The Eight Hour School Day

Liz Riggs:

Peter Smith directs a Philadelphia high school that extends its day—but only by a half an hour for students. Hours run from 8:00 a.m. to 3:17 p.m. After school, teachers are required to stay for office hours from 3:17 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. While teachers are in school for an hour and 15 minutes longer than other teachers in the district, they actually teach less than they would in a traditional public school.

“Teachers are totally on board,” Smith says. “Teachers love having that designated time [after school] to be with students, and it does free up their time during the other parts of the school day, and parents love it—especially at the high school level.”

Extended school days can also provide structured planning time for teachers. Without this built-in time, teachers end up working additional hours after school and on the weekends, clocking in as much time as they would if the day were extended—if not more.

It’s all cyclical, baby. To quote Ecclesiastes 1:9:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.