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Baltimore Officials Consider Longer School Week

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Gigi Barnett anchors the Weekend Morning Edition with Meteorologist...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A drop in test scores has Baltimore school leaders scrambling to stop the slide.  Now they’re considering a longer school week.  As Gigi Barnett explains, it’s drawing mixed reactions from parents.

After three years of back-to-back gains, Baltimore school leaders saw an across the board dip in test scores this year.  Reading results dropped by a little more than three percentage points.  Math scores fell even more at nearly five percentage points.

Now the question is how to get back on track.  The answer may be Saturday school.

“We see it as a model that works in some of our schools and the question is, can we link it to some of our grades,” said City Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso.

Dr. Alonso wants a longer school week to begin for students in the fifth and eighth grades.  He says that’s just before students go off to middle and high school and it’s where school leaders see the biggest drop off.

“Just extend the school year.  The weekend is family time, plain and simple.  Extend the school year and add more days,” said parent Tom Sasada.

But other parents say more time is a good solution.

“Absolutely.  My children are going to summer school next week, so I would have no problem with them going on Saturday,” said Shanti Dixon-Gramby.

Whether they’re for Saturday school or not, parents want to know how school leaders will pay for it.  Dr. Alonso says that’s a detail he’s working on.

One of Baltimore’s charter schools, Kipp Ujima Village, has a longer school week.  It is one of the highest-performing schools in the state.

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