By: Lanetra Bennett
July 24, 2014
Tallahassee, FL - Several elementary schools in Leon County will start the new school year with longer school days.
Low reading scores will have four schools staying in session for an extra hour.
Not all students will get to leave at the regular time of 2:50. This upcoming school year, four elementary schools in Leon County will stay until 3:50.
Hartsfield Elementary, Bond Elementary, Oak Ridge Elementary, and Sabal Palm Elementary schools will extend the day by one hour for reading instruction.
The principal of Sabal Palm, Ray King, says, "You really have to challenge students to read at a higher level and also be able to work on discussing that material with them; talking about the meaning of what they're reading and the relationship of that to their world."
The extra hour is a requirement signed by Florida's governor. Elementary schools ranked in the bottom 300, based on learning gains and reading scores, are chosen. There are 307 schools statewide that make the list.
"The impact for Leon County, is this mandate did not come with additional funding." Says, Stuart Greenburg, Leon County Schools Divisional Director for Accountability.
It's estimated it'll cost approximately $300,000 per school. Greenburg says Leon County Schools will have to re-allocate existing funds.
He says, "Because of the fiscal responsibility of our board and the foresight of our superintendent, we'll have a minimal impact. But, it will be an impact, but, it won't be as much as in many other districts."
While there will be an extra hour added, administrators say the additional reading will not be done in the final hour of the school day. Greenburg says, "We'll put an additional hour of reading in the day."
Principals say they expect the additional small-group instructions, vocabulary, and comprehension activities to make a difference in student achievement.