Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A 9 to 5 School Day: Are Longer Hours Better for Students and Educators?

A 9 to 5 School Day: Are Longer Hours Better for Students and Educators?:

A 9 to 5 School Day: Are Longer Hours Better for Students and Educators?

longer school days

In 2004, Kuss Middle School in Fall River, Massachusetts, was labelled a Level 4 or “chronically underperforming” school, a lowly status that made it the focus of increased oversight and intervention. By 2013, however, Kuss, along with other struggling schools in this high-poverty district, had pushed its ranking all the way to Level 1. Whereas many interventions can impose punitive measures that divide communities, the improvement in student achievement at Kuss has been credited in no small part to longer school days or extended learning time (ELT) – a reform championed by many school officials, educators, parents, and community leaders.
“We’ve seen schools that have added as many as 90 minutes to their day improve quite dramatically,” says Rebecca Cusick, a fourth-grade teacher and president of the Fall River Educators’ Association.
Massachusetts has been a leader in ELT for more than a decade. In 2005, the state legislature created the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time Initiative and approved major funding to support high-poverty schools that lengthened the school year. The initiative currently supports 19 schools and more than 10,000 students. Individual models may differ, but the schools have all lengthened their calendars by approximately 300 hours annually. For a school on a typical 180-day calendar, this translates to roughly 90 minutes of additional classroom time daily. The extra time is used for core subject instruction, teacher professional development, and student engagement activities.
Schools are provided with more “comprehensive educational experiences as well as more informal play time and social development opportunities that too many schools today are not able to provide simply because they don’t have enough time to do so,” explains Jennifer Davis, co-founder and president of the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL).
The popularity of longer school days got a major boost in 2013 with a joint program between NCTL, the U.S. Department of Education and the Ford Foundation called the “Time Collaborative.” This three-year initiative involved 40 schools in the states of Colorado, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. Outside of major projects like this, more school districts across the country are also stretching the school day, although in less ambitious ways.
But the shift to longer school days comes with pitfalls or, at least, unmet expectations. And even those educators who are in schools that have successfully implemented ELT initiatives will be the first to issue a warning – a longer school day is not for everyone.

Longer School Days: Weighing the Pros and Cons
Currently, around 1,500 schools across the country have extended learning hours, a A 9 to 5 School Day: Are Longer Hours Better for Students and Educators?:

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