In fact, in our experience, we have come across virtually no underperforming school that has shown marked improvement while still operating within the bounds of the conventional school schedule of 180 six-hour days. The calendar that was developed to meet the needs of a nineteenth-century agrarian and factory economy simply doesn’t give students enough time to master the skills and knowledge they will need today for success in college or careers. Salem is a great city, but its schools are not where they should be. We commend the Salem community for not being satisfied with the status quo and instead seizing the chance to give schools and students the time they need to succeed.
Jennifer Davis, a Lynn resident, is co-founder and president of the National Center on Time & Learning (www.timeandlearning.org), a nonprofit organization based in Boston. This is one in a series of columns from the Community Advisory Board for the Salem schools.