Schools try stretching their students
BOSTON - School principal Robin Harris used to see the clock on her office wall as the enemy, its steady ticking a reminder that time was not on her side.
On average, U.S. students go to school 6.5 hours a day, 180 days a year, fewer than in many other industrialized countries, according to a report by the Education Sector, a Washington-based think tank.
But these days Harris smiles when the clock hits 1:55 p.m. There are still two more hours in the school day — two more hours to teach math and reading, art and drama.
Harris runs Fletcher-Maynard Academy, a combined public elementary and middle school in Cambridge, Mass., that is experimenting with an extended, eight-hour school day.
“It has sort of loosened up the pace,” Harris said. “It’s not as rushed and frenzied.”
The school, which serves mostly poor, minority students, is one of 10 in the state experimenting with a longer day as part of a $6.5 million program.