The longer school day has led to some adjustments to the way teachers and staff present instruction. “The kids seem to be reacting very well to it,” said Bell. “We surveyed the teachers at the elementary and asked them how it is going. They report the change is going good. One teacher said she loved having the extra instructional time. Another said that with the enhanced hands on projects they can do her class doesn’t want to leave in the afternoon. I think it’s really been positive.”
At Washington, making up time has been a matter of grabbing as many hours as possible out of the existing school calendar and adding time to both the beginning and end of the school day. Students will go to school on Good Friday and an early release day was canceled. Student reporting time was moved up to 7:40 a.m. at the high school and junior high and dismissal time was moved back to 3:55 p.m.
“We’re all appreciative that the DOE gave us these options,” said Washington School Superintendent Daniel Roach. “What I’m hearing, especially from the elementary teachers, is that the extra time is very useful.”
If there are no additional missed days because of weather, Washington should end the extended days on March 19. “Everyone has been very flexible on this,” said Roach.
One of the things having a big impact on the way schools make decisions on whether to extend their days is the statewide testing students face in the spring. “We surveyed our patrons and they said they wanted the extended days,” said Roach. “At the same time that testing drives instruction. The teachers are using the extra time to prep their students for the ISTEP and IREAD and ECA tests they will have in the spring. ISTEP is a key component in our effort to regain that instructional time.”