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Foundation aims for longer school day

Original post made on Sep 10, 2011

A tight focus on academics has slowly but surely boosted test scores in East Palo Alto schools. The kids and teachers have worked hard -- but Renu Nanda thinks outside volunteers deserve some small credit as well.

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Comments (5)

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Posted by 800-Is-Proficiency
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2011 at 9:26 am

> Longer school days and summer academies have been top funding
> priorities for the foundation -- "increased learning time
> is one of those things that we know works," Nanda said.

Interesting. Is "Learning time" something that can only something that can be achieved in a publicly-funded school? It's clear from the never-ending commentary on the PA schools that parents, the home, and family-directed education contribute more than "the schools". In short, "education" is likely to be more of a cultural "thing", than something that is applied in a government school.

And then there is the issue of "digital learning". With reading being the basis of all subsequent intellectual activities, having the best digital reading instruction/support system in the world should be the goal of every person involved in education--rather than wanting to spend zillions of dollars on palaces that sit idle most of the day. Wonder what this group thinks about diverting some of its resources into creating better on-line resources for the students (and parents)?

Well .. a seventy-five point gain in three years is nice. Let's hope that they can continue this march to 800, and then even higher.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

We're talking EPA, not PA where resources at schools and at home are quite different. Socioeconomic status matters. Education is an uphill climb and clearly EPA is climbing -- even without the resources that PA has.

I'm sure the EPA teachers would love to increase digital learning and that's why they appreciate support from PA companies and from volunteers. But they seem to realize that teaching fundamentals -- like English -- comes first.

Ever wonder how what contributions could have been made by kids from underserved communities where education resources are NOT equal?

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Posted by Kirstn
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 12, 2011 at 9:15 am

We need longer school days just to more closely match the work day. Parents have to work (or thrive from work) and having kids come home alone to empty houses is no way to increase test scores or raise healthy kids. I'd suggest lengthening the day for all the kids, and aiming to include enrichment (like sports, music, art, etc) to the school day. I know it's a dream, but that's where we should be trying to go.

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

In my "perfect" school world, kids would spend from 8-5 on school grounds and their day would include academics, arts and sports. ALL homework would happen on campus. When they were home, they could relax and spend time with family!

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Posted by whynot
a resident of Southgate
on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

The high school kids can be tutors and help kids in after school classrooms to help regular lesson learning or the pre-preparation for the next chapters and help solve practice problems.

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