Florida school districts piloting year-round classes to curb summer learning loss

Florida school districts piloting year-round classes to curb summer learning loss

A trio of Florida school districts are piloting year-round curriculums in a bid to curb summer learning loss — and the state’s education bosses are mulling a permanent shift in all schools statewide if the program is successful.

Selected campuses in Marion, Alachua and Brevard Counties were tapped by lawmakers to make the switch for the next five years to assess the results, according to the Ocala Star Banner.

The Florida Department of Education will monitor the impacts and make recommendations to Gov. Ron DeSantis and lawmakers on a possible expansion after the 2028-2029 academic year.

Alachua officials said the program hopes to hike academic performance, improve student behavior and forge stronger bonds with staff.

The year-round format also aims to limit learning loss during the summer months and improve retainment.

“As a former teacher and principal, I saw so many students who lost a lot of ground academically over the summer,” Superintendent Shane Andrew wrote on the district’s website. “I’m excited about the great potential this program has to provide the students at Metcalfe and Rawlings [elementary schools] with the consistent support they need to keep learning throughout the year.”

Diaz is known as a staunch conservative.
Florida education chief Manny Diaz and his agency will assess the results of the pilot. AP

Alachua’s new format would drastically shorten the summer recess, where students normally have 10 weeks off.

A local educator told said she backs the plan, and said local parents are also cautiously embracing the prospect of a longer school year.

“This is a possibility that hasn’t been tapped into, and maybe this is what we’ve needed all along,” she told the outlet “Some of our students already come to summer school, so why not make year-round instruction part of the educational experience and fabric here at Rawlings Elementary School?”

Kids would still attend 180 days of school, but breaks would be interspersed throughout the year instead of concentrated in the summer.

Ron DeSantis
Florida’s DOE will monitor the impacts and make recommendations to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Getty Images

The pilot will not impact teacher salaries, officials said.

Alachua families will be able to opt out of the year-round format.

Some parents in Brevard County have expressed reservations about the switch, arguing that different schedules for elementary and high school students could wreak havoc on their plans, according to Florida Today.

Learning loss became a central concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many children never set foot in a classroom for over a year.

Recent tests scores have showed dips in both reading and math, with some observers concerned about ongoing learning deficits.


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