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Jul 1, 2014 4:46 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Contemplates Accepting Grant To Extend School Day

Jul 2, 2014 10:10 AM

The Southampton School District has been approved for a $2.6 million state grant aimed to give students more time in school—and it is in the process of deciding whether to accept it.

The grant would mean increasing the number of school hours for elementary and intermediate school students by approximately 300 hours a year.

The offer is part of the Extended Learning Time initiative from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, which is dedicated to closing the achievement gap statewide in two core subjects, English language arts and math. The district would have the option of extending the school day—over 180 days, that would mean an additional hour and 40 minutes to each school day—or extending the school year to add the 300 hours. The grant would help cover the costs associated with the additional classroom time.

On Monday afternoon, District Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina released a statement to district parents calling for volunteers for a committee that would outline the pros and cons of the grant, which the district is under no obligation to accept.

“Prior to officially accepting the grant, our plan is to establish a committee of parents and teachers to study the viability of accepting the funds,” the statement reads. “At this time, we are asking for volunteers of parents with children entering kindergarten through grade eight this September, as well as [Southampton elementary and intermediate school] teachers, to serve on the committee.

“Until the district solicits the appropriate feedback, no decisions will be made to extend the school day at Southampton Elementary School or Southampton Intermediate School,” the statement says.

According to Dr. Nicholas Dyno, the assistant superintendent for instruction, the grant is a part of New York State’s effort to evaluate the traditional school day. The district would get $2,572,402 to expand the school day by at least 25 percent, an initiative that would be implemented for the September 2015 school year.

This week, Dr. Dyno said the district submitted the grant application last fall with sample schedules, all focused on extending the school day rather than the school year. He added, however, that nothing is final, and the district has several options.

“We are talking about forming this committee of parents and teachers to explore the best way this program could function, if we have one, and to see if it is even a viable option for our district,” Dr. Dyno said.

Currently, elementary school students are in school from 8:20 a.m. through 3:30 p.m., while intermediate school students are in class from 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. The district will consider the impact on students, teachers, and parents to adding time at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, at both ends, or not at all.

The first step in making a decision about the grant, Dr. Farina said, is to form a committee of dedicated community members. As of Tuesday morning, the district already had roughly five parents who were interested in the joining the committee. A date for the first meeting has not yet been set.

The other districts to receive grants are the Lackawanna City School District, which received $542,370; the Utica City School District, $4,104,000; the Yonkers School District, $3,149,620; the South Seneca Central School District, $735,420; the Auburn Enlarged City School District, $871,5000; the Syracuse City School District, $3,075,000; the East Ramapo Central School District. $1,293,500; and the New York City Department of Education, which received $7,601,326.

Anyone with more questions about the grant, or interested in joining the committee, should contact Dr. Farina at 591-4510, or Dr. Dyno at 591-4545.

“We want people who are interested in this issue and have something to add to the conversation,” Dr. Farina said. “We would like a nice cross-section of our community.”

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Can't see teachers supporting this - wonder how it fits in with their contracts.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 2, 14 11:23 AM
If the real goal is to close the achievement gap in math and English, the grant should be laser focused on kids struggling with those subjects through one to one tutoring, rather than be wasted on extra hours generally. Many kids do not need extra help. The ones who do would benefit greatly if given more individualized attention and support.
By moonpie (43), Southampton on Jul 2, 14 12:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
Cue the teacher complaints about there already long 6 hour days
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jul 2, 14 1:31 PM
Teachers work very hard.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Jul 3, 14 8:39 PM
1st step is to protest this crap! No mention of the proposed schedule in the article. SES would be 7:15-4:03. This is even for the Kindergardeners! Although the district does not have to include the Kindergardeners in this program. The district was forced to make a statement at this point because of all the negative chatter amongst parents & community members. This will go done in flames as it has in Kingston. Our children's childhood is not for sale!
By April1 (156), Southampton on Jul 2, 14 10:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
It’s Kindergarten, not Kindergarden...I think the school district is doing the right thing in seeking the opinion of its constituents and staff. No decision has been made, and why would they put out a schedule about something that they haven’t done their due diligence on? But go ahead and protest this crap. Shut it down before it takes root and starts to make sense.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jul 3, 14 9:48 AM
Maybe she's talking about young gardners? You never know...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 14 10:25 AM
There is not a possibility of this making sense. Let's see, does it make sense to: have kids go to school so early so that they don't have time to eat & get to have a buttered oroll for breakfast at school, go to school so early & get home so late that they never see the light of day, get home so late that it's too late to play outside after school, get out so late that after school activities are compromised for the children along with the local business that serve them, kids get on the bus at ...more
By April1 (156), Southampton on Jul 3, 14 1:14 PM
Does it make sense that the United States of America (greatest country on earth??) is at the bottom of first world countries when it comes to science and math?

Does it make sense that children in "foreign" countries are better English students than our own children (*cough* kindergarden *cough*)

Does it make sense that our graduation rates aren't consistently at 95% or above?

There are plenty of counter arguments to yours. I certainly don't support this without more ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 14 2:35 PM
As a parent, I have to say that I don't agree with this because of some of the same reasons April pointed out. For example a "typical" second grade kid today: gets up around 7 and is on the bus by 8, picked up at 3:15. Now for some kids it's tim for extras (karate, little legue, scouts, play dates whatever ), let's just say nothing is happening. Have a snack and some unwind time now your around 430 time for at least 30-60 minuet homework, 530 almost tim for dinner, 7ish unwind and reading time. ...more
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Jul 3, 14 8:38 PM
Pointing out what would be reality for our children on a daily basis is not short sighted. The US is behind China in adolescent suicide, should we try to catch up on this too? Your looking for more points that you can't shoot down. Great! Here are some more: if my child will not get home until 5pm , when are we fitting in swim lessons & cooking dinner? Should I start listing all of the children that have died of drowning in our district? How about piano lessons, the district does not provide ...more
By April1 (156), Southampton on Jul 4, 14 2:39 PM
The schedule is from the application. How do you think the state decides who gets the grant?
By April1 (156), Southampton on Jul 3, 14 12:35 PM
Just another initiative that was not presented to public before making decisions affecting our own children. This is how CC was sneaked in to our schools....perhaps the district should have asked the community PRIOR to applying for the grant if this idea was an experiment they wanted their children part of. Do first, ask permission later. The "committees" of parents/teachers/students will be a sham......
By CandaceGonzalez-Donin (1), Mastic, New York on Jul 7, 14 3:43 PM
1 member liked this comment