Spokane elementary schools plan for extended days

Spokane elementary schools plan for extended days

Spokane K through 6th graders will be in school an extra half hour starting next school year. The move has been in the works for a year and will catch local elementary schools up with other school schedules in the state.

So how will it benefit your child? Depending on the elementary school, it can be one of many things. Every school got to choose what they wanted to devote more time to.

Come fall, when there’s an extra 30 minutes in the school day, Madison Elementary students will get more time for the arts.

Bambi Howe is a kindergarten teacher at Madison. Her class is about to get a whole lot more musical.

“Right now they do have experience with art each week, but it’s taught by Ms. Bambi, not necessarily an art specialist,” Howe said.

Each of the 35 schools in the district got to choose which subject they felt students would benefit from with more time. The Spokane Public School District is hiring 50 new teachers to disperse amongst the schools according to the subject they choose.

“We had a wide range of options, everything from art to science to perhaps math,” said Madison Elementary School Principal Shellye Horowitz.

Horowitz says a committee looked at the students’ needs and asked for feedback from parents. While Madison chose arts and technology, the district reports that about 2/3 of the schools chose to go the science route.

“The district really left it open for us to explore and see what the needs and desires were at each school site,” said Horowitz.

Horowitz says the only concern she’s heard is from parents who worry about their child’s attention span.

“There has been a little hesitancy, mostly from parents of younger students, when it comes to a longer school day because it’s something new, it’s something they haven’t experienced yet,” said Horowitz.

She thinks if it’s done right the students shouldn’t notice.

What still hasn’t been determined is if the extra time will make for an earlier school day or a later school day. The district says they’re working with transportation right now to coordinate that time with the bus schedules. That should be determined by March.