Twenty minutes of teaching time will be added to every school day in Hopewell, after the City's School Board voted to make District-wide changes effective September 2013.
The Hopewell School Board also approved an additional day to the school's calendar, bringing the total number of school days to 180. Virginia mandates districts to have 180 days or 990 hours of class time, an hourly figure Hopewell officials said the District exceeds.
Carter G. Woodson Middle School will join Hopewell High School and begin block scheduling in September. Superintendent Dr. John Fahey said 20 extra minutes will equate to 10 extra teaching days throughout the year, and more classroom time will make block scheduling more effective.
"To do block scheduling right, you need 90 minute classes," Fahey said in an interview Thursday. "And at the High School we were going less than that, 83 to 85 minutes."
The Middle School will also have time for a new period, one designed to help students who struggle with certain subjects.
"It will be called an intervention period," Fahey said. "We want a period for our kids who need extra help, and extra mediation. And a period for kids who can extend their learning and get enrichment."
The Middle School will start almost an hour later, enacted because of research suggesting older students function more effectively later in the day. The new start time will be 8:30 a.m., pushed back from the present bell at 7:40 a.m.
Fahey said he wished he could have pushed the High School time back, but was unable to because of bus schedules. Hopewell High School students will begin at 8:00 a.m., ten minutes earlier than at present. All three Hopewell elementary schools will both start and end earlier.
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