Students at high-poverty area schools in Bridgeport, Meriden and Windham are among more than 9,000 students at high-poverty schools in four states expanding their school days as part of a new initiative.
More schools today will be added to the program, with schools redesigning their schedules for the coming school year -- more than doubling the number of students.
“I am proud Connecticut school districts are bringing stakeholders to the table to adopt innovative measures that will help us to improve public education,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “We have a fundamental obligation to students and teachers to ensure that we are doing the most with time allotted each day. Working together with the state’s hardworking teachers, we can and must support successful models that break away from the status quo.”
Instead of spending more time on typical course work, according to the Associated Press, many schools will use the extra 300 hours a year for things that usually don't fit in a regular school day, such as using personalized software or learning about world cultures, healthy living and even scrapbooking.
The school day starts 100 minutes earlier, and Dan Coffey, principal of the Casimir Pulaski Elementary School, said students take guitar lessons, piano and scapbooking.
"I think it's good for the kids. It gives them a whole different way of learning. They have all these different enrichment programs. It’s a good thing," Sarah Piatta, a parent, said.
Israel Putnam Elementary School us also scheduled to have a longer day and parents are onthe fence about it.
"I think for the youngest one, it was just a little too early for her," Elizabeth Cortes, a parent, said.
Other states included in the initiative include Colorado, Massachusetts and New York, which have developed expanded school schedules as part of the TIME Collaborative. Some are already using the extra time for instruction and enrichment.
2013-2014 Cohort II Planning (for implementation in 2014-2015):
- Bridgeport Public Schools: Beardsley School, Edison School and Wilbur Cross School
- Meriden Public Schools: Israel Elementary School, Roger Sherman Elementary School
- Windham Public Schools: WB Sweeney School and Windham Middle School
2013-2014 Cohort I Expanded Time-Schools:
- East Hartford Public Schools: Dr. Thomas S. O’Connell Elementary School
- Meriden Public Schools: Casimir Pulaski Elementary School, John Barry Elementary School
- New London Public Schools: Jennings Elementary School and Winthrop Magnet Elementary School