 1996. The
Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and
meta-Analytic Review. Review of Education Research. Fall. 66:3:227-268.
Evans, George, P. 1997. Modified
Calendar Program Evaluation. Dallas County School System.
Fulton County Board of
Education, 1992. College Park Elementary School Year-Round School Evaluation.
The Office of Planing Research and Development, September.
Greenfield, Teresa. 1994.
Year-Round Education: A Case for Change. The Educational Forum. Vol
Hazelton, Jared. 1995. Year
Round Schools: A Matter of Time? Cost -Saving Opportunities and Pitfalls.
School Business Affairs. November:15-21.
Kneese, Carolyn and Knight,
Stephanie. 1995. Investigating the Effects of Sin-gle-Track Year Round
Education On Achievement of At-Risk Students. Annual Meeting of the American
Educational Research Association, April 18-22, San Francisco, CA.
Naylor, Charlie. 1995. Cost
Effectiveness of Year-Round Schooling: An Anno-tated Bibliography and Synthesis
of Research. BCTF Research and Technology Division. May. Section XII. 95-EI-02.
Naylor, Charlie. 1995. Do
Year-Round Schools Improve Student Learning? An annotated bibliography and
synthesis of research. BCTF Research and Tech-nology Division. May. Section
Naylor, Charlie. 1995.
Year-Round Education: Is it Worth the Hassle? BCTF Perspective. Research
Report. Section XII. 96-EI-05.
Pawless, George. 1996.
Year-Round Education: Florida Principals' Perspective. ERS Spectrum.
Raspberry, Quinn. 1992. Year
Round Schools May Not Be the Answer. Spring-field, VA:ERIC Document Retrieval
Service. ED 353 658.
Venable, Bernice. A School For
Winters, Walter. 1995. A Review
of Recent Studies Relating to the Achievement of Students Enrolled in
Year-Round Education Programs. NAYRE. White Paper. September.
Comments from Petitioning, 3 Nov
199811.2 Experience Of Other
School Systems With Year Round
School.11.3 Other Sources of
Information11.4 Full Text of
Documents 11.5 Full Text of
11.1 Community Comments
from Petitioning, 3 Nov 1998
from Petitioning, 3 Nov 1998
Below are comments
from voters at Auburn City Hall obtained while collecting stop year round
school signatures 3 Nov 1998.
We should be allowed
to vote on YRS.
I saw Dr. Martin on
Ch. 66 Saturday morning. I definitely want to sign a petition against YRS.
ACS wants to
implement too many changes. They still need to work out block schedul-ing
before I'll support YRS.
I still don't
understand why they want YRS after looking at their fact sheet.
I think they can
spend our money in a better way.
I've had to take
summer school in the past. I feel sorry for those kids that will have to attend
I teach in the
County schools. I don't support Year Round Schools.
I'm on City Council
so I can't sign the petition.
They need to lower
classroom sizes. They don't need to change the calendar.
Who came up with
this kooky idea?
Why don't they hire
extra teachers or tutors?
What about those
kids with parents that share custody? My parent's were divorced when I was in
elementary school & YRS would have had a negative effect on my time with my
They looked at
changing the calendar in '92 & I'm still against it!
Why don't we hear
more from the teachers? I know, they are afraid to speak out!
at Frank Brown Rec. Center, 3 Nov 1998:
I'm not sure how I
feel about YRS, but I hate block scheduling and YRS seems to be an extension of
I want my kids to
have a long summer break to unwind.
Older woman: I'll
sign that! Then to her husband: You want to sign it, too, don't you! (not a
question). Our grandkids are moving here and this (YRS) is not good.
One person was of
the impression that the calendar would be changed to have X-mas break end in
mid- to late January, thereby shortening the time to spring break. After it was
explained that the calendar has not been decided upon and that it could
possibly shift from year to year, the individual signed. He was under the
impression that a calendar had been set.
We use our summer
for family unwinding time. I don't need the school to take that away from us.
I don't have kids
now but I might in a few years.
At Samford Middle
School, signers said (3 Nov 1998):
From a retired
teacher: This is the biggest bunch of nonsense.
I came from (a
northeastern state) where they were trying to implement YRS. It was a bad idea
there, and it's no better here.
I'm a teacher. I'd better not sign.
11.2 Experience Of Other
School Systems With Year Round School
for this information is given below.
11.3 Other Sources of
11.4 Full Text of
Contact David Elton at
for permission to reproduce this document and for further information on
sections 11.2, 11.3, and 11.4.
the STOP YEAR-ROUND SCHOOL
300 N. Dean Rd. P.O. Box
5172Auburn, AL 36830-5045 Tel: