When the school year begins next fall, the day will look very different at the three elementary schools in the district. Instead of beginning at 9:15 in the morning, students will commence their studies at 8:45.
According to Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Eric Byrne, the district has been examining ways to lengthen the day at the elementary schools during the past two years. Several factors necessitated the change. “We’re being asked to implement new common core state standards,” Byrne said. In order to adhere to these standards, additional instructional time is required. Also, in the past, elementary school teachers never had time to meet together to discuss grade-wide issues. The new schedule includes a time where all the teachers in the same grade are available to meet. The longer day will also enable students to attend gym classes every other day. This will mark major progress in the “push for health and wellness,” Byrne said.
Michael Retting, President of School Scheduling Associates and Professor Emeritus at James Madison University, worked with administrators on restructuring the day. He mentioned several salient points including the fact that by increasing the day to six and one half hours from six hours, the district will “just be approaching the national average.” The number of hours in approximately 50% of schools nationwide range from six and one half to six hours and 45 minutes. In New York State the number of school days are mandated whereas the number of hours are not. Retting also highlighted the fact that the times for instrumental music lessons have been changed so that students will no longer be pulled out of class throughout the day. “That’ll be less disruptive to teachers and students,” he noted.