FL Lawmakers Push Longer Day, More Reading in Schools

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PANAMA CITY - State lawmakers are asking Gov. Rick Scott to sign a bill they say will help some of Florida's low-performing schools. It would require students at about 200 schools to attend an extra hour of reading each day.

If Gov. Scott approves, up to 300 Florida elementary schools will add an hour of class a day this fall. Teachers would use time to teach reading. During the last 2 school years, students at 100 schools with low FCAT reading scores had to extend their day by an hour.

Linda Pitts with the Bay District Schools said, "Schools would fall into the lowest preforming category if they are not showing increased levels of proficiency and increased learning gains."

In the 2012-2013 school year, Springfield Elementary School was one of those schools. The school adopted an extra hour of clas a day, and instructors also adopted a new reading program. A year later, all the adjustments seemed to work out.

Pitts said, "We saw dramatic improvements in the students learning proficiencies and their learning gains as well. The beginning of this school year, Springfield Elementary came off of that 100 lowest preforming schools list because they improved their grade dramatically."

More than 70% of the schools that implemented the longer day 2-years ago saw improvements for the the percentage of students reading at grade level.

About the time Springfield Elementary came off the list, Oscar Patterson Elementary School replaced it.

Lawmakers are asking Gov. Scott to increase the number of schools receiving help from 100 to 300.

Schools will find out in July if they'll be adding an extra hour of reading.