School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Vonda Beavers


Year Round Calendar, Balanced Calendar, Social Emotional Health, School Culture, Theory of Experience, Instructional Calendar


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to interpret the lived experiences of elementary teachers within a traditional school year calendar and year-round school year calendar while developing a description of the essence of the instructional environment in both programs. The lived experiences of teachers within the traditional and year-round school year calendars were generally defined as educators with prior experience teaching in a traditional school year calendar and a year-round school year calendar at Thompson Elementary School or Browning Elementary School. The theory guiding this study was Dewey’s theory of experience, which suggests that individuals learn more effectively through interaction (creating meaning from experience through interaction with its physical and social settings) and continuity (the effect of prior experiences shaping future experiences). The primary source of experiential data collection was individual interviews using a purposeful criterion sample of 14 participants, in addition to a focus group interview, and participant journaling. van Manen’s method of thematic analysis was used to organize data into three themes, (a) traditionally stressed to a year-round welcomed change, (b) traditionally positive to year-round support, and (c) an opportunity for growth that described the essence of teachers’ experiences within both calendar structures. Elementary educators participating in this study described improved experiences, school culture, and a greater impact on student learning while teaching within the year-round school year calendar in comparison to the traditional school year calendar.