A Southwest Florida school district is making up for lost time by extending school hours.
It’s just a half hour, but parents in Collier County are split on the decision. Some feel more learning time is a plus; others asked if 30 minutes will really make a difference.
The Collier County School District thinks it will, and they’re taking measures at all grade levels to make up for the challenges the last year brought.
“I think any added education is great,” said Laurie Condon, a parent in Naples.
Keeping your kids in class longer is the district’s way to make up for disrupted and lost learning time due to the pandemic.
“I feel like a lot was really lost with the pandemic and anything to help make that up is fabulous,” Condon said.
The district agrees, citing test scores from the last year as one reason.
“We made that call off just the third-grade scores alone because we know where historically those schools are. So to be able to provide a boost to those 30 minutes is a huge difference for those schools and nothing like more time added for the kids,” said Superintendent Kamela Patton.
That’s just for the elementary schools. The district is also taking steps to help students at middle and high school levels. For middle schoolers, they’ll see extra learning time before and after school, and possibly on Saturdays. At the high school level, students closer to graduation will get extra instruction during the course of their school day.
“We’ve worked so hard on this that we know the kids are behind already now, so we need to make up for that,” Patton said.
Not all parents feel students need it to make the grade.
“They’re there from like 8 to 3 already and the teachers get there before that and stay after that, so I think an extra 30 minutes is a little unnecessary,” said Olivia Owens.
At 15 elementary schools, some will start early, some will stay late, or they’ll split the time. Below is a list of hours for the upcoming school year. If you can’t see the image, click here.