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Boston School Committee Approves More Learning Time for 60 Elementary, Middle and K-8 Schools

Boston School Committee Approves More Learning Time
for 60 Elementary, Middle and K-8 Schools

Additional time is the equivalent of an additional month of instruction


BOSTON - The Boston School Committee voted overwhelmingly Wednesday, January 28, 2015 to extend the school day by 40 minutes in 60 Boston public schools. The vote is the final step in approving the agreement forged by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the Boston Teachers Union. The additional time, which will be phased in over three years, will begin this fall in 20 schools.

“This is a historic moment in public education for Boston, and I am pleased this agreement is moving forward,” said Mayor Walsh. “Boston’s students deserve more learning opportunities.  The extra 40 minutes will mean more time for academic learning, more time for enrichment opportunities, and more time for added supports for struggling students.”

The additional time will impact nearly 23,000 elementary and middle school students in 60 schools and is equivalent to adding one month of instruction for elementary students. The plan also nearly doubles the amount of teacher planning and development time that educators receive.

“This an exciting time in the Boston Public Schools,” said School Committee Chair Michael O’Neill. “Innovations such as longer school days, an improved teacher hiring and evaluation system, and more opportunities for school staff, parents and partners to collaborate, are leading to greater outcomes for students. I want to thank Mayor Walsh for his leadership in education.”

Currently, students in traditional BPS elementary schools are in class for six hours a day, and six hours and ten minutes for middle school students. Many schools in Boston already have a lengthened school day that allows for increased enrichment opportunities in areas such as art, music, drama and foreign languages.

 “With tonight’s vote, a longer school day will provide us with a key strategy for success that will benefit not just some of our students, but all of our students in grades K-8,” said Superintendent John McDonough. “Additional time, used well, will change the school day for both students and teachers, and will fundamentally change the way we do business in the Boston Public Schools.”

A school selection process for the first 20 - or “Schedule A” - schools will take place this winter.  Leading up to the start of the new school year, the district will host trainings for the schools, designed to guide the facilitation of professional learning and use of collaborative planning time.  To ensure a successful implementation, BPS will work with partners who have supported the expansion of the school day, including the National Center for Time and Learning, and from schools already implementing extended learning time in Boston.

“We are pleased to be part of a truly collaborative effort that has expanded learning opportunities for students and teachers alike,” said Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union. “Educators need more time together to learn about new methods, share best practices and examine student data; when they do, they are able to bring their best to students every day.”

Under the approved plan, teachers in the 60 schools that do not currently have a longer day will earn an additional $4,464 for the expanded schedule, which is approximately 20 percent lower than the average contractual hourly rate.  The agreement will cost approximately $12.5 million per year once fully rolled out to all 60 schools.