Push Is On to Add Time to School

There’s a movement on to lengthen the school day, according to Education Week:

About 50 6th graders at Roger Williams Middle School hiked with the Audubon Society during a class period last week, examining plant and insect species and cataloging birds from a nearby urban park. For another period, they gathered water samples aboard a boat on Narragansett Bay.

Those experiences were part of their new 7th-period class, which adds an extra hour to the school day, five days a week, focused on building student competency and a deeper understanding of the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math. For two of those weekly periods, the students venture outside the walls of the Providence, R.I., school for field-based learning experiences led by their teacher in conjunction with community providers.

On the other days, the 7th period is reserved for an added hour of instruction related to the experiences they have off campus, taught by their teacher and an AmeriCorps member. Last week, students spent the extra in-class periods classifying the insect and plant species they found on their hike and peering through microscopes to look for plankton in the water samples they collected.

Providence’s expanded-school-day pilot is a partnership between the school district and the Providence After School Alliance, a nonprofit that manages after-school programs for low-income students in that city. Their efforts come alongside growing national interest in expanded learning time, or adding time to the school calendar as a way to help low-performing students catch up.

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