Hi! My name is Lindsay and I teach at a year-round school in a small town in North Carolina. I’m about to finish up my third year in third grade in t-minus 7 days. I love third graders and the material I get to teach! It’s the perfect age. The students are old enough to be able to work independently and handle more responsibility while they are still young enough to appreciate the “fun stuff”. 🙂
I graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in both Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education (K-12). I’m also certified to teach Middle School Mathematics. I enjoy hanging out with family and friends, spending time with my miniature dachshunds, and I enjoy creating TPT products in my spare time. My store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Lifetime-Learner
What is Year-Round School?
I teach third grade like many teachers around the country, but my school is always interesting to the people I meet because of the way we operate. I work at a year-round school that over 1000 students attend. We teach for nine weeks, and then we get three weeks off. There are four tracks of students that are all going to and from school at different times of the year. We do not get a long summer break, but shorter breaks throughout the year.
I’m on Track 3 at my year-round school, which means I get three weeks off in August, November, January, and April. Different tracks get different time periods off. Only three tracks go to school at a time. Each time I track-out and get a vacation, another track is coming back from their vacation. When I come back from my track-out, another track will get to go on their vacation/track-out.
The Good and the Bad
It’s an interesting schedule to have. There are pros and cons to both a year-round schedule and a traditional schedule, but I personally prefer the year-round calendar. There are two teachers on every track at my school on each grade level. That means there are eight third grade teachers on my grade level. Every three weeks, one track goes out and another comes in. It can get a little hectic having to change things every few weeks, but it also keeps us organized. We test our remediation students every three weeks to see what skills they will need to work on. We change who takes notes at PLT and who has certain duties every time a track comes in. We also help the teacher tracking in each three weeks to re-set-up their classroom year-round.
Every time a track comes back from a track-out, they are moving into the room of the teacher that is about to track-out to go on vacation. This means that we change classrooms every nine weeks after each track-out or vacation. When it’s time for my track-out, I pack up my room (all of my supplies, books, my classroom library, math stations, and personal teaching supplies) and move them into an empty classroom called the track-out room. The teacher tracking in then moves all of their things out of the track-out room and into my classroom. At first, it bothered me a little. But after a year, I realized that packing up my room every nine weeks was helping me stay organized year-round and not become a hoarder. 🙂
Third grade at my school teaches in a POD. This is a large module of six classrooms that are all attached together (like a big trailer with 6 classrooms and a bathroom inside). We only need six classrooms because just six of us are tracked-in at any time. We meet as a team for PLT every Wednesday and plan/talk about data together. My third grade team is awesome and I love working with them. At a year round school, who you’re working with changes every three weeks so everything and everyone stays very fresh. The only person you see year-round and that has the same schedule/vacations as you is your trackmate. This is a person who is on the same track as you and is on the same grade level. I think it works nicely that each of us on the four tracks has a trackmate who teaches with us the entire year and then five other teammates that we see for 3/4 of our time over the course of the year.
Our school starts at the beginning of July and ends at the end of June. This means that my third graders will finish third grade next week, have the fourth of July week off, and then begin fourth grade the following week! We call it cl-opening at my school because we have to close up the last year and prepare for the new one in only one week before our new third graders arrive for their first day of school. Talk about a quick turn around!
Every track is a little different during this crazy time. One track gets some time off in July before they start in early August. One track got time off in June so they feel fresh as well. I’ll only have a new batch of third graders for three weeks before I get some vacation time. It’s crazy and weird and strange and hectic and yet, I love it.
Have you ever heard of year-round school? Do you prefer traditional or year-round? Leave a comment below!