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Longer School Days Are Coming to Select Massachusetts Schools

Massachusetts is one of five states to add 300 hours of class time every year for certain schools. Will it help?

 

Will more time in school translate into greater student achievement?

Federal and state officials are announcing today that Massachusetts, along with Connecticut, New York, Tennessee and Colorado, are participating in a pilot program to find out.

Csmonitor.com reports that the program will add at least 300 hours of learning time in some schools starting next fall. 

Fall River and Lawrence are the two Massachusetts towns included in the pilot project. Boston.com reports that this new program adds to an effort launched six years ago in Massachusetts to lengthen the school day in several school districts.

The pilot program reportedly will last three years and include almost 20,000 students in 40 schools with an eye to bringing in more schools if it is effective, particularly lower-performing schools in lower-income communities. Each school district gets to decide exactly how the school time will be increased: longer school days? More of them? Both?

The pilot is part of a project called the TIME (Time for Innovation Matters in Education) Collaborative, a partnership between the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL). 

What do you think about this pilot project; do you think this is a constructive approach to improving student achievement?

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katie December 04, 2012 at 08:45 PM
300 hours per year is about an hour and a half per day, throughout the school year. If you're just going to tack on a few minutes in each class period (probably not adding any additional time to lunch, which they should) then no, it won't help. However, if the time will allow students to add elective courses, break up their day with a study period, get extra help in certain areas, then I think it can help. Lunch periods, particularly in high schools, are too short. It's not enough time to recharge and finish out the day. This is especially true in bigger schools where students can end up spending a significant portion of their lunch period waiting in line for food. If the additional time is going to be dispersed throughout the day, adding an extra "block", adding time to each of the current learning periods and time to lunch, then I think this could be a good thing. An 8 hour school day does not sound unreasonable at all, if done correctly.
Alex Finnegan January 01, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Sam, When you fundamentally ask more of an employee continually without some sort of compensation you make that job that much less appealing. The last thing Lawrence needs is a less appealing work environment, then it will become where the lesser teachers are accepted because they have no place else to go and because Lawrence has lost its good teachers to other school districts that aren't so demanding. It's the same in any employ, people want to to work where they are best taken care of and valued, as a result the employer who puts that out there will generally have their pick of the people trying for that job.
Alex Finnegan January 01, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Many other countries (europe) offer 1 hour lunch which contributes to the "longer school day"
R Freedmn January 01, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Ever see what many of those top European and Asian countries we have 'fallen behind' do with Special Needs - 504 plan students?
Alex Finnegan January 01, 2013 at 08:51 PM
enlighten us. It's neither here not there as Westford is doing just fine but I'm curious to know.

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