A compromise on extended school days?

July 23, 2014

After experimenting with an extended day for students, one New Haven, Conn., school realized it made more sense to extend the day for teachers so they would have time to collaborate. Could that work in  D.C. Public Schools?

Citing gains in test scores at charter schools and a few DCPS schools that have tried adding more hours to the school day, DCPS Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced her intention to extend hours at dozens more schools. But the Washington Teachers Union (WTU) has blocked those plans, saying the school day should be made better before it’s made longer.

The experience of the school in New Haven seems to bolster the WTU’s position — to a point. Brennan-Rogers, which is pre-kindergarten through-eighth-grade and which was one of the city’s lowest-performing, extended its students’ day by one hour and 25 minutes during the 2010-11 school year. The idea was to close the achievement gap between the school’s mostly minority and low-income students and their wealthier peers.

The results: Kids felt as if they’d been punished, teachers were exhausted and test scores actually dropped. After one year, the students returned to their traditional six-and-a-half-hour day.

But the principal felt that the most promising part of the experiment — additional time for teachers to collaborate — was worth keeping. She proposed that teachers show up an hour early every day, and the teachers agreed to try it. They’ve been doing it for the past three years.

[Continue reading Natalie Wexler's post at Greater Greater Education.]

Natalie Wexler is the editor of Greater Greater Education and a member of the board of the D.C. Scholars Public Charter School. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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Natalie Wexler · July 17, 2014