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20 Middle Schools to Get Longer School Days, DOE Says

By Alan Neuhauser | April 29, 2013 5:31pm

NEW YORK — Twenty city public schools will implement longer school days for thousands of high-need students across the city as part of a pilot program this fall, the Department of Education and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced Monday.

The extended school days, part of an expansion of the Middle School Quality Initiative program, will add 150 minutes to each school day for 2,000 children each year over the next three years for "high-dosage reading tutoring and an array of learning activities," the DOE said.

The DOE has not revealed which schools will be chosen for the program. Schools will be randomly selected "by the end of the school year" from a pool "schools across the city that serve high-needs students," the department said.

"Improving our city's middle schools is vital to helping close the achievement gap and putting kids on a better track toward educational success," Quinn said in a statement. "Through the expansion of the successful Middle School Quality Initiative and our innovative program to extend the school day and offer intense literacy training to high-needs kids, both students and teachers will soon benefit immensely."

The Middle School Quality Initiative, introduced in 2011, is geared toward bolstering literacy instruction in grades six through eight. First implemented at 18 schools, 49 schools were selected for the program for the 2012-13 school year, and 89 schools with about 12,000 students will take part starting this fall.

The expansion is being paid for by $4.65 million in grants from the Robin Hood Foundation and the City Council, and $1.55 million in funds from the DOE.

"We're closing the achievement gap — and we're doing it through strategic models," Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement. "The MSQI has been central in preparing students for college and careers by sharing best practices across our system of great schools."