School Officials Consider Extra Hour

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BAY COUNTY-- Bay District School officials are devising plans to improve performance at 4 schools that received "F" grades last week. The state will most likely require students at those schools to take an extra hour of reading each day.

Negotiators for Bay District School and the Association of Bay County Educators [ABCE] are back at the bargaining table, discussing a new contract for the upcoming school year. One of the bargaining points is the extra time teachers will be require to spend on students at some of the district's lower-performing schools, both sides agree on several points. Neither are happy with the district's most recent elementary and middle school grades.

5 schools got C's, 10 schools got D's and 4 schools failed. "There is no doubt that no one is satisfied with the grades of Bay District," Bay District Schools Negotiator Pat Martin said. "Teachers are certainly concerned and disappointed with school grades. We work hard and for this to be the result, it was disappointing," Chief ABCE Negotiator Cynthia Fowler said.

District officials believe they can improve student performance by providing more instruction time.

The teachers' current contract calls for 5 hours of student contact a day. The district wants to increase that time to 6 hours.

The teacher negotiators argue it's not the quantity of time, but the quality. Fowler said, "It doesn't necessary have to be extra time in the classroom, it should be what's going on in the classroom."

Both sides also seem to agree, something has to happen during that extra hour for student performance to improve.

Fowler said, "They think this is the magic bullet we are not convinced." Martin adds, "There is no guarantee that this is going to automatically increase every schools grade, but again I don't think there is any one single thing that will do that."

The extra hour of instruction has had mixed results. Springfield Elementary's school grade did not improve. Patterson Elementary's grade did improve.