They stress that the longer day is not “punishment” for the district’s Level 4 ranking, but adoption of what they say is a program being used by more and more school systems around the country.
“Every new charter school that has been approved by the state includes more time, either to the day or year or both,” said Driscoll. “It’s just a proven commodity for helping kids advance — and that’s not just for kids who are struggling, but for all students.”
Salem Academy Charter School, they note, which has a Level 1 state ranking, has a longer school day. It is an independent public school located in Shetland Park.
Under the tentative plan for Collins, a daily schedule would include 90-minute blocks of math and English, two key areas on state tests.
The average day also would include what school officials say is a key element — a block of time for one teacher to work with a small group of students. It could either be intervention to help struggling students, or acceleration to help students who scored “proficient” on the MCAS to move to “advanced.”
There also would be more time for teachers to plan, as well as enrichment programs in robotics, debate or other areas not normally covered in a school day.
Nathaniel Bowditch, a K-8 school, had applied for the same state grant but was told it was not ready. The school has had several principals in recent years, among other issues.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.