Some Washington, D.C. students will spend an extra month in class starting next year.
Ten elementary and middle schools will participate in an extended year program for the 2016-2017 school year, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday.
Raymond Education Center, a school in northwest Washington, served as a pilot site for the program this year.
Students at the participating schools will spend 200 days in class next year. D.C. Public Schools students currently spend 180 days in school per year. Classes will begin in early August and the school year won't end until mid-July.
Students also will have shorter winter and spring breaks. There will be an added week off in October, and there are two weeks called intercession, when coming to school is voluntary.
Intersession is "time to focus on interventions and support for our most struggling students," said Kaya Henderson, chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, at a press conference Wednesday. "One of the interesting tidbits about Raymond is that 96 percent of the kids are coming to intercession."
The following schools will participate in the extended-year program:
- Garfield Elementary School (Ward 8)
- H.D. Cooke Elementary School (Ward 1)
- Hart Middle School (Ward 8)
- Hendley Elementary School (Ward 8)
- Johnson Middle School (Ward 8)
- Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7)
- King Elementary School (Ward 8)
- Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7)
- Thomas Elementary School (Ward 7)
- Turner Elementary School (Ward 8)
"The students at these 10 schools will have more time in school to learn, grow and excel," Bowser said on Twitter Wednesday.
School leaders do not plan to expand the program to all schools, Henderson said. "It is not something that is going to be extended to all schools because not every school community wants or needs that," she said.
Reaction among students was, predictably, mixed. "When I first heard it I was like, 'Oh no, no,'" one student told News4.
"I think it's going to be good -- it will help our grades, because some people might need it," said another.
The cost of the extended year is about $5 million per year.
The Washington Teachers' Union, which represents D.C. teachers, said late Wednesday that it supported "extended learning" for students -- but that it was "vehemently opposed" to an extended-year plan imposed by the District without negotiation with the union.
“This should not be a debate over more versus less time, the statement reads. "It should be a collaboration focused on how we reinvent the current school day and year.”