Candiates Stance



What is it all about?

Main reasons for wanting a longer school day: teac 

Last Updated: Oct. 28, 2013, 11:07 a.m.

1. PUBLIC COMMENT: Atypically, the room were filled. Public comment was held at the start of the meeting and after the Superintendent’s presentation on the longer day. Several people spoke about the need for recess, including for 6-8th graders. Many people spoke about the longer school day. A few speakers spoke in favor of a longer day, but most spoke in opposition. Speakers included parents and afterschool providers. 2. SUPERINTENDENT’S PRESENTATION ON LONGER SCHOOL DAY: He acknowledged that it is both a “public policy issue,” most of which are “rightfully” decided in public, and a collective bargaining issue, which can’t be discussed in public. He couldn’t speak about it publicly while negotiations are going on, but he can now. (Presumably the negotiations are not going on now.) Main reasons for wanting a longer school day: Teacher time: Teachers need more time for collaboration, to plan interventions, design differentiated instruction, meet with principals and instructional coaches, analyze data, talk with parents (HS teachers), write letters of recommendation (HS teachers). A big emphasis on teacher collaboration, particularly special education and general education teachers collaborating to collaborate so students can be included in the classroom rather than pulled out. Similarly for ELL students. The way to raise achievement for struggling students is to offer instruction that is better planned and more differentiated, “not be hiring more people and throwing in more bodies.” Student time: Teachers need a longer day for academic subjects as well as special subjects such as the arts, World Language for K-5, recess, advisory programs, elective subjects, etc. Need a longer school day for higher achievement, to close achievement gaps, and for “well-rounded children.” K-5: The current K-5 program (which includes 180 minutes of Science per week) requires 1,840 minutes, but the current day is only 1,800 minutes. The two core subjects, math and ELA, together require 4 hours per day “to do them right.” The Common Core Standards, however, are going to require more time because the curriculum is more rigorous, there are more standards, and we want to raise expectations of all students. The School Committee also wants a K-5 World Language program, and he doesn’t want to take that time out of the existing program. We also need more time for STEM: “We know that is where the jobs are going to be for kids.” 6-8: Core 6-8 academic teachers feel their 45-minute periods are too short. They can’t be lengthened without taking time from electives, arts, advisory periods, etc. High School: The block schedule is very inflexible. A longer day would give more flexibility in designing the day, teachers could have office hours to meet with students. Comments by Extended Learning Time Principals: Robin Young and Gerald Yeung spoke briefly, the principals of Fletcher-Maynard and ML King Schools, the two Extended Learning Day CPS schools. Per state grant, they have 300 extra hours, which gives them 2 extra hours per day. (They must have some short days because 300 hours is only 60 minutes extra per day.) MLK can do Chinese as a world language, FMA wants to go back to offering Spanish and extra time will allow that. Extra time also allows them to do collaborative programs with community partners. FMA has “extension classes” such as engineering and robotics, and Kodaly music four times per week. Teachers have more collaboration time. Students like it. Both felt that their schools had achieved “Level 1 Status” with the state department of ed (the highest level, based on MCAS improvement) because of what they were able to do with extended day. Most private schools have a 7-7.5 hour day. Additional points from the Superintendent: 1) He doesn’t want to decide how the extra time will be used ahead of time because he wants to empower teachers and principals to decide that at the school level, as long as the time is used for: academics, electives/the arts, and collaboration. 2) Some parents say they don’t want a longer day because they want more time with their child: “I don’t know how to respond to that.” 3) Some parents say their child will get tired: “But I know most Cambridge children are involved in afterschool activities." 4) Concerns about afterschool programs: "We are committed to working with afterschool programs to make the transition to afterschool programs as seamless as possible." 5) We were lucky because the former and present City Managers, Bob Healy and Richard Rossi, wanted to support this financially because “they believe this will make a difference for kids.”

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City State ZipCode Country
Cambridge MA US

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