Six Elementary Schools Will Add 30 Minutes of Instructional Time in 2018-19

Six Elementary Schools Will Add 30 Minutes of Instructional Time in 2018-19
Posted on 01/26/2018
nps logo

Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, an agreement between the Norwalk Board of Education and the Norwalk Federation of Teachers will enable the addition of 30 minutes of instructional time to the elementary school day.  The extension of the elementary school day will be phased in over a two-year period, beginning with six out of 12 elementary schools in the next school year. The additional 30 minutes equates to an extra 91 hours of instruction time, or 14 additional days of instruction annually.


Elementary schools that will implement the additional 30 minutes of instructional time in the 2018-19 school year are Brookside, Fox Run, Jefferson, Kendall, Marvin and Tracey.  The additional 30 minutes will be added to the beginning of the school day starting in August 2018.    The six remaining NPS elementary schools will add the 30 minutes of instructional time beginning in 2019-20. 


As part of the agreement, a fourth special subject teacher will be added to the elementary program.  This allows a daily planning period for classroom teachers, as well as additional opportunities to students beyond traditional physical education, music and art.  


“The addition of a fourth special subject provides an exciting opportunity for Norwalk elementary schools to enhance and expand the educational experience,” said Dr. Steven Adamowski, superintendent, Norwalk Public Schools. “School Governance Councils will be able to choose an additional special subject that helps their school stand out, while providing an enriched, well-rounded education to all students.” 


The selection process will be accelerated for the six elementary schools in Phase I. School Governance Councils will need to meet a June 1 deadline for hiring of the special subject teacher.  Phase II schools will be able to take advantage of a longer planning time before making their decision for the 2019-20 school year.


Special classes could include options such as Writer’s Workshop, experiential science, or foreign languages, among others.  Consistent with the Theory of Action in the Board of Ed’s Strategic Operating Plan, School Governance Councils will be asked to consider the following in selecting their school’s new special subject: 


  • The goals of their School Improvement Plan.

  • The criteria of the Connecticut Next Generation Accountability Plan and practices of Schools of Distinction.

  • The preferences and aspirations of the school’s parents, as determined by the SGC.

  • Special subjects that do not compete with, duplicate or precluded participation in the gifted and talented program and instrument lessons.

  • Intra district magnet schools shall select a special subject directly related to their magnet theme.


The selection of schools for each phase was based on a variety of factors, including bus schedules.  The cost for extending the day at six elementary schools is included in the 2018-19 Operating Budget request, but the budget does not include funding for additional buses.  The benefits of additional instructional time as an aid to help close the achievement gap was also considered.


The transportation implications of an expanded elementary school day will also be considered by a district committee studying high school start times. The committee will be looking at recommendations from The American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the benefits of later start times for high school students.