AA Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

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“Always Best care is the best! Their caregiver is very nice with respective attitude. They are all expert and knows their job very well in all ages. I never regret that their service to take care of my grandmother. They are trustworthy, respectful, honest and passionate to their work. I highly recommend them on their work.”

Facundo K.

“I met with Elaine Gill as we needed a secure place for my Dad. She was very knowledgeable and professional. Fortunately, the second location she showed us was a good fit (Dakota Paradise). I heartily recommend Always Best Care if you want help finding a loved one the proper care.”

Keith S.

“I cannot really find the words to say how wonderful the staff is at Always Best Care of Upper Chesapeake: Highly competent, Comforting, caring, extremely attentive, endlessly patient and reassuring. Elaine Gill has done an amazing job at ensuring that the staff she has are just as committed to ensuring the highest quality of life for every client, as Elaine! You are on the top of my list for any further care services that my family members may need going forward.”

Alan L.

“I used Always Best Care to care for my parents who happen to live in another state. I met with Elaine (the owner) to discuss my options and determine the best caregiver service to meet my parents needs. She was a great help; addressed all my questions and concerns and gave me peace of mind that my parents were in good hands. Their caregiver is wonderful and very competent. I don't have to worry about them or become a detective to find out what is going on with them in Maryland. Although my parents were a little skeptical at first, Elaine and her staff have put their mind at ease and made them feel very comfortable about the entire experience. They both feel much safer now and happier that they are able to stay in the home that they love. I am comforted in knowing that my parents are receiving quality care and they are in the capable hands of Elaine and her staff at Always Best Care. Words can not express my sincere gratitude for the awesome care provided to my parents.”

Monica C.
 In-Home Care Forest Hill, MD

How does In-home Senior Care in Forest Hill, MD work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Forest Hill, MD

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Forest Hill, MD, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Forest Hill, MD gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Forest Hill, MD

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Forest Hill,MD understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Forest Hill, MD

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Forest Hill, MD

Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital debuts new robot for orthopedic surgeries

Photo courtesy of Northwell HealthLong Island Jewish (LIJ) Forest Hills Hospital officials and Congres...

Photo courtesy of Northwell Health

Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Forest Hills Hospital officials and Congresswoman Grace Meng on Tuesday, May 30, unveiled the hospital’s new high-tech robot for orthopedic surgeries that will offer patients a minimally invasive alternative for hip, total knee and partial knee replacements.

The Stryker Mako SmartRobotics system was made possible through $1M in federal funding secured by Meng. The LIJ Forest Hills robot is one of 15 critical care projects in Queens from $21.3 million in federal funding secured by Meng in January.

“People deserve to have a facility in or close to their neighborhood where they can receive state-of-the-art care for hip and knee replacements, and the Mako robot will ensure that local residents no longer have to travel far distances to take advantage of this technology,” Meng said. “As New York’s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, I’m thrilled to have secured this critical federal funding to help LIJ Forest Hills do an even better job in delivering care to our communities.”

During her visit, Meng met a future patient of the Mako robot — Yolanda Virella, a 72-year-old Jackson Heights resident and retired school aide, who will undergo total knee replacement on her right leg later this summer.

Virella suffers from osteoarthritis — a degenerative joint disease — in both knees and had her left knee replaced using traditional surgery last year.

“I have trouble bathing, dressing and standing while I cook. I get tired and I have to sit,” said Virella, who’s raising her 15-year-old grandson. “I can’t do what I used to and it makes me sad.”

According to Richard Seldes, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and director of orthopedic surgery at LIJ Forest Hills, Virella is a typical candidate for knee replacement surgery. About 60% of all knee replacement operations performed nationwide are done on women.

Patients like Virella who opt for robotic-assisted surgery with the Mako robot undergo a CT scan of their knee prior to the procedure. The anatomical information from the scan is uploaded to the robotic software to map out a customized 3D surgical plan to identify which part of the patient’s bone is diseased and which is good.

“The robot assists with the surgery, but the robot does not do the surgery,” Seldes said. “The robot plans out the cuts for the surgeon, but the surgeon has the ultimate say in what’s being cut and how it’s being done.”

During surgery, the surgeon uses the robotic arm of the Mako robot to make precise bone cuts, sparing surrounding healthy tissue and bone and allowing for an exact fit for the new knee implant. Because the surgery offers a greater degree of accuracy for placing the implant, it can extend the life of the new knee, which typically lasts 15 to 20 years.

“Often times residents of Queens don’t have access to top medical technologies and have to go elsewhere like Manhattan or Long Island to get them,” Seldes said. “To have this technology in their own backyard is a great asset to the community.”

The addition of the Mako robot is the latest technology update at LIJ Forest Hills, which recently added two da Vinci surgical robots to the hospital’s robotic surgery program for bariatric, gynecologic, urologic and cancer surgeries. Robotic surgeries result in smaller incisions, less scarring and pain, shorter hospital stays and a better recovery.

Lockdown At Fallston High School Prompted By Bear Sighting Nearby

HARFORD COUNTY, MD — Fallston High School students found themselves on lockdown Monday all thanks to a furry intruder.School officials sent an email to parents and guardians of students that explained the situation.The email shared by WBFF read:Good afternoon. Today, Monday, June 12, 2023, we went on a brief lockd...

HARFORD COUNTY, MD — Fallston High School students found themselves on lockdown Monday all thanks to a furry intruder.

School officials sent an email to parents and guardians of students that explained the situation.

The email shared by WBFF read:

Good afternoon. Today, Monday, June 12, 2023, we went on a brief lockdown, keeping all students and staff indoors, when a bear was seen in the area of school grounds. Our dismissal will proceed as normal with SRO’s and staff present to ensure the safety of students as they board buses. Students waiting to be picked up will remain in the building until their ride arrives. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this unusual situation.

A black bear was spotted recently in the back yard of a house in the 6900 block of Forest Hill of University Park. City officials have warned residents to use caution when walking dogs or being outside while the bear actively roams around town.

A black bear also was spotted that same day in the 4300 block of Oglethorpe Street in Hyattsville and a black bear recently was seen roaming around neighborhoods in Howard County, Catonsville and Windsor Mill.

Black bears emerge from their hibernation in the spring in search of food and breed in June and July. Young male bears tend to wander into new areas looking for a chance to establish their own territory and can be seen in urban areas, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources shared.

Maryland DNR officials say while bear sightings in residential areas aren't uncommon but don't happen all that often. Still, residents need to use caution.

Black bears are naturally attracted to items found on or near a home such as birdseed, chicken feed, dog food and even trash. Homeowners who leave human-generated food sources out in the open may unintentionally draw bears to residential areas, and once a black bear finds an easy meal, they are likely to be repeat visitors, the DNR advises.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recommends that residents and visitors of Maryland’s bear country:

“Keeping bears wild is a community effort that benefits both the bears and their human neighbors alike,” said Wildlife and Heritage Acting Director Karina Stonesifer. “Using care to avoid attracting bears now will help keep them wild and in the woods throughout the year.”

Bears are most common in Maryland’s four westernmost counties – Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington. However, they can be found anywhere in central and southern Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently partnered with BearWise, a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing the public with sound, relevant and easily interpretable information on black bears. For more information about living with black bears and bear behavior, residents should visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources black bear website or BearWise.

Catching a fish at Friends Community Park in Forest Hill can be ‘hit or miss’ amid algae growth, low water level

Abingdon resident Joe Kelly has been fishing at the pond at Harford County’s Friends Community Park in Forest Hill since he was a child, a tradition he has continued with his son, Brennan.The chances of catching a fish at the pond, which is stocked by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources during the spring, can be “hit or miss” for Kelly these days. Much of the pond has become overgrown with plants along the shoreline and algae on the surface of the water and on the bottom.“It’s way overgrow...

Abingdon resident Joe Kelly has been fishing at the pond at Harford County’s Friends Community Park in Forest Hill since he was a child, a tradition he has continued with his son, Brennan.

The chances of catching a fish at the pond, which is stocked by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources during the spring, can be “hit or miss” for Kelly these days. Much of the pond has become overgrown with plants along the shoreline and algae on the surface of the water and on the bottom.

“It’s way overgrown now ... you’re still catching fish out of here, a lot of trout — they’re stocking regularly,” said Kelly, who visited the park Monday with his son.

They were among a number of people at Friends Park on Monday, enjoying the sunny weather and fishing in the pond, playing at the playground or walking the trails — people can access the northern leg of the Ma & Pa Heritage Trail from there. Other amenities such as athletic fields and a pavilion are available, too.


(Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Wildlife was active in and around the pond, with birds singing in the trees, several geese floating on the surface and frequently sticking their heads under the water to feed, as well as turtles hanging out near the shore.

Joe Kelly has seen some anglers catch the legal limit in trout within 10 minutes, while others can sit at the pond all day and not catch anything.

“It’s different from when I was younger,” he said.

Other county residents have complaints similar to Kelly’s when it comes to the pond’s water quality and the prospect of catching fish.

Visitors expressed concern about plants, algae, a lower water level than in the past, as well as litter floating by the shoreline. Two turtles hung out by a wooden deck overlooking the water as people fished from it, sticking out amid dried leaves and plant matter, algae and scattered pieces of litter such as plastic wrappers and a paper towel.

The low water level was the first thing the daughter of Forest Hill resident Megan Yarbrough noticed when they came to the park, followed by a question about “all the green stuff” in the pond.

“We were kind of disappointed,” Yarbrough said. “We couldn’t really see anything because the water is so murky and so low.”

John Caldwell, of Forest Hill, fishes at the Friends Park pond on a regular basis; he made his first fishing trip at the park for 2021 on Monday. Caldwell, who noticed “a lot of trash” around the pond, has had luck catching fish there in the past.

“It’s great for kids to come here and fish, to catch guppies and bluegill,” he said.

He brings his children there to fish, and they have caught bass from the small island in the pond, which is accessible via a wooden bridge.

“I haven’t caught bass here in a couple years now,” Caldwell noted.


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The pond was renovated in 2011, and the plants were put in to keep the water at a manageable temperature for the fish, according to county government spokesperson Cindy Mumby.

Workers with DNR stock the pond with fish several times during the spring, with the most recent stocking happening about two weeks ago, Mumby said.

The county also has a maintenance program for the pond, which includes treating algae blooms. Staffers use Aquashade, a dye blend, to control algae. They also remove debris found in the water.

County workers treat the pond once a month from April through September — the first treatment is scheduled for next week, weather permitting, according to Mumby.

“Algae is naturally occurring, and this is a natural pond, so there will be algae,” she said Tuesday. “Our program is to prevent algae blooms.”

Brennan Kelly said he likes coming to the pond but noted “it is a bit overgrown” with many plants around.

“I like coming here, still,” the youth said. “You can still catch a lot of fish, but we don’t catch any fish, really, ever.”

ExpressCare Walk-in Medical Centers Opened Its 32nd Urgent Care Clinic in Forest Hill, Maryland

FOREST HILL, Md., July 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Maryland-based urgent care centers, ExpressCare Urgent Care Center announces the opening of its newest walk-in medical clinic in Forest Hill, Maryland. (2006 Rock Spring Road, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050)ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers will celebrate the opening of the newest clinic with an Open House Celebration on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 11:00am to 3:00pm. The public is invited to tour our new facility as well as be treated to free gifts for children, free medical kits for parents,...

FOREST HILL, Md., July 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Maryland-based urgent care centers, ExpressCare Urgent Care Center announces the opening of its newest walk-in medical clinic in Forest Hill, Maryland. (2006 Rock Spring Road, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050)

ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers will celebrate the opening of the newest clinic with an Open House Celebration on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 11:00am to 3:00pm. The public is invited to tour our new facility as well as be treated to free gifts for children, free medical kits for parents, free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and Kona Ice treats. Face painting and other surprises will be happening on site as well. The event will be broadcast by 103.7, WXCY-FM. Regular business hours commence August 5, 2019

The location marks the 32nd location for the growing urgent care chain. ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers has partnered with Lifebridge Health and has extended its operation to 32 locations in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, with continued expansions planned.

ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers offer urgent care medical services. Why wait in the emergency room for non-life threatening medical conditions? ExpressCare Urgent Care centers are available when your regular clinic is closed or you can't get a timely appointment with your physician. With digital x-rays and labs on-site, ExpressCare offers immediate medical treatment for common illnesses and injuries such as: coughs, flu, fever, nausea, infections, earaches, sore throats, fractures, sprains, bites, burns, sutures, and much more. Physicals, sports injuries, and work injuries are performed on a walk-in basis. All patients receive a telephone call the next day so their condition can be monitored and questions answered. ExpressCare is open 7 days a week from 8:00am to 9:00pm. No appointment is necessary. ExpressCare offers Express Pass, an on-line registration service where patients can check in and reserve a time at any ExpressCare location. To register, go to www.whywaitintheer.com

In addition to giving excellent medical care, Maurice Reid, Founder, CEO and Chief Medical Director believes in giving back to the community. Working with community programs and sports organizations and ExpressCare's signature high school scholarship programs, ExpressCare was voted by the Daily Record Readers as The Best Urgent Care Centers in Maryland for 2018 and Dover Post and Smyrna/Clayton Sun Times readers' First State Favorite Walk-In/ Urgent Care in 2019.

For more information on ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers, visit us at www.whywaitintheer.com or call 410-569-2441.

SOURCE ExpressCare

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Why Does the Start of the School Year Vary So Much?

Labor Day used to signify the last hurrah before schools opened for the new academic year.That’s not necessarily so anymore. This year, only a handful of states will begin classes after the holiday. The bulk of districts in most states started school in August. And in Arizona, Georgia, and Mississippi, most public school students returned to school at the end of July.Why such differences among school start dates? The reasons vary. What’s best for students’ academic interests isn’t necessarily at the top ...

Labor Day used to signify the last hurrah before schools opened for the new academic year.

That’s not necessarily so anymore. This year, only a handful of states will begin classes after the holiday. The bulk of districts in most states started school in August. And in Arizona, Georgia, and Mississippi, most public school students returned to school at the end of July.

Why such differences among school start dates? The reasons vary. What’s best for students’ academic interests isn’t necessarily at the top of those lists.

Later start dates, more tourism dollars?

In recent years, state lawmakers have been at the forefront of efforts to return to or maintain post-Labor Day start times. Increasing summer tourism dollars is often a driving force behind these efforts.

In 2016, for instance, then-Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order mandating the state’s public schools begin classes after Labor Day. Hogan made the announcement from the boardwalk of Maryland’s resort town of Ocean City, suggesting that the later start date would provide a late-summer economic boost to the state’s tourism industry, give families more time to enjoy summer vacations, and prevent students from attending schools during the summer heat in buildings without air conditioners. In 2019 the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill overturning Hogan’s executive order, stressing that school start date decisions should be made by local schools and communities.

For the 2023-24 academic year, 16 Maryland school systems started before Labor Day, and nine begin after Labor Day. A posting on state education department’s website reads: “These decisions are made at the local education agency level with the input of stakeholders to best meet the needs of the school community.”

Virginia public schools’ start date shuffle followed a trajectory similar to Maryland’s. A state law in the 1980s, dubbed the “King’s Dominion Law” after a popular Virginia theme park, required public schools to start after Labor Day unless they obtained a waiver from the state. In 2014, then-newly elected Virginia Governor Terence McAuliffe fought to preserve the law, telling the Roanoke Times, “I’m very concerned about the tourism issue.”

In 2019, state legislation permitted schools to start as much as two weeks before Labor Day. The majority of the state’s districts now start in August.

Maintaining the status quo

While lawmakers’ goal of bringing in late-summer tourism dollars has been the driving force behind some states’ post-Labor Day school starts in recent years, some educators suggest that they are simply relics from the past. For instance, summer breaks became entrenched in the school calendar decades or even a century ago in part because, especially in urban areas, residents fled cities to avoid the heat.

“It’s honestly surprising to me that the school calendar remains generally untouched. This school calendar has been in place for decades in New York,” Michael Capuana, the district superintendent of Erie 1 BOCES, a service district in Buffalo, N.Y. told USA Today. “In many ways, it seems as though the rationale boils down to ‘we’ve always done it this way.’ ”

This explanation is in keeping with a theory known as “network effects,” where a given standard becomes more useful the more widely it’s adopted. Standardizing schedules can benefit school districts’ recruiting efforts, suggest Pew Research Center experts, as job seekers might be more likely to seek employment in a nearby locale if the schedules are similar. But district leaders aren’t necessarily the people making decisions on start dates.

A push for year-round school

Some education advocates would like to see a more dramatic change to the school schedule than simply starting back to school before Labor Day.

Joann Mickens, the executive director of the advocacy organization Parents for Public Schools, is among them. “I am one of the folks who believes we should move toward a year-round school model,” she said, “if we really believe that children’s focus should be on education.” (Mickens qualified her assertion by saying she was expressing her personal opinion and not necessarily that of her organization.) Education researchers have found that organizing the school year around shorter breaks can result in academic benefits, particularly for low-income students who may not have access to educational or enrichment opportunities during long summer breaks.

The balanced calendar schedule, a common model of year-round schooling, shortens the summer break and builds in regular breaks that allow time for remediation, enrichment, and accelerated programs throughout the year—generally resulting in the same total number of schools days per year, just distributed differently. As of 2020, only about 4 percent of the nation’s public schools followed a year-round schedule, according to the National Association for Year-Round Education.

Given that statewide efforts to move school start dates—even by a few weeks—have ignited fierce debates, it stands to reason that a more significant shift to a year-round schedule would likely result in even stronger resistance.

But critics of shortening summer breaks, whose arguments often include suggestions that doing so would disrupt family time and vacation opportunities, ignore the reality that many of today’s working families struggle to pay child-care costs during summer months when their children are out of school.

“I think oftentimes, not only do we not have students’ best interests in mind, we don’t check in with families,” Mickens said. “They [families] can best tell legislators whether or not starting school after Labor Day is a good idea.”


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