Here’s hoping Peabody School Committee members are paying attention to what’s happening in Boston, where officials and union leaders reached an agreement to lengthen the school day by 40 minutes for almost 23,000 kindergarten and elementary school pupils.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said students have a better chance at success the more learning time they have. Boston Teacher’s Union President told the Associated Press the extended day will benefit art, music, drama, foreign language and other “under-served” subjects.
“With this agreement we are transforming the definition of the ‘school day’ in the Boston Public Schools,” John McDonough, Boston’s interim superintendent, said in a statement. “We are building on the value of collaborative planning for teachers and educators in an affordable and sustainable way.”
In Peabody, Superintendent Joseph Mastrocola hopes to add 30 minutes to the school day for children in kindergarten through the fifth grade. That would add up to another 90 hours of instructional time over the course of a school year.
It’s a needed step: Peabody’s 5-hour, 55-minute school day is among the shortest on the North Shore (The state average for elementary schools is 61/2 hours). Meanwhile, the state considers Peabody a Level 3 district (with Level 1 being the best, and Level 4 being liable for state takeover).
That has to change. And if the Boston school officials and the district’s teachers union can find a way to make a difference in that city, the same can be done on the North Shore.