Bringing you this weeks expanding learning time news:
State education officials announced a first-of-its-kind overhaul of the failing Lawrence schools, with much more instructional time and a bold partnership between charter schools and the school district. The goal is to greatly accelerate student achievement, pushing Lawrence from one of the lowest-performing urban systems in the state to one of the highest-performing ones.
Each school will develop a plan on how to add the additional hours, which could occur by extending the school day or adding days to the school year.
Eleven schools in the Montbello area broke off from the rest of Denver Public Schools by becoming a “zone of innovation.” These schools, such as Collegiate Prep Academy, have the autonomy to create its own rules like a longer school day and longer school year than the rest of the district. According to a standardized test called the Scholastic Math Inventory Assessment, the same students who showed an 8.8% proficiency rating in August, scored a 50 percent proficiency rating in May. I also blogged about it here.
The North Carolina legislature is currently wrestling with several bills, including HB 950 and SB 795, which would impact the minimum required length of the school year in the state. This debate presents a powerful opportunity for North Carolina’s legislative leaders to make a difference in the lives of their students by supporting an expanded school year. Check out our action alert!
Many states, driven by budget woes, a desire to boost tourism or a determination help low-performing schools, are contemplating changes in the amount of time their students spend in class. California school districts for example, may be forced to trim the school calendar to save money. In Alabama and Virginia, the issue is whether a longer summer vacation will bolster the tourism industry. Meanwhile, Michigan wants to add days to the school calendar to help its lowest-performing schools.
One of Boston’s 12 poorest-performing schools has made significant progress just two years after it was designated a turnaround school by the state. Orchard Gardens Pilot School was underperforming for several years and in 2010, because of its poor performance, the school received more federal funding and expanded leeway to make sweeping changes. A longer school day has been a pivotal ingredient in their turnaround effort.
It’s June, and many students around the country are ready to be done with school. Unfortunately, for many kids who don’t have access to safe, fun, and enriching summer programs, summer means losing important ground gained during the school year and starting September farther behind.
One high school and eight elementary schools lengthened the day to allow for “increased learning time” as required by a federal grant program, said district spokesperson Tracy Clark. The school day will last 30 minutes longer this coming school year!