A longer school day for middle schoolers will be in effect this fall, and students will be in school until 5:21 pm

The East Ramapo School District will us a state grant to lengthen the school day, adding a ninth period for academic instruction and a tenth for enrichment and recreational programs.  The school day at Pomona Middle School is being lengthened by about 2 hours.

Longer School Day for Middle SchoolersThe grant money is being administered by educators at Wellcore, a nonprofit who is under contract with the East Ramapo District.

Nine districts were awarded monies under the New York statewide $24 million for the Extended Learning Time (ELT grant.  Yonkers City Schools were awarded 3.1 million for 2014-15.

East Ramapo is one of nine districts statewide recently awarded a slice of $24 million the state offered for the competitive Extended Learning Time (ELT) grant. Yonkers City Schools were awarded $3.1 million for 2014-15.

East Ramapo will receive about $2.6 million, or $1,293,500 each year for the next two years, which will fund the extended work day for the middle school teachers, teaching assistants, administrators and support staff.Longer School Day for Middle Schoolers

Officials expect the extra time will help some of East Ramapo’s most vulnerable adolescents score better on state exams and become more engaged in and supported by their school communities during the impressionable pre-high school years.

“The middle school is incredibly important to target,” Vickie Shaw, Wellcore co-director, said. “It’s one of the most difficult times of an adolescent’s life to navigate. There’s intense social pressure. … Kids sometimes are unsure of who they are and where they’re going. You’re really laying the foundation for them to be successful in high school and to graduate.”

East Ramapo administrators have struggled to implement the state’s new Common Core standards with scant resources; meanwhile, test scores and graduation rates have floundered. The high-needs district of 9,000 public school students includes many non-English speaking children who move frequently between schools or between the U.S. and their native countries in Central and South America.

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Longer School Day for Middle Schoolers