Is WO ready to say goodbye to summer break?

Ben Horner

It’s a bright and early morning. It’s already 80 degrees out, and it’s only 6 o’clock. Madison Winters groans and rolls out of bed. The sound of birds singing, which normally makes her happy, is just annoying. Maybe that is because it’s August 3rd and she is getting ready for school. Now why is she going to school on August 3rd? Because two years ago her school, Billings Senior High, switched to a year round school format.

Year round school is getting more and more popular around the country, especially on the West Coast. People tend to overreact when they hear “year round school”, and immediately dismiss it as a horrible idea that should be stopped by the 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment). But maybe, if people gave the idea a chance and just heard it out, their mindset towards it might change.

Year round schooling doesn’t mean students don’t get any summer break, and that you’re in school year round; that is one form of misery that no one should have to experience. Students still go to school five days a week, but they get much longer breaks, except for summer of course. Students get three weeks of Christmas break instead of two, two weeks of spring break instead of one, one fall break that is a five day weekend, and they also get more three day weekends than normal. The only downside is that students only get one month of summer break, instead of the normal three months.

Here at West Ottawa, the idea has been considered heavily for years. Michigan law states that students must be in school 180 days with 80 percent attendance. There is no law saying when or how. Assistant principal Don Clavette believes that this idea would help better the teaching. “We could have the extra weeks of break dedicated to the bettering of teachers which would enhance the student’s learning experience.” He talked about the biggest problem for us making the change is the fact that Holland is a vacation town, and by having the kids in school, it is taking away a lot of employees from the tourism industry. “I don’t ever see it happening,” he said.

Madison Winters, a sophomore at Senior High in Billings, Montana, was not in love with the idea when her school first switched to it, but as it went on, she learned to love it. “I would never want to go back to the old format. With the new format, I feel like I learn better and recall material from old classes much better since there is no huge break where I forget everything.” It’s not all good though for her. “I really don’t like the fact that all my friends from other schools get to sleep in while I’m in class.”  There are pros and cons.

WO will probably not switch to the year round format in the foreseeable future due to the money it would cost, and the fact that it would be hard for kids to keep jobs. It’s a novel idea but one that we might never see here at WO.