Fall River School District to Increase Class Time - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Fall River School District to Increase Class Time

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By: Melissa Toupin

mtoupin@abc6.com

Starting next fall many Fall River students are going to be spending an extra 300 hours at school. Massachusetts is one of five states to participate in a collaborative effort being announced tomorrow by state leaders, the Ford Foundation, and the National Center on Time and Learning (NCTL).

"Extending hours, as far as educational, I think kids need it," said Fall River parent Edward Coelho. "Especially the way the level is compared to Europe."

And that's exactly the idea. The initiative is intended to boost student achievement and make US schools more competitive on a global level. Spending more time in the classroom, education officials say, will mean more time for individualized help and better reinforcement of critical math and science skills.

The three year pilot program will affect almost 20,000 students in 40 schools in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee. Fall River Schools were chosen as one of only two districts in the state and will focus on middle school students.

Under the program students could see longer school days, more days added to the school year, or a combination of the two.

"I don't believe in it," said Geri Machado whose granddaughter is in middle school. "I think it's long enough. That's not a life for these kids, especially if they are involved in other activities."

Several Fall River Schools already have longer days including Matthew J. Kuss Middle School, and the Carlton Viveiros and Frank Silvia elementary schools, through 'Extended Learning Time' grants.

"I don't like it," said Kuss Middle School 8th grader Theya Carreiro. "Then you go home you have to do homework, and then you eat, and go to bed, and you can't do anything else."

Still, some students how have been through the extended hours program say they are better for it.

1,000 U.S. schools already operate on expanded schedules, and increase of 53% over 2009, according to a report by the National Center on Time & Learning.

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