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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. 

In Boston, starting in 2014, some select Boston schools (none in West Roxbury) may have two hours added to their school day. And the Boston Teachers Union also supports Boston's move to extend school days, said BTU President Richard Stutman.

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?

Karen Kast December 03, 2012 at 05:44 PM
We have already seen the result of how well this can help with student achievement at the Irving Middle School. Our "pilot" ELT (Expanded Learning Time) program for sixth graders last school year, 2011-2012, gave us the ability to offer extra academic support to students in need, enrichment courses for those already meeting the benchmarks as well as offering sports, arts, music, academic/social clubs, as well as taking part in one of our partner programs with AIP (Alliance for Inclusion & Prevention), Tenacity and Citizen Schools! My older daughter has successfully apprenticed with two of the top legal firms in Boston to argue cases at Federal court in front of the actual judges - in 6th & 7th grade! In addition to that, we have seen our 6th graders (now 7th graders) MCAS scores go up 29% in one year! So, yes, if done right I would advocate for longer days/years for all our students! We funded our "pilot" program by working with Citizen Schools and BPS to find funding which is why we could only have it last year for our 6th graders. In January, I helped write the grant application for federal RTTT i3 funds that was awarded to the Irving middle school in February, 2012 http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/dorchester/2012/02/mccormack_middle_school_to_exp.html In 2010-11 which is now allowing us to provide ELT for every student at the Irving!

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