Extending the State College Area elementary school day awaits feasibility reviews before additional discussion

mmorgan@centredaily.comMarch 3, 2014 

The State College Area School District administration is continuing to look into the possibility of extending the elementary school day and could bring some information to the school board by April or May.

Superintendent Bob O’Donnell had a public conversation with the board at its meeting Monday to start the process, saying they will revisit the topic then address it with the elementary community in the fall.

“Before we have any outward discussion with our elementary community, we want to see if this is even possible,” he said, referencing feasibility issues with transportation and the size of the district.

The proposal would not include any cuts to current programs and could provide teachers extra time to work with world language or other educational opportunities, he said.

State College has the shortest elementary day of Centre County’s five school districts at six hours and six minutes. Other districts range from six hours and 30 minutes to seven hours and 20 minutes.

Board member Jim Leous said he likes the idea of adding opportunities for world language because he has found that it’s beneficial in expanding knowledge of English.

“I’m a big believer in the fact that you learn a lot more about your own language when you take someone else’s language and learn it,” he said. “It’s very helpful.”

But before the district is even able to have a conversation about how the additional time would be used, board member Scott Fozard said they must have more conversations about the feasibility.

He said the primary concern needs to be about the extension before they can move to the questions about programming. The time could be used for language or for an additional focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, among other options, he said.

O’Donnell said the administration will go over more in-depth plans about future steps the next time the board talks about the issue.

Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.

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