According to the 2012 Carson-Dellosa Summer Learning Study, 85% of teachers spend two-plus
weeks at the beginning of the school year re-teaching critical skills forgotten from the previous
year, and 41% report spending a month or more (Carson-Dellosa, 2012).
According to H. Cooper, “Meta-analysis indicated that summer learning loss equaled at least one
month of instruction as measured by grade level equivalents on standardized test scores - on
average, children's tests scores were at least one month lower when they returned to school in
fall than scores were when students left in spring” (Cooper, 2003).
Children whose primary language is not English suffer the greatest summer learning loss.
“Changing the school calendar could make a great difference in language skill development for
these students” (Ballinger, 1995). Our school has a significant population of learners whose home
language is not English.
A balanced school year schedule can include intersessions or non-vacation breaks during the
school year. During these intersessions, a school can offer a variety of enrichment and
remediation programs as well as test-prep courses for SAT, ACT, and IB Test preparation. In
addition, the school can utilize community partnerships that allow students, particularly high
school students, to engage in internships and other experiential learning opportunities (Ballinger
& Kneese, 2006; 70-72). All of this supports and enhances our school’s goal of personalizing
The National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE), a think tank that studies and
researches school year calendars, recommends that vacation periods are no longer than six
weeks. However, they will accept up to eight weeks for inclusion in its national directory of year-round schools (Ballinger & Kneese, 2006; 51).
Intersession programs are an effective way to limit summer learning loss. These summer
programs should conclude very near the beginning of the following school year to most effectively
limit and make up for any summer learning loss that occurs (National Summer Learning
In schools already implementing various alternative school year schedules, evidence about
student improvement is ambiguous because of limited data, small sample sizes and even
conflicting data. Though gains are large for lower-performing students, they are less clear for
others. However, students, parents, and teachers who are stakeholders in schools with these
schedules are “overwhelmingly positive about the experience” (Cooper, 2003).
In spite of the findings in the statement above, it is important to note that according to Shields
and Oberg, “balanced calendars do often provide the conditions under which more children can
learn to higher levels of achievement than in traditional-calendar schools.” Moreover, no studies
have ever provided evidence that a balanced school calendar has a detrimental impact on student
learning, “indeed, the most critical findings have been ‘no impact’” (Shields & Oberg, 2009, p. 40).
According to the task force’s ASB parent survey, nearly all families (94%) spend the majority of
their current ten-week summer vacation outside of Mumbai. A majority (61%) of parents,
however, would prefer a shorter summer vacation of six to eight weeks.