Students in Hopewell get 20 minutes added to school day
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Apr 15, 2013, 13:39
Students in Hopewell will see a longer school beginning next school year. At Thursday night’s school board meeting, a resolution was passed that will add 20 minutes onto the school day.
In March, Dr. Kim Evans, assistant superintendent for instruction, presented to the board the benefits of adding the extra instructional time. She said that while there were challenges with how the 20 minutes will be used in the classrooms, it was beneficial to the students as well as the teachers.
“If you research instructional time, there is a correlation between the time spent in instruction and student performance,” Evans said. “But those of us who live it everyday will tell you, you can have all the time that you want, you need to make sure that it is being used effectively.”
At Thursday’s board meeting, Evans told the board that she had continued the discussion of the additional instructional time with not only all principals of the schools, but with staff at the central office.
“At the end of the meeting, we developed a draft schedule for our schools and incorporated components from that discussion as well as things that we felt we needed to do to provide a quality education for our students,” Evans said. “This draft schedule will shuffle the arrival times or the sequence in which students arrive to school.”
She also added that the new start and end times of all the schools in division reflect what research shows are optimal times to provide instruction to students.
Dr. John Fahey, superintendent of Hopewell City Public Schools, echoed Evans’ sentiments. He said the arrival times also help with some of the challenges the school division is currently facing in terms of transportation.
“There’s a body of research that talks about middle and high school kids functioning better later in the day but that’s hard to do when you have buses and you have to run kids on the same buses so this is our first attempt to really help with this,” Fahey told the board. “... It may help some of the bus issues that we face on a daily basis, logistically it should.”
Fahey said the schools in the division have stood in support of the time changes. He said the elementary schools want the extra time for students, as well as teachers, with one elementary school already drafting a new schedule and the high school is looking forward to the 90 minutes in the classrooms.
“We’re the educators. We’re the professionals. Sometimes we have to make a call and make sure that we make a smart call,” Fahey said. “... It’s time to make some tough instructional decisions and move forward.”
Board Chairman, Dr. William Henry, said the board needed to pass the changes sooner, rather than wait for more feedback on the proposed 20 minutes. He said it gives parents and teachers the summer to figure out how to adjust to the new schedule.