George Lucas Educational Foundation

What do you think about Extended Day/School Year?

What do you think about Extended Day/School Year?

Related Tags: Community Bulletin Board
More Related Discussions
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

Locally, our District is finding there's often just simply not enough time in the school day to give kids all the stuff we want them to have- academics, "specials" art, music, handwriting, keyboarding, and more, let alone extra time for block scheduling and recess! There are always concerns about making sure there's adequate time for after school activities as well, plus home life, homework, and more. One of the "simple" answers would to be consider extending the academic day or extended the school year.

In many other countries, a longer school year and longer school day is more of the norm than it is in the US.

What do you think? Is an extended school day or school year a good idea? Is it feasible? What would have to happen to make it work? Would it help working families by reducing daycare/after care expenses while increasing learning? Would it simply burn teachers and kids out?

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

Comments (10) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Our school day is absolutely too short. When teachers have to choose between science OR social studies in a given day, they don't have enough time.

I'm generally in favor of more school, but I'm not particularly in favor of more school as it currently exists. A longer day or year where we just do more of the same thing is probably a waste of time.

Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

We had this conversation back in December on #PTchat (archive here >>

As a parent, I could not support a longer day if it means simply adding on an additional hour more of them sitting in a chair being lectured to. I would want more hands on, creating, collaborating. Maximize those minutes. How can they learn more than what's in the text book? See the problem through someone else's eyes? Work with others not only in their physical classroom - but around the world. Learning in a way that is not only inspirational to them - but in a way that they retain the information...not simply memorize an answer for the next test.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I agree with you both, Dan & Gwen- If we could fit more project based learning, "specials" or other things to enhance the curriculum, I'm all for it. More of the same, maybe not so much. But I hate to see kids not getting access to everything from Home Ec to Shop to Gym in the name of the curriculum, and ending up really good test takers, but pretty lost as to what life's all about in the bigger picture.
That's brings up an additional question- what do we think school's responsibility is to help teach things like cooking, sewing, engineering, etc. and how much of that is stuff should be getting at home or during the summer? Are we simply adding too much into the "School should handle this" column overall?

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

I taught in a boarding school for a few years and found their schedule made a lot of sense. Academics were balanced with athletics, not just competitive teams but everyone was required to have some movement everyday. Study time and tutoring time we're built into each day as well. That's the kind of extended day I could get behind. As others have said, I couldn't get on board with more of what we currently have

Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Whitney...I don't feel that it is the school (as in teachers) responsibility to teach life skills necessarily - but the community as a whole. It would be wonderful if we could say "skills a, b and c are to be taught at home," but realistically we cannot. We can choose not to worry about them at all, but not only does that not benefit the kids...the community as a whole loses out. This is where I feel "it takes a village" comes into play. We all need to do what we can, when we can to ensure that ALL children regardless of what they have (or don't have) access to outside of school, receive a quality education and can be productive contributors to our society.

Laura...balance is important. One of the things I think I love the most about learning from educators that are either in Finland such as Tim Walker @timdwalk) and Tiina Korhonen (@tiinakorhone), or those visiting/observing, such as the Univ of Penn, #PennFinn13 group led by Joe Mazza (@joe_mazza), was how the schools valued classroom studies, clubs, sports and play equally. Too often, I think we see it as one or another.

AndrewDWarner's picture
Parent of 2 primary school children in Canberra, Australia

There is always more to do. I don't think continually jamming more into a child's day is in their best interests.
As adults we're constantly struggling to find balance in our lives. We tend to overwork and under-live. Now we're giving our kids those same bad habits-long hours and work taken hom. Why? What exactly do they get out of knowing more "stuff?" When is enough stuff enough stuff and when can they fit in the critical unstructured play?
I think it's a bad idea. It would ingrain bad life habits in the kids, I can't see any tangible benefits arising from it for the kids and it is a "solution" to a teachers' and parents' problem; on the one hand teachers managing a tight plan and on the other parents spending too much time at work.

midmathteacher's picture
Eighth grad math

I find so many children, especially those from lower income households, have difficulty relating to problems in context, because they have had so little exposure to experiential learning. It would be hugely beneficial for kids to have exposure to cultural, natural/environmental and civics related activities in addition to classroom based activities. Of course this takes funding that public schools just don't have.

Angel Cintron Jr.'s picture
Angel Cintron Jr.
Seventh grade social studies teacher from Washington, D.C.

My genuine reservation about extending the school day is that, without adequate or meaningful investments, the policy of "extension" will fall well short of its intended goal. Subsequently, it may inevitably lead to higher rates of teacher churn, and higher rates of student suspensions. Therefore, before "we" extend the school day, "we" must first enrich the current system. Simply extending the school day, while ignoring the significant challenges low SES urban public middle schools face, will exacerbate the problems, and not reduce them. Again, we don't need longer school days; we simply need smarter ones.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

These are great points. I think it all cbecomes about balancing what we "expect" schools to do, and then trying to find time to make these goals a reality. For example, during an enrichment period in our middle school, it started out as a rather lame version of project oriented learning (non-inquiry driven, just "We're all going to make books about the Planets! sort of thing.) But I have always looked at this time as time that would be better served teachign kids more explicitly about how to learn and study, as there are tons of skills we expect kids to have by the end of middle school or the beginning of high school that are part of the "hidden curriculum"- how to take good notes, how to review and study well for a test, how to figure out what a teacher thinks is important, etc. We would do every kid a service by teaching these skills more explicitly along with the curriculum, rather than penalizing them with bad grades when the real problem may not be comprehension, but things like organization and time management.

Adam Fort's picture
Adam Fort
Touch typing enthusiast and educator

Extended day can be used for personal development. Extra hours can be used for cooking classes or typing classes.
Skills like touch typing will be useful a whole life. Introduce services like Ratatype to kids where they can type, pass a test and get a certificate (

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.