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State College Schools considering longer elementary school day

By: WJAC Web Staff

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- State College Area School District Elementary schools only have a six-hour and six-minute school day which is one of the shortest school days among schools in Pennsylvania.

The district has nine elementary schools and talks about adding more time into the day have been thrown around due to a wanted language program.

"When students graduate from our school did [we] prepare them for where they want to go?" said State College Area School District Superintendent Bob O'Donnell.

The superintendent said a language program could add up to 40 more minutes to the children's schedule for grades kindergarten through six.

This idea is in its early planning stage, and O'Donnell is meeting with top elementary administrators to discuss the options.

"There are clear benefits," said James Gingrich, who has a kid in the district. "It's becoming [a] more diverse culture [and] it would be good to get that in."

Gingrich said he could see positive and negative results due to the said changes and is worried it could be too much.

"You gotta let kids be kids," Gingrich said. "I know with sports it can make things hectic from school to quick dinner, now even quicker to practice [that] can add some stress."

Gingrich also said the change would not be made if parents do not support it.

O'Donnell wanted to ensure the extended school day has everything to do with the language program and nothing to do with testing.

The changes would not affect the length of the upper level grades, he said.

A proposal could be ready for the next school board meeting.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times