DC Talks of Extending the School Day

August 5, 2013

Students at C.W. Harris Elementary School in Ward 7 recently posted some impressive gains in standardized tests, showing improvements in math proficiency of 11.9 percent and reading proficiency of 13.1 percent. The school isn’t an outlier. Malcolm X Elementary School in Ward 8 reached 13.1 percent in math and 20.2 percent in reading and Nalle Elementary School in Ward 7 saw 27.2 percent and 16.2 percent jumps in math and reading, respectively. Four other schools showed similar big gains.

What do they all have in common? Longer school days. Now some D.C. officials are saying that more schools should follow suit. This week D.C. officials proudly announced that students in D.C. public schools had posted the largest single gains in math and reading tests—3.6 percent in math, 3.9 percent in reading—since 2008. But one subtext of the good news was the fact that seven of the eight schools that offered extended instruction during the 2012-2013 school year saw their test scores grow more dramatically than their counterparts—10.6 percent in math and 7.2 in reading. Those results were not lost on D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who sees the extended school day at the seven schools that posted high scores as an example of what works—and what should be taken to more schools citywide.


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