Longer School Days Ahead?


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One of the first things Steven A. Forte talked about when he became superintendent of Verona’s public schools was lengthening the school day. Now he might be getting some support for that idea.

On Monday, the New Jersey Senate Education Committee approved a bill to create a pilot program to lengthen both the school day and school year in our state. Teresa Ruiz, the Essex County legislator who pushed through teacher tenure reform, is the co-sponsor of the bill and while she hasn’t said yet exactly how long the day and year will be in the future, she does see it as key. “More time in the classroom if used effectively will help to increase academic achievement, improve student enrichment opportunities and educational offerings,” she said in an interview to State House Steps. “This is critical to ensuring our students are prepared for college and career but also that they are able compete in a 21st Century global economy.”

Here’s how Forte added 72 hours of instructional time to Hasbrouck Heights’ school year.
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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. The problem comes down to the length of each individual period. Looking back, I can’t believe my classes at VHS were only 50 minutes long. At my new high school, each class lasts two hours allowing enough time to dive deep into material rather than scraping the surface with a shallow interpretation of what learning is all about. Personally, I don’t see 4 extra minutes making any difference. Perhaps an entire schedule change is necessary to make the most of the school system.

  2. Adding additional instructional time to the school day is a great idea but, what if any effect will that have on the
    salaries of the teachers? Will they be able to demand more money?

  3. I think Troy is speaking about
    “block” scheduling~ some east coast high schools do use that method. Verona recently moved to the ‘modified’ block (about 3 years ago). There are pros and cons to each method of scheduling. I agree, four extra minutes isn’t going to have an impact. A better use of time would~ there is a lot of interruptions to the school day and I believe the Board is conducting an inventory of that now.


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