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How Policymakers Can Support Year-Round Learning

Year-round learning experience can help improve student engagement in learning and provide long-term academic gains, but policymakers should adopt more favorable policies to help support these models, according to a new research brief.

The brief, which examines the benefits of year-round learning models and provides recommendations for policymakers, is the third in a series from the Harvard Family Research Project, a nonprofit research and evaluation center based at Harvard University, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A few examples of high-quality year-round learning models, such as the Freedom Schools Initiative supported by the Children's Defense Fund, are included.

According to the new report, policymakers could create more flexible, blended funding streams to support year-round learning, as well as adopt policies that facilitate partnerships between schools, organizations, parents, and the community at large to enhance the quality of year-round models. Year-round learning can help curb summer learning loss, cut costs by having resources shared among partners, and provide better, more accurate data on student learning and performance by tracking students throughout the year.

Year-round learning recognizes "that students do not stop learning when they leave the classroom," the brief states. "In this expanded vision of education, no single setting offers the diverse resources necessary for youth to gain all the skills and knowledge they need to become well-rounded, successful adults."

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