LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County School Board members decided tonight to extend hours at four Lee County schools.
Students at Colonial Elementary and Franklin Park Elementary will get out at 3:10 instead of 2:10, Manatee Elementary students will be dismissed at 4:10 instead of 3:10, and Harns Marsh students will be in school until 4:20 instead of 3:50.
The changes will take effect in January when students return from winter break, and would last the rest of the school year.
Federal grant money would fund the extra hour, including transportation costs.
Katherine Powers' son goes to Franklin Park Elementary. She likes the extra class time. "I think its a great opportunity for the kids, with their FCAT scores last year this will give them a chance to learn a little extra, tutor a little extra, hopefully raise their scores," shes says. "It really helps me out as a mother, a working mother, it's an extra hour that I don't have to worry about after care or childcare or paying a babysitter so it's a good thing for a lot of parents too."
Charles Luckey, Franklin Park Principal, is excited about the idea. He says, "it's a beautiful opportunity for our school, it's an opportunity for some extended learning time for our students.
He says his students had the extra time last year, and it made a big difference. "Our final results for FCAT showed that extended period of time really was very beneficial to us. Where are there learning gaps? And our intent for that extended day is to fill those gaps and give students what they need. We saw a 76 point gain in FCAT scores last year because of the extended time and that's almost unheard of, so we expect some of the same gains this year," he says.