Florida schools have been receiving a great deal of press coverage lately for their expanding learning efforts. In 2012, 100 of the lowest FCAT scoring Florida schools were mandated to add an hour of learning time for reading. 70 of the schools made enough progress on test scores to get off the lowest-performing list, and 30 of them opted to continue with expanded learning last year. Florida has now added more schools to the list and has mandated the 300 lowest scoring schools (technically it will be 306 because of multiple scoring ties) to add more time to their school this year starting in the Fall.
Here are what some of the Florida teachers, parents, and administrators have been saying:
- “The majority of schools saw an increase with the number of students reading at grade level and showed learning gains,” –Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Jacksonville
- “I think more time is always great,” –School Board Member Candy Olson
- “Many of our teachers already arrive earlier and stay later,” Principal Rick Grayes said. “It wasn’t a major thing for their schedule. Plus, now they get some compensation for it, which is a positive.”
- “We’re using a new reading curriculum this year. We’re looking at these four schools in a very positive way. They have an additional hour and will get additional development time. Most elementary schools will have 120 minutes to teach English and language arts and these schools will have 180.” –Stu Greenberg, the Leon County (Tallahassee) district’s divisional director for school accountability
- B.J. Van Camp, Hartsfield’s principal, said the additional hour is a chance to get students to “mastery” level when it comes to reading. She said so far, there hasn’t been much in the way of concern from parents about the extra hour….School is different from how it was. Parents recognize that and they recognize their child will be with a teacher who is.
- “We want better for our kids. We want them to learn. We want them to be smarter, to progress and advance in the world. –Endeavour Elementary School Parent Jessie Smiley
Check in with our ELT soup each week on our blog to find more news on the Florida schools expanding time for learning.