Wakonda students, staff ponder year ’round school

Wakonda students, staff ponder year 'round school by Kelly Alexander After asking the students at Wakonda High School what they thought about year-around school, most students admitted they didn't understand the concept.

Year-around school is the term for a different type of school schedule than students are accustomed to in South Dakota. Instead of a three month summer break, students would receive a five week break during those months.

One would attend school for nine weeks at a time, taking three weeks off in between each nine weeks.

There are advantages to year-around school. Students wouldn't forget so much over the three month summer break, one would more, but shorter, breaks and still graduate at the same time.

Tim Bulman, a social studies instructor at Jesup Community School, a year-around district in North Carolina said, "The shorter breaks will enable students to remember longer and better than over a long summer break. This, therefore, will increase student achievement."

Tanee Osborne, 17, of Warren G. Harding High School said that students would be able to retain the information better.

There are 2,957 year-around schools in 43 states, with a total enrollment of over 2 million students, according to the National Association for Year-Around Education. Hugh Kellenberger of Southeast Raleigh High School says that he couldn't imagine going back to the traditional schedule after being on the year-around schedule for four years. But, would it work for the Wakonda School District?

When students and teachers of Wakonda High School were asked how they would like year-around school, the answers weren't surprising but some were interesting.

Four percent of the students were for the idea of year-around school, and 96 percent of the students opposed the idea.

Most of the students opposed the idea because they feel they need the three month break. The students made a good point about needing the time off to keep summer jobs.

South Dakota is an agricultural state and has four distinct seasons. Summer is when a lot of farmers get things done and need the youth of Wakonda and surrounding areas to help out.

Also, other kids get jobs during the summer to earn money for recreation and college. Year-around school would interfere with that.

Year-around school has worked for millions of kids and teachers in other parts of our country. At Wakonda High School, it would take a lot of dedication and planning to make year-around school work. But is it coming? Beware.

The information about year-around schools included in this article was obtained from research of school districts across the United States on the Internet.

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