Community News Schools __Featured Slider — 08 October 2012
Officials say longer days at Jefferson-Houston will boost test scores

By Melissa Quinn

School board members extended the school day at Jefferson-Houston by 90 minutes with a 6-2 vote September 27, more than a month after another round of disappointing Standards of Learning test results.

Administrators initially pushed to implement the longer school day for teachers starting Monday and students later this month, but the plan instead will go into effect November 7. Pupils at the preK-8 school can expect to spend more time in the classroom four days a week. Teachers will utilize additional time on the fifth day for professional development and student assessment.

Though board members voiced concerns about the measure’s $600,000 price tag, Alexandria City Public Schools staff said state aid covers the cost. Board members Ronnie Campbell and Mimi Carter voted against the proposal.

Despite repeated attempts to reach them, neither Carter, who is not seeking re-election, nor Campbell, who is nearly assured another term on the board, would comment on their vote before the Times’ deadline.

After the votes were cast, Jefferson-Houston Principal Rosalyn Rice-Harris rose in excitement, praising the board.

“Thank you very much,” she said. “We’re excited — thank you.”

As for teachers, the majority supported the move, according to an anonymous survey Rice-Harris distributed to her staff of 60 educators. The questionnaire asked whether they believed the extra time would be used wisely.
Of the 51 returned, 38 teachers believed the extra time was beneficial, with 13 disagreeing.

“They may not love it, but we’re accepting of it,” Rice-Harris told the board.

Unhappy teachers have the option to switch to a different school, said Superintendent Morton Sherman. As yet, not a single teacher has requested a transfer, he said.

Teachers will receive an hourly salary for the extra classroom time.

School officials began pushing for the extended day after Jefferson-Houston was labeled as a “priority” school based on SOL scores.

For the 2011-12 school year, 60 percent of students passed the English SOLs, a decline of 7-percentage points from 2010-2011. In mathematics, just 35 percent passed, and only 56 percent of students passed the state test’s writing portion.

Despite longstanding reform efforts by district officials, the school faces losing accreditation from Virginia’s Board of Education. Jefferson-Houston received accreditation with warning last year, but the board will review that status at a meeting this month.Rich Text AreaToolbarBold (Ctrl + B)Italic (Ctrl + I)Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D)Unordered list (Alt + Shift + U)Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O)Blockquote (Alt + Shift + Q)Align Left (Alt + Shift + L)Align Center (Alt + Shift + C)Align Right (Alt + Shift + R)Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A)Unlink (Alt + Shift + S)Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)Toggle spellchecker (Alt + Shift + N)▼
Toggle fullscreen mode (Alt + Shift + G)Show/Hide Kitchen Sink (Alt + Shift + Z)Add NextGEN GalleryInsert Poll
FormatFormat▼
UnderlineAlign Full (Alt + Shift + J)Select text color▼
Paste as Plain TextPaste from WordRemove formattingInsert custom characterOutdentIndentUndo (Ctrl + Z)Redo (Ctrl + Y)Help (Alt + Shift + H)

By Melissa Quinn
School board members extended the school day at Jefferson-Houston by 90 minutes with a 6-2 vote September 27, more than a month after another round of disappointing Standards of Learning test results.
Administrators initially pushed to implement the longer school day for teachers starting Monday and students later this month, but the plan instead will go into effect November 7. Pupils at the preK-8 school can expect to spend more time in the classroom four days a week. Teachers will utilize additional time on the fifth day for professional development and student assessment.
Though board members voiced concerns about the measure’s $600,000 price tag, Alexandria City Public Schools staff said state aid covers the cost. Board members Ronnie Campbell and Mimi Carter voted against the proposal.
Despite repeated attempts to reach them, neither Carter, who is not seeking re-election, nor Campbell, who is nearly assured another term on the board, would comment on their vote before the Times’ deadline.
After the votes were cast, Jefferson-Houston Principal Rosalyn Rice-Harris rose in excitement, praising the board.
“Thank you very much,” she said. “We’re excited — thank you.”
As for teachers, the majority supported the move, according to an anonymous survey Rice-Harris distributed to her staff of 60 educators. The questionnaire asked whether they believed the extra time would be used wisely.
Of the 51 returned, 38 teachers believed the extra time was beneficial, with 13 disagreeing.
“They may not love it, but we’re accepting of it,” Rice-Harris told the board.
Unhappy teachers have the option to switch to a different school, said Superintendent Morton Sherman. As yet, not a single teacher has requested a transfer, he said.
Teachers will receive an hourly salary for the extra classroom time.
School officials began pushing for the extended day after Jefferson-Houston was labeled as a “priority” school based on SOL scores.
For the 2011-12 school year, 60 percent of students passed the English SOLs, a decline of 7-percentage points from 2010-2011. In mathematics, just 35 percent passed, and only 56 percent of students passed the state test’s writing portion.
Despite longstanding reform efforts by district officials, the school faces losing accreditation from Virginia’s Board of Education. Jefferson-Houston received accreditation with warning last year, but the board will review that status at a meeting this month.
Path:

Related Articles

Share

About Author

(0) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*