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First Day Is longer day for some RCSD students

Rochester, N.Y.-- 10 year old Marcus Coney said his only concern about the longer school day was that he might get: "a little cranky" in the afternoon because he had to be to school an hour earlier Wednesday morning.

Marcus attends School Number 23 on Barrington Street. The school, which is Pre-k through 6, is one of 20 schools in the district offering an extended school day.

Students attend classes from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. That's an hour and a half more each day and 300 additional hours a year.

What are they getting in that extra time? More reading and writing time. At least two hours is spent each day on these subjects. There is also time for electives, including art, dance, technology. Students will visit museums, tour local colleges and the art gallery.

Principal Rhonda Morien said teachers agreed to work the longer day because they want to have more time to help students meet tougher state standards or Common Core.

Teacher Dan Hurley told us: "It's all about extra learning time for students. We have students who want to work hard, who want to be here. They embrace the extended day."

Morien said college is the focus for students at her school, even though for many, it's several years away. She said they work in conjunction with four colleges and the idea is to prepare children for the critical thinking skills and reading they will need to succeed in college.

That means being ahead of the curve when it comes to things like adopting the Common Core Standards. The school began incorporating the new curriculum a year ago and as a result said students performed better on state tests. The school averaged a proficiency rating of 30 percent, compared to an overall score of 5 percent for the Rochester City School District.

Morien said they couldn't meet all of these challenges without the support and help of parents and teachers, 95 percent of whom, voted to work a longer day.

Katie Traver told us she was a little nervous about a longer school day. Telling her parents: "I was like, it will be almost dark when we get home."

But Katie said she now realizes the extra learning time will pay off. She is thinking ahead to her future. She told 13 WHAM News: "I think I'm going to get a lot smarter from longer periods of the subject."

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Washington Times