Some NYC Middle Schools to Extend Day

by Stephanie Colombini
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school desks

alamosbasement, flickr

20 Schools to Get 2.5 More Hours a Day

3 PM dismissal is going to be a thing of the past for students in select New York City middle schools this September. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced a three-year pilot program today  that'll extend the school day another 2.5 hours in 20 high-need middle schools.

It's part of the expansion of the Middle School Quality Initiative, a literacy-improvement program.  Some worry more time in school will be a tough sell to students, but Speaker Quinn said those struggling to read will quickly see the bright side.

"You know what's a terrible moment? When the teacher says, 'we're all gonna go around and read a paragraph,' and you can't.  That feeling is a million times worse than the feeling of maybe staying in school for two hours more a day."

Quinn said about 75% of 7th and 8th grade students in the city fall below national reading standards.  She said students in the bottom 25% are 20 times more likely to drop out of high school than those at the top.

"The truth is, dropping out of high school stops in middle school," Quinn said, "It's a fact."

The Middle School Quality Initiative was introduced in 2011 and currently works with 49 schools.This fall another 40 will take part in the program.The expansion will reach approximately 12,000 more city students over the next three years.

Participating schools have yet to be  determined.  They'll be randomly selected from an applicant pool.  

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