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Traditional schools and Year-round schools in the USA

These institutions are designed to test, develop, and substantiate new pedagogical ideas, taking into account the experience of the best teachers. There were several types of such institutions: schools that implement a new educational concept, basic schools with scientific and pedagogical centers, exemplary schools where traditional methods of education and training are polished, and experienced schools that carry out original pedagogical ideas (Fryer, 2014). The experience of traditional schools does not always become the property of an ordinary school. Traditional schools have a dual purpose – as centers for educational searches and as popularizers of new approaches to the teaching and educational process. The organization of conventional teaching and educational institutions is one of the important directions of state policy. So, in the USA there is a federal bureau of traditional schools. Organizers of pilot schools could count on state support at their own expense.

The creation and operation of traditional schools are the subject of special attention from official authorities in Japan. All major reforms of the last few years in the sphere of education necessarily provided for testing in pilot schools. The Ministry of Education has established a system of traditional educational institutions. Any public school can apply for the authorization and financing of an experiment for up to three years; at the end of the term, the school must report on the experiment’s results. The Ministry of Education encourages various research projects based on schools. Only in the 1988-1989 academic years did the status of traditional “schools of cooperation” receive approval from more than 40 junior secondary educational institutions. As traditional grounds, basic general education schools at state universities are often used (Renzulli et al., 2011).

The organization of pilot schools in the early 1990s was recognized as one of the priorities of U.S. school policy. The Association of Innovative Schools and Centers, the Academy of Education, and the scientific institutions of the school department deal with the theoretical and practical problems of traditional teaching and educational institutions. Since the beginning of the 1990s, several contests of innovative teaching and educational institutions have been held, and some pilot schools have been established at the Academy of Education.

The initial provisions of developmental learning are concepts of upbringing, learning, and development as a dialectically interrelated process (Fryer, 2014). Training is interpreted as the leading force in the development of the child’s psyche. Education is considered as the basis for the development of the child. Progress in development is assessed as a condition for mastering knowledge. Learning activities are designed as a collaborative search and collaboration.

In the traditional system, the decisive role is played by the principle of learning at a high level of difficulty, which is closely dependent on other principles-the leading role of theoretical knowledge, moving forward at a rapid pace in the study of educational material, the consciousness of learning, activities (Renzulli, et al., 2011).

The starting point of the concept of developing training is the assertion that the basis of such training is its content, from which the methods are derived. Schoolchildren’s educational activity is supposed to be built by the method of presentation of scientific knowledge, when students’ thinking resembles that of a scientist resorting to meaningful abstraction, generalization, theorizing, etc.

In the 20th century, educational values converged in different cultures. This convergence is reflected in the consciousness and life of every person on Earth. It should also occur in the school education process and upbringing. Enthusiasts of traditional work coordinate their efforts on an international scale (Mitchell & Mitchell, 2005).

The school has branches of primary and secondary education. In the initial classes, the basis of education is the so-called centers of interest. “Centers of Interest” should group and organize the educational material according to the interests and needs of the children. These are the children of primary school age who identified with the need for nutrition, protection from bad weather and hazards, solidarity, rest, and self-improvement. The educational material should be drawn from the child’s environment – nature, school life, family, and society. For example, in the 1991-1992 academic years, several classes were engaged in the “center of interest” “Nutrition Requirements.” Schoolchildren collected and studied information about various foodstuffs, using these data in the language, mathematics, science, etc. classes. One of the objects of a variety of study assignments and exercises was the cheese favorite in every family (making, storing, selling, describing, etc.).The materials and conclusions of the authors of the textbooks sometimes do not coincide, or even contradict each other at all. “The child is convinced that what has been said in the book is not a sacred word and that any fact should be treated critically without creating an idol.” Any child can study in the Hermitage (Mitchell & Mitchell, 2005). There is no competition for admission. The only obstacle is the lack of places. Representatives of all ethnic groups living in Belgium study at the school. Tolerance with respect to any nationalities and beliefs is a traditional line in the Hermitage. Teachers sincerely love their students, and they reciprocate with them. Teachers strive to create a humane climate and an atmosphere of active communication. Special purposes are also used. For example, high school students are offered the subject “Factors of communication” in the lesson. In the context of the topic, the role of the press, literature, the theater, the cinema, and human contacts, such activities promote adolescents to the treasury of cultural aesthetic values.

In the modern school, the ideas of the traditional educational institutions of the USA of the 1920s-1930s are used: “Dalton-plan,” “method of projects,” etc.

There were followers of the Dalton Plan in the U.S. in the early 90s; for example, according to this method, schools worked. Teachers and pupils of the school in the “Dalton plan” attracted the opportunity to engage more with their favorite subject, communicate intensively, and expand their independence and responsibility (Preston et al., 2012).

Options for “alternative education” were the so-called year-round and ungraded schools. These institutions drastically changed the rhythm of the educational process. So “year-round school” district Bally View (Illinois), city Feyrmaunta (Missouri) did not stop training all year round. The pupils were divided into groups. Groups studied for 45 days and then went on a two-week vacation. The terms of vacation in the groups did not match. So the school took pupils for all twelve months of the year. In total, the students spent the same number of days in school as normal school students. Peak “year-round schools’ popularity came at the end of the 80s. In 1989, there were about 500 thousand students from 19 states, i.e., about 1% of schoolchildren.

In the United States at the turn of the 1960s-1970s, there were non-traditional “year-round schools.” Their creation was caused by plans to use school buildings vacated during the summer holidays to take up wishing to work with this time teachers and children left to themselves. Several variants of year-round schools were tested. According to one of them, the academic year is divided into four quarters of three months. Three months of vacation lasted, but not necessarily in the summer (Preston et al., 2012). For this option, for example, year-round schools in Franklin Pierce County (Washington State). Here the academic year was about 200 days. The following methods were used: a combination of ordinary lessons and seminars, individual and group classes in laboratories, the center of educational resources, visits to institutions and enterprises and work in them; four-day compulsory academic week; the allocation of the fifth school day for non-compulsory classes, in particular sports, labor training; training in the evenings at the center of training resources; summer courses for those who wish. Another option offered year-round schools in Valley County (Illinois) and the city of Fairmount (Missouri). The pupils were divided into groups. The groups studied for 45 days, after which they left for a two-week vacation. The holidays for the groups did not coincide. So the school accepted students 12 months a year. In total, the students spent the same number of days in the school as the students in the regular school. The year-round school mode allowed for the reduction of the occupancy of classes to facilitate individualized training. There was an opportunity to increase the volume of study hours, without making the school day busier. On the assurances of the initiators of the experiment, the transition to year-round training saved money. At the same time, specific problems arose due to instability in the composition of classes. Teachers lost the opportunity to systematically communicate with their pupils, which had a negative impact on the results of education (St. Gerard, 2007).

Quite a wide distribution (primarily in the US) was in the 1940-1960’s, So-called non-graded schools. The first modern non-graduated school was established in 1942 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By 1957, non-graded classes were opened in the 31 school districts of the United States. These primary educational institutions took the path of revising the class-lesson system. Their organizers refused to divide students into annual age classes. The training was divided into cycles with specific training programs (Preston et al., 2012).

The ideologists of the non-graded schools argue that the system of schools with successive classes is “obsolete and often does not reflect the pedagogical realities”: “We transfer the child from class to class together with his age group, but does this always correspond to his capabilities and knowledge? “ In their opinion, the preparation and needs of schoolchildren do not fit into the “Procrustean bed” of a series of classes. They believe that when entering regular schools, the child has problems because he falls under the press standards (“average,” “normal,” “typical”) and “gets a label” for a certain class, regardless of the level of development.

The founders of non-graded schools emphasized that it was fundamentally different teaching: “The teacher will open the door, the problems of the students will be close to him and understandable, he will be able to select a wide range of educational literature, without fears, that the successes of anybody students will not meet the generally accepted norms at the end of the school year, will not worry because the preparation of the student in reading is worse than in arithmetic.” (St. Gerard, 2007)

Organizers of non-graduated schools intended to implement “continuously progressive education,” based on the recognition and maximum consideration of children’s differences. At the same time, they considered it legitimate to coexist with accredited and non-graded schools.

A vivid example of non-graded schools is several educational institutions in Appleton (Wisconsin). In schools, there was no division into classes. The progress in mastering the teaching material was carried out according to the personal differences of the students. Schoolchildren were divided into level training groups, which in turn were divided into subgroups, where they studied reading, writing, and arithmetic. Individual account cards were used. Parents were constantly informed about the successes and problems of their children. Parents and teachers thoroughly discussed the training course at regular meetings. The second three-year cycle of primary education began following the first three-year cycle. Some schoolchildren spent seven years on the six-year course.


St. Gerard, V. (2007). Year-Round Schools Look Better All the Time. Communicator, 30(February), 56–59.

Mitchell, R. E., & Mitchell, D. E. (2005). Student segregation and achievement tracking in year-round schools. Teachers College Record, 107(4), 529–562.

Renzulli, L. A., Parrott, H. M., & Beattie, I. R. (2011). Racial mismatch and school type: Teacher satisfaction and retention in charter and traditional public schools. Sociology of Education, 84(1), 23–48.

Preston, C., Goldring, E., Berends, M., & Cannata, M. (2012). School innovation in district context: Comparing traditional public schools and charter schools. Economics of Education Review, 31(2), 318–330.

Fryer, R. G. (2014). Injecting charter school best practices into traditional public schools: Evidence from field experiments. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(3), 1355–1407.

Fryer, R. G. (2014). Injecting Charter School Best Practices into Traditional Public Schools: Evidence from Field Experiments. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 162(2), 1355–1407.



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