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Stamford Schools Leader Willing To Look At Longer Days

Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton says making the school day longer would improve student performance.
Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton says making the school day longer would improve student performance. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. — The Stamford schools were not chosen to participate in a new collaborative to extend the school day, however Superintendent Winifred Hamilton would like to give it a try.

It would help kids learn more, Hamilton said, which happened when Stamford extended class times from 48 or 49 minutes to 60 minutes for math, social studies, language arts and science classes in the middle schools. The district lengthened classes in response to low test scores and saw an improvement.

“The achievement in middle school has been terrific,” Hamilton said, adding that more kids are now taking honors and other higher level classes.

Extending the school day would also give students more time for enrichment classes as well as academic ones, she said.

The district recently agreed to terms with the teachers’ union on a three-year contract, but the subject of extending the school day was not brought up, Hamilton said.

Several schools in East Hartford, Meriden and New London were chosen earlier this week to participate in a collaborative across the country that will expand and redesign the school year calendar, adding 300 hours of school time, Gov. Dannel Malloy said. The schools will roll out the new calendar in fall 2013.

Hamilton commended the districts, the schools and the unions involved for agreeing to terms to extend the school day and participate in the program. “Figuring that out was time well spent,” she said.

The state was one of five chosen to participate in the collaborative effort by state leaders, the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time and Learning . Costs for the program will be covered by federal and state funds.

“At a time when many other states were cutting funding for local education, Connecticut went in another direction, adding more than $300 million to public schools, much of that designated for struggling districts,” Malloy said of what the state is doing to improve education.

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