Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

November 27, 2012

Longer school days may be in the offing for some elementaries

GOSHEN — Slightly longer school days could be in the works for several Goshen elementary schools next year following talks at the Goshen Board of School Trustees meeting Monday evening.

During the meeting, board members were informed that instructors at two of Goshen’s original Title I schools — Chamberlain and West Goshen — have indicated they would like to see their schools adopt a school day similar to that of Chandler Elementary School, which several years ago added 30 additional minutes of instructional time every day as part of a restructuring plan.

As each school is currently under a Priority School Improvement Plan through the Department Of Education Title I Office, officials with both Chamberlain and West Goshen have indicated they believe this change would be a beneficial strategy in their arsenal of school improvement strategies.

“We just wanted you to be aware that this has kind of been bubbling up a little bit, even since last year, so this year it’s a little more serious conversation about adding additional instructional time at the two other original Title I schools,” said Goshen Community Schools Superintendent Diane Woodworth. “During (Chandler’s) restructuring, we added 30 minutes of additional instruction time every day. So those schools are showing that would be helpful as well.”

Should the change be approved, Woodworth noted that there will be some transportation issues that will need to be addressed, particularly when looking at how the change would affect the schedule of Goshen Middle School.

“Now when the middle school comes in, as (Assistant Superintendent Robert Evans) was looking at the transportation pieces, with one school, we can absorb it without changing too much of their schedules,” Woodworth said. “Now, it’s going to be a little more complicated when we add schools. At the middle school, the transportation piece, it ended up looking like if we would add 10 to 12 minutes to their day, then we can make this all work.”

Looking beyond even just the district’s Title I schools, Woodworth noted that there may be other elementaries within Goshen Schools that would also be interested in extending their hours down the road simply in an effort to provide more instructional time for their students.

“As a matter of fact, I think there is some other discussion out there about other elementaries that might be interested as well,” Woodworth said. “As we’re looking at challenges we face, it comes up over and over, and thinking about Common Core, and the need to teach science and Social Studies and all of the subjects, I think it will continue to bubble up.”

While currently only a discussion item presented for the board’s benefit, Woodworth noted following Monday’s presentation that she is hopeful something can be finalized on the matter by early spring of next year.

School Calendars

In other action, board members Monday were informed that the Goshen Community Schools Calendar Committee has come up with three potential calendars for the 2013-14 school year.

According to Assistant Superintendent Robert Evans, the committee is currently looking most favorably at what they are calling Calendar G, which he said is very similar to the 2012-13 calendar, although it does call for a slightly later start date of Aug. 9 and a three-day Thanksgiving break from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.

Evans said current plans are to have an official 2013-14 school calendar selected and approved by the board sometime in January.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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