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Oct 3, 2014 11:44 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Rejects Proposal, And State Grant,To Extend School Day After Parents Express Concerns

Oct 8, 2014 11:15 AM

The Southampton Board of Education voted on Tuesday night to reject a $2.6 million state grant that would have extended the school year for elementary and intermediate students by 300 hours, most likely by expanding the typical school day.

The decision came less than a week after the district hosted a community forum at which several parents spoke against accepting the grant, citing concerns about whether students would be able to handle spending so much time in the classroom, and whether a longer school day—as much as an hour and 40 minutes longer—would detract from time with family and friends.

At the meeting on Tuesday night, several School Board members shared their own concerns with the community, saying an extended day program would take considerable resources to implement by next year, and expressing doubts that the program could be sustained after the grant expires two years from now.

Instead, board members say they will spend the next several months focusing on ways to close the achievement gap between groups of students within the district, relative to other districts, by taking advantage of the resources the district already has.

“This made me very concerned,” School Board President Heather McCallion said of the grant. “I feel that we need our top administrators to be focused on our students now, and I don’t think I want to put off for a year what we can be accomplishing this year.”

The $2.6 million grant is part of the Extended Learning Time initiative from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, and is dedicated to closing achievement gaps across the state. At the community forum last week, Dr. Nicholas Dyno, the assistant superintendent for instruction, said the district was eligible for the grant based on its socioeconomic makeup and on recent state test scores. If the district had accepted the grant, it would have been used to expand instruction in English language arts and mathematics.

Board members had a roughly half-hour discussion on Tuesday night, before voting 6-1, with Robert Hunter dissenting, in favor of rejecting the grant. Key concerns among board members were having kids spend so much time in the classrooms and whether the schedule changes would be sustainable once the grant expires in two years. Now, the district will look for other ways to expand the amount of time students spend actually learning, with District Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina saying the concept of extending the school day is solid, just not the right fit at the moment.

“Having a longer day does still have some appeal,” Dr. Farina said. “If we could say spend an extra hour here, and your students will come home free and clear, that is appealing to some people. The idea of extending the day is not a bad idea—this grant just has too many strings attached to it.”

At a community forum last week, district officials and an independent specialist, Michael Selkis of the National Center on Time and Learning, had few answers for concerned parents who wanted to know exactly what their children’s day would look like should the district accept the grant. The specialist and officials said those questions would be answered as the district moved through its “evaluation phase” over the next few months.

“I think that the lack of specific data on how to extend the school day by an hour and 45 minutes in one year, and how that will affect student achievement—there is just not a lot of data out there,” Dr. Farina said. “That was what this grant was for, to see how it does affect student achievement. The other thing is the sustainability, I am worried about that. For some grants, the sustainability piece is built into it, but that did not turn out to be the case with this grant.”

If the district had accepted the grant, the amount of time students spent in school would have increased by 300 hours a year over the course of 180 days, meaning adding an hour and 40 minutes to each school day, or extending the school year later into June.

“We are looking for opportunities for the district,” Dr. Dyno said last week. “We wanted to come up with ways to improve test scores, wanted to come up with a way to provide enrichment during the school day, and we wanted students to be able to make choices and get all of the opportunities we have to offer without taking away from our core academics.”

Last week, many district parents spoke against the grant, saying that while the district needs to find ways to improve education, extending the day was not the way to do it.

One parent, Robert Herrmann, expressed his concern about the proposal, saying it seemed to be based on centering the students’ entire lives on the school district. He said his family barely had enough time as it is to balance school, after-school soccer, family time and all of the work teachers are now requesting after school hours.

“This sounds like an approach that becomes very centered around the school and the district, but this is a big community,” he said. “Where in God’s name do you think you are going to extract another two hours from this kid’s life?”

“The status quo for Southampton needs to change,” Dr. Farina had said at the community forum. “We can do better, and looking at every opportunity for how we can educate our kids better is our responsibility. We are not going to force this down anyone’s throats, but this is just one discussion.”

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This is like the merger--district officials will keep scheduling hearings until they can pack one with supporters and then go forward with the plan because "the people" want it. Take a vote now and be done with this dopey idea.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Oct 3, 14 12:40 PM
It should be a vote! That came up at the meeting...but according to the district guys it will be a board decision!
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 2:25 PM
The usual parents who complain that little Johnny isn't being educated properly now have an opportunity for more education, and don't want it. They think merging with Tuckahoe will help their children, but more time with teachers isn't practical fot their busy schedules. Any parent would want more education not these geniuses.
By chief1 (2783), southampton on Oct 3, 14 12:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Again - you show your ignorance Chief...how is spending close to 9 hours in a classroom at 6 years old - going to help close a gap? Hmm? It won't. I can state this with so much certainty because I am a parent. I have a child IN THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT. Let me lay something for you 7:15-4:08 in school. You are six, seven, eight years old. You get ONE recesses ONE. and it lasts just 1/2 an hour (this includes the time it takes to get to recess and get back to class...so safe side lets say its 20 minutes. ...more
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 2:24 PM
Sorry to call you out on this. But the extra almost 2 hours a day will not be for educational purposes, because the teachers will not work a minute longer than their contract calls for. And there will be no additional hiring. "Community collaborators", whatever the heck that is, will fill the time. It is all political show, not educational opportunity.
By East End 2 (150), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 6:47 PM
I have to agree with you here chief. Poland spring, there is flexibility as far as how it's done, it doesn't have to be the same across the board, it can be age appropriate, perhaps a half an hour longer in the early grades. It would be a really great thing to keep 6th and 7th graders in school more, at an age where their hormones and poor judgment seem to come to the forefront and they think their friends know more than their parents! Learning is a much better use of their time than what most ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 10:27 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By East End 2 (150), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 7:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
Some people need to work.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 8:31 AM
The point is you are asking the entire family to get up earlier so the kid can catch the bus or be dropped off earlier. Picked up or dropped off later. Kids will be going to school In the dark and coming home in the dark. Spending 9 hours in school with 1/2 an recess and 1/2 an hr lunch. It's cruel. And the middle schoolers only get lunch. It's too long. I'm sorry. And the crap about middle schoolers needing to spend more time with school because they aren't listening to their parents...well I can ...more
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 8:36 AM
ELT is the way the government gets around child labor laws just have the kids work in school longer and allows the govt to control our children for a longer period of time each day. Corporations such as Pearson see $ signs with each child that has to take one of it's many tests. Don't know any parent that wants this, many parents will pull their children out of the district all together. 2 hrs more of common core is downright torture for our kids.
By April1 (156), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 4:00 PM
3 members liked this comment
April, I've heard you at the meetings and on these boards. As a parent, I have to wonder why you would keep your child in a school that you clearly despise.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 10:41 PM
So the kids would be getting out at rush hour late in the afternoon? That is going to create havoc on these small roads each time the buses stop to drop off kids. The rush hour will also slow down the time it takes to get the kids home. Also, these kids will be getting out of school when its dark out, adding to the risk on the road and for children walking home or crossing roads. Will there be more costs involved to keep the school bus drivers around longer? The timing of this is suspect in light ...more
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Oct 3, 14 7:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
'Suspicious parking lot bus stops ' so you don't like individual house pick ups and you don't like communal picks ups. Okay how about all the kids be dropped off by parents. Course that would cause traffic in the village that would make you unhappy. Oh wait. It would be at 6:55 in the morning!!!!! You would still be asleep. How nice for you.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 8:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
So many people complain that the school district isn't any good. I don't agree, I think any school is only as good as the educational support the kids get from their families at home. If a kid wants and can handle higher level learning in high school, it's available. The fact that so few people take advantage of it is astounding. But because there is a huge lack of parental involvement in many of our east end schools, a longer school day for the majority of the kids would be beneficial, with ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 10:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Since you seem to be so involved you would already know that our district already meets the definition of having Extended Learning Time according the The National Center on Time and Learning.
By April1 (156), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 11:04 PM
April, I just went to their website and not only does Southampton clearly NOT meet their criteria for having Extended Learning Time, there is a database that lists schools that do meet the criteria and Southampton is not on that list. I did find the following on their website:
"Not only does more time allow for longer class periods in which students can examine topics in greater depth, but expanded-time schools are also able to set aside whole periods each day to focus on small-group instruction ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 11:52 PM
The list is outdated and set to be updated in the next two months. Looks like you need to do a better job researching. Note the large discrepancy in time these schools are in session-under 7hrs to almost 10hrs/day and none of them were awarded as a blue ribbon school this past week.
By April1 (156), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 8:06 AM
I don't really care what the definition is, their scores and progress in the high school clearly indicate that the majority of the kids either need more parental involvement or more time in the classroom. The district can't force the parental involvement, but realize that the kids need more time in the classroom.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 3, 14 11:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Finally Lamm and I agree on something. This should be a non mandatory program. Then you will see what parents are serious about education , and they can no longer blame the faculty.
By chief1 (2783), southampton on Oct 4, 14 8:04 AM
The grant is very specific, it is mandatory, a parent can't opt their child out. It's for all the children in the building. That is part of the reason Kingston withdrew their application is because it is mandatory for all students.
By April1 (156), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 8:11 AM
There is the option of extending the school year as well. Look at this year's calendar. Between Dec 20th and April 11th school is closed for more than a month (2 weeks for Christmas, a week+ for Spring Recess and a week for Mid Winter Recess). That's a full month off in less than 4 months. During those breaks, most kids are home, many parents are working, it's completely unproductive time, plus these big breaks in learning set the kids back. It's also feasible to keep them in school a week or ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 4, 14 10:19 AM
There can be no mistaking how the community and the district feels about this. Should the board represent the community in earnest, they will refuse the grant.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 4, 14 9:17 AM
Mr Luss, tell us more. Explain to all of us on the EE how this will affect our families.
By Woods woman (143), East hampton on Oct 6, 14 10:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm in the book.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 7, 14 8:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why does the community matter Kevin? We had a straw vote for amerger with Tuckahoe, and it was over whelmingly denied. Now we will have another, and another until this clueless board gets the idea of no new taxes. April I think your right about one thing this is big business trying to push more education. Probably so students learn, and become more intelligent rather than burdens on taxpayer.
By chief1 (2783), southampton on Oct 4, 14 6:17 PM
I can't think of anything that matters more than the opinion of the district and local, year round community it serves.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 4, 14 7:31 PM
These big businesses don't want more education they want more control and more money. Common core is the dumbing down of our education system. There was only one mathematician on the common core validation committee, James Milgram. He refused to sign off on the the common core curriculum. Look it up on YouTube. At best common core will prepare our children for a 2 yr college not a 4 yr college. Is that in the best interest of our kids? Common core is setting us up to be worker bees, the children ...more
By April1 (156), Southampton on Oct 5, 14 10:33 AM
For Gods sake please don't listen to the worlds most successful person. You of course know much better lol. I'm sure Bill Gates kids are way more advanced than common core
By chief1 (2783), southampton on Oct 6, 14 2:59 PM
many children are more advanced then common core, therefore the word "common". The curriculum is made for the masses not for the special needs or advanced placement children. No comment on John King huh? Good for thee but not for me.
By Apri1 (8), Southampton on Oct 14, 14 1:29 PM
That's pretty funny, I'm not a fan of common core either, but most parents don't like it because its too challenging!
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 5, 14 12:24 PM
slow down people. tuckahoe failed for one reason, a 30 year board member. Take the Tuckahoe kids with well coming arms as each child is a part of southampton. Use the Tuckahoe buildings for Pre-K and maybe K and first grades and maybe administrative office. Plenty of options there. Perhaps the parents should look to the European countries which have school year round with several scheduled vacation and teach many languages especially engliogh to all students. These students are WAY ahead of ...more
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Oct 6, 14 6:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sorry we are not Europe. In Europe the parents teach discipline, and the kids learn manners. You say common core sucks, but does anyone have a better idea or is it business as usual?
By chief1 (2783), southampton on Oct 7, 14 8:28 AM
The 30 year board member has been a committed person to the district and children who wants to see only the best for his neighborhood school. He has no hidden agendas. Stop blaming the Board for the actions of the administartion who hide behind the curtains and are running the show.
By DottyLomo (4), on Oct 6, 14 11:26 PM
I have a better idea Chief, parent reform. I can't say that I'm thrilled with all teachers, but most are good and do their job. Despite spending the same or more hours in the classroom than other top countries, despite all the money we throw at the schools, our children are trailing behind other countries. Before international students take even more of our top college seats, perhaps it's time to stop blaming the schools. The children with parents who are involved in their education are doing ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 7, 14 9:33 AM
Chief you are always negative and make really silly comments . This is a horrible idea . How about we find a grant to educate the people who think they know it all and don't ? It's ridiculous to even think this will help our kids and community. How will it help my kids who are all above 95 average ? These are my kids and the state needs to stay out of my life more. Too many rules .
By BeNice (1), Southampton on Oct 7, 14 4:55 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By chief1 (2783), southampton on Oct 8, 14 8:33 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Oct 7, 14 9:06 PM
a clear rebuke to the administration . . .another weasel deal exposed. Next chore: find a new superintendent and reject the merger he is shamelessly pushing for so he can get a higher salary and a bigger office.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Oct 7, 14 9:09 PM
Yesssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 7, 14 9:55 PM
All the hard work paid off! The BOE should have realized this from the start and so should have the Grant Writer.
Roberta Hunter was the only "no" vote. She is up for reelection next spring.
By Hamptons Seashell (34), Southampton on Oct 7, 14 10:26 PM
Yes!
By April1 (156), Southampton on Oct 7, 14 11:08 PM
Good job! Too much at risk here...think about it. My kid will be long gone so Good Luck! I will keep checking in.!
By Woods woman (143), East hampton on Oct 7, 14 11:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Southampton SD BOE voted down the Extended Time Learning grant at Tuesday night's meeting, October 7th, by a 6-1 vote of the trustees. Roberta Hunter was the desenting vote. She is up for reelection in the spring.
Thank you for doing the right thing for our children and our community.
By Hamptons Seashell (34), Southampton on Oct 8, 14 12:53 AM
Finally they are doing something right. The extended day plan was fraught with problems and would have cost a fortune once the grant ran out. Now if they just reject putting the merger forward, they might stand a chance of improving the education being offered at the school.
By localcitizen (108), Southampton on Oct 8, 14 8:07 AM
2 members liked this comment
So whats the ultimate solution to fix the schools? Lets not keep them in school longer because its inconvenient. The teachers would have to work more. Its expensive? The expense argument is hilarious since there is no bounds to school spending.

Do you kick this down the road for another generation until these pols are out of office and your kids are not in school there anymore?
By Baymen87 (133), Lugoff, SC on Oct 8, 14 8:49 AM
Wow. Congratulations to the school board. You listened to the community and respected their input. Too bad other boards in this town are not as responsive to the stakeholders, even when presented with upwards of 800 signatures opposing the housing project in Tuckahoe.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Oct 8, 14 12:40 PM
In my opinion, the entire BOE and Superintendent deserve our gratitude and appreciation for the outcome of this vote. The gloating and negativity from people who received their desired result is unseemly.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 8, 14 4:46 PM
LOL...
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Oct 8, 14 5:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Gratitude?!!! Seriously? For what? The administration and BOE should be ashamed of themselves for even considering such a program. Their plan was never to have public input and when they voted they didn't even have the courage to say the real reasons they are voting against this grant. Time for BOE overhaul.
By Apri1 (8), Southampton on Oct 14, 14 1:35 PM
It's too bad that all of the hurdles and organization needed to implement this grant weren't thought about before it was applied for. Now it just looks like the district turned down a lot of money in a time when cuts are apparent and doing more with less is inevitable. Why can't we ever consider creative solutions to great problems? Saying no to the grant was not a solution, it was just silly. Creative people make things happen and make it good for everybody. I don't agree that 7 people should ...more
By peacemaker (23), Sag Harbor on Oct 8, 14 6:01 PM
The obvious solution is to get rid of all the teachers who are members of the teachers union. They are never going to do a minute's more work than they absolutely have to.
By SHPredatorDept (72), Southampton on Oct 9, 14 12:52 PM
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