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<<  TIME Collaborative / News Articles / News 8 WTNH.com, December 4, 2012
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Speaking out about extending the school day

Updated: Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012, 7:04 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012, 4:27 PM EST

Mark Davis

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Teachers and parents should know by this Spring how the new, longer school day will work.

Some schools in New London, Meriden, and East Hartford will be added to the growing list of districts that are expanding school hours to help close the 'achievement gap.'

All 300 students in grades kindergarten through six at the O'Connell Elementary School in East Hartford will have a longer school day starting next Fall.

It will bring to 11, the total number of Connecticut school districts that have expanded the school day and school year in some way to address the 'achievement gap' between kids in the more affluent suburbs and the lower income communities. Parents News 8 spoke with Tuesday were mostly positive about the expansion of school time.

"I'm actually excited about the idea of having a longer school day," said Ed Battle, "then we may be able to compete with, you know, those other countries, like China."

"50-50, I mean in a way, they get all tired as it is," said Liz Rivera, "but in a way, it's good for them, they're going to be learning more."

"I know that other countries stay longer and they're doing well so why not us, right," said Tianna Pham.

The Governor and his commissioner of Education met with school administrators there and at the other schools involved Tuesday.

However, there are no specifics yet about how it will work. It could involve some staggered work schedules for teachers, an earlier start, or a later dismissal, or a combination of both.

"No set plans yet, but as we get closer to April we'll have a set plan to share with out district, our parents and everybody else," said Principal Greg Fox.

The Governor says the foundation that's supporting this is pledging dollars to get it started. The head of the local teacher's union there says they are ready to work this out.

"We will work with the district and leadership team collaboratively to work out a plan that will best suit the needs of our students," said Karen O'Connell, President, East Hartford Education Assoc.
     
And the unions have a seat at the table to help get this done.

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