Following expert recommendations that longer school days may raise achievement, school officials in South Bend Community School Corporation are adding 40 minutes a day to their six hour and 15 minute school day. Currently their school day is the shortest of any area district.
In the 2016-2017 school year, if the board approves the plan, each primary school have its own plan for using the extra time. According to Superintendent Carole Schmidt, the plan also includes later start times for the intermediate and high school students.
Schmidt is trying to still work out the costs, intending to involve teachers in how the additional time is used.
“It may turn out,” she said, “that everybody wants to do the same thing; add 10 minutes to reading, 10 to math and 20 for science.”
Research shows that expanded class time can raise achievement. However there is one caution – the time has to be spent in meaningful applications. Quality is as important as quantity.