ELIZABETH – Students at all of Elizabeth’s K-8 neighborhood schools will be in class longer every day this school year under a new plan to use a more rigorous class schedule to improve learning.
On Sept. 7, when Elizabeth Public Schools re-open, over 15,000 students at all K-8 neighborhood schools will attend classes from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. every day. The district is adding the “extended day” program at 12 schools this year to cover all K-8 schools.
Last year, students attended classes at certain neighborhood schools from 8:20 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Children will now attend school 1 hour and 35 minutes longer.
“This represents a major commitment to more rigorous classes and more learning opportunities for children,” Superintendent Pablo Muñoz said. “This is a new day in education in Elizabeth. Parents whose children have been through this extended day program at other schools love it because it really helps their children learn more. Students are better able to compete with other students from around the world who have already benefited by having more time in the classroom to learn.”
The move is part of the Elizabeth Board of Education’s Accelerating Excellence Plan, an extension of the “Keys to Excellence 2 Strategic Plan 2011-2016.”
Board Vice President Fernando Nazco stated, “We are proud of the growth in student achievement over the last five years. The new plan’s additional instructional time can only further enhance our students’ academic progress.”
Already, extended day programs are offered at a number of campuses through the strategic plan’s Blueprint II Initiative, but now, the Accelerating Excellence Plan will include all neighborhood K-8 schools.
The 12 additional schools announced for extended days for the 2011-12 school year include:
- Nicholas S. La Corte-Peterstown
- Joseph Battin
- Abraham Lincoln
- Christopher Columbus
- Robert Morris
- Woodrow Wilson
- John Marshall
- Nicholas Murray Butler
- Charles J. Hudson
- Dr. Antonia Pantoja
In addition to extending the school day, Elizabeth Public Schools recently announced the expansion of the already successful Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy. Massive upgrades are under way to existing schools. New supplies and technology await students as they return to class on Sept. 7.
These new programs will be paid for with additional funds received from the State of New Jersey. Recently the Elizabeth Board of Education received $81.8 million which is being used to fund the above initiatives as well as hire more teachers which will help reduce class size and raise the level of academic achievement throughout Elizabeth.
The district is also placing a heavy focus on leadership development, early literacy, aligning the curricula to the common core standards, advancing college readiness, targeting interventions, as well as providing key support for those students who are underachieving.
Elizabeth Public Schools is now one of the few districts in the nation that operates all of its schools on an extended day schedule.
“This is a game changer,” Muñoz said. “Every minute a teacher has with a student in the classroom is a way to accelerate excellence. We expect this extension of the school day to pay huge benefits for students as they focus on their studies longer every day with the help of a great teacher. Those students who fall behind get the time to catch up, and students who are already keeping up have a chance to excel and achieve at higher levels.”
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