Mayor Walsh negotiates plan to expand school day by 40 minutes
Adds equivalent of one month of instruction to school year for nearly 23,000 Boston students
Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced that, with BPS and the Boston Teachers Union (BTU), he has negotiated a proposal to permanently add 40 minutes of learning time to the school day in the Boston Public Schools (BPS). The additional 40 minutes will impact nearly 23,000 elementary and middle school students and is equivalent to adding one month of instruction for elementary students. In addition, the proposal nearly doubles the amount of teacher planning and development time that educators receive.
“We know that when our students have more time to learn, they have a better chance of succeeding,” said Mayor Walsh. “I thank the Boston Teachers Union and the Boston Public Schools for their partnership in helping us reach this milestone that will strengthen our education system and help us close the achievement gap so we can give all of our young people the opportunity to succeed.”
Currently, students in traditional BPS elementary schools are in class for six hours a day. Middle school students are in class for six hours and ten minutes. Under the proposal, the 60 BPS elementary, middle and K-8 schools that do not currently have flexibility for an extended day would lengthen their school days by 40 minutes five days a week, and teachers would receive additional time within the schedule for planning and professional development. BPS plans to roll this out over three years, beginning with approximately 20 schools in the 2015-2016 school year. The proposal will now go before the full membership of the Boston Teachers Union for consideration.
"The School Committee has developed a strategic vision for the District that includes ensuring every student has a high-quality teacher and school leader, every day," said Michael O'Neill, Chair of the Boston School Committee. "Lengthening the school day allows our students and teachers to spend more time together for high-quality instruction. When connected to our early hiring, teacher diversity and human capital initiatives, which include effective evaluations tied to professional development, a longer school day will become a key strategy to eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps for students throughout the District."
“With this agreement we are transforming the definition of the ‘school day’ in the Boston Public Schools,” said BPS Interim Superintendent John McDonough. “We are building on the value of collaborative planning for teachers and educators in an affordable and sustainable way. We continue to create conditions for success for all schools.”
"The school day extension will help our students by offering well-planned, school-based instruction that promotes teaching and learning while allowing for increased participation in a variety of under-served subject areas, such as art, music, drama and foreign language,” said Richard Stutman, President of the Boston Teachers Union. We are pleased to have been part of a truly collaborative effort that brought this about."
If the proposal is approved by the membership of the Boston Teachers Union it would go before the Boston School Committee for a vote. Under the plan, teachers in the 60 schools that do not currently have a longer day would earn an annual stipend rate of $4,464 for the expanded schedule, which is approximately 20 percent lower than the average contractual hourly rate. High schools, which currently offer a six hour and thirty minute day, are not included in this proposal. Adding the equivalent of one month of instruction in 60 schools that do not currently have an extended day would cost approximately $12.5 million per year once fully rolled out to all 60 schools.
If approved, BPS would work with parents, teachers, students, partners and the community to build on lessons learned from schools that already have longer days – including Turnaround, Innovation, Pilot and In-District Charter schools. The District would work collaboratively to help schools create individual plans that support students and raise teacher quality.