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April 2014 Vol. 21 No. 5 Focus on Using School Time Wisely

A question of time and money

Photo: Charles Mostoller

Action United member Dawn Hawkins and her son, 8th grader Khyrie Brown, have been calling for improvements at Blaine, a K-8 school in Strawberry Mansion. They persuaded new School Reform Commission Chair Bill Green to visit the school but don’t see eye-to-eye with him about planned reforms, including longer hours.


Bill Hangley Jr.

Khyrie Brown wants more for his school: more art, more music, more books, more laptops, even more paper towels in the bathrooms.

And although staying longer each day at Blaine Academics Plus, a K-8 school in Strawberry Mansion, isn’t at the top of his agenda, Brown says that what educators call “extended time” can help.

“Last week was the first time I went to Saturday school,” Blaine’s optional PSSA prep classes, said the 14-year-old 8th grader. 

“My friend was like, ‘Just come.’ I said, ‘School’s already five days a week, and now it’s six?’ But then I wound up going, and the college student I was with, we got a lot of work done.”

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Educators: Meeting time is critical to classroom success


Dale Mezzacappa

A longer school day is most often justified as a way for students to spend more time with teachers, work on core subjects, or engage in extracurricular activities. 

But another good reason for extra time is to give teachers more time to collaborate. 

In fact, some educators argue that teacher meeting time is the glue that holds schools together.

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Cash-strapped District nurtures outside partnerships


Dan Hardy

Beset by massive budget cuts and with more deficits looming in future years, Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite has been reaching out to area businesses, nonprofits, and foundations to make up the losses in money and programs.

Last year, he created the Office of Strategic Partnerships to find new allies that would augment the District’s programs and finances, while cementing and enhancing relations with old ones.

Maximizing outside partnerships is a good strategy in any case, but is crucial when a cash-starved district is trying to provide enough quality learning time for students. 

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