Schools in Metro innovation zone have extra days in class - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Schools in Metro innovation zone have extra days in class


As Metro Nashville Public Schools considers adding days to the school year, students in some of the district's neediest schools are already getting more time and attention.

The regular school calendar includes two weeks for fall break and two weeks for spring break. During those breaks, students can choose to be a part of voluntary intersessions.

However, for seven Metro schools, those breaks will only last one week. And, instead of an intersession, there will be mandatory class time to offer different approaches to learning math and science.

Leaders at Napier Elementary School are hoping the extra attention helps build upon the gains they have made over the past two years.

"We have momentum. Success breeds success," said Napier Principal Dr. Ronald Powe.

Part of the formula for success has meant longer school hours and flexibility that comes with being in the so-called "innovation zone," where Metro's worst performing schools get more tools to help speed up achievement.

"When you have students - especially students in high poverty, high minority schools - they benefit from increased learning time when that time is well spent," said Gay Burden, with Metro Schools.

And the district will look at data to see whether or not those eight extra school days are having an impact.

"It's not just focusing on the quantity of that time. It's about the quality of that time," Burden said.

Powe said he is a huge fan of the extra days, believing the change will really help his students who often don't have enrichment time at home.

"Our children are the kind of children that really need more education, not less," Powe said. "I'm excited about the extra eight days, and I will be pushing to get more in years to come."

The schools received federal grants to pay for the extra schools days, which are expected to cost about $1 million.

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