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Schools to cancel extra learning time

The state education department calls off the touted program

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:42 a.m. HST, May 20, 2013

Hawaii's Department of Education is scaling back a move to provide extra learning time for struggling schools.

Last year's approval of extended learning time for low-performing schools on Oahu's Waianae coast and in the Kau, Keaau and Pahoa areas of the Big Island, along with the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind, was heralded as a stride toward progress on school reforms that won Hawaii a $75 million federal Race to the Top grant.

The agreement approved by 80 percent of the more than 1,100 teachers in those schools called for about an hour more per day, Monday through Thursday, and 12 additional days of teacher training. That represents about 18 percent more in compensation for teachers.

Negotiations are ongoing to finalize an agreement for Waianae Elementary and the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind, which would make them the only schools that would continue to get the compensated extra time for all teachers, Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe said.

"We learned from the first year of implementation," he said. "We're going to be more targeted and more focused this time. It's a more strategic and focused approach."

Nozoe said Thursday that things that worked during extended learning will move into the regular school day. That will allow for targeted, individualized attention after school for students who need it, he said.

When U.S. Department of Education reviewers visited Hawaii last year to evaluate progress on Race to the Top reforms, state education officials showed off the approved agreement for extended learning time as a major accomplishment. Hawaii had been warned that if satisfactory progress wasn't made on reforms, the grant money could be taken away.

Hawaii officials are still working out exactly how extended learning time will ultimately look in the remaining 17 schools, Nozoe said, which will still be consistent with Race to the Top reforms.

The state didn't do a good job of maximizing the extra time during the pilot period, said Al Nagasako, executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

"From my perspective, I don't think it was well thought-out," he said. "It appears it was a check-off piece. But it had tremendous potential."

There wasn't enough guidance from the department on how schools should be spending the extra time and methods varied across campuses, Nagasako said.

News that not all schools will be getting the compensated time is disappointing to many teachers who depend on the extra income, a boost to work in the most challenging schools. But there are also some teachers who complained the longer day meant less time with their families, especially for those with long commutes to rural schools, Nagasako said.

Nozoe said the first year was about learning what worked, including students taking online courses to recover credit for failed classes, math and reading computer-based tutorials adapted to individual student's skill levels and hands-on learning projects such as aquaponics.

Juli Patten, a third-grade teacher Maili Elementary, said Friday the school year is almost over and teachers haven't heard about what will happen in the fall.

"We've been asking for six months, is it going to be extended," she said, "is it going to end?"

A year wasn't enough time to evaluate such a big change, she said.

"I had an hour more to interact with my kids," she said, which allowed for time on subjects such as art and social studies, while focusing on math, reading and science during the regular school day.

For Amber Riel, a Waianae High School math teacher, the extra pay didn't make up for getting home late and the stress of trying to find funding for the art class she taught during the extra period. She commutes more than an hour on the bus. She used her own money for supplies. The extra pay, however, helped her pursue a master's degree.

"I think it had really good intentions, but it was poorly executed," she said.

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false wrote:
It works better as an after school tutorial with students who want the extra curricula support. For some of us, the kids mean more than the money. One hour or two more with students who want to learn is worth the commitment.
on May 20,2013 | 05:07AM
wiliki wrote:
It should also be of benefit to the kids who don't want to learn. Teachers need to change these kids' attitudes and this extra hour is worth the effort because it will make a big difference in the rest of the day.

Perhaps for these kids, parents will attend some sessions with the teachers-- after dinner vice after school with the parents. They need counseling and therapy-- like how to handle their autistic and ADHD kids. I suspect there's a lot of regression at home.

on May 20,2013 | 08:57AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Don't dump that on the teachers. They can only motivate them so much. Feeling sorry for them and enabling them affects those that want to be there. You are so correct with more parent teacher student cooperation.
on May 20,2013 | 11:12AM
wiliki wrote:
There should probably social workers who can make home visits after hours for therapy and counseling. But even the administration can have the specialist for the district meet with a group of parents after hours. My daughter-in-law does that on the mainland for autism. She says that principals are unwilling to provide therapy and leave it up to the teacher to do it.

Teachers already have a lot on their plates. And they aren't qualified to do therapy with a neurotic kid and parent (not to mention teacher) who may unwittingly be pushing all the kid's upset buttons. The kid may be so alienated he may be unteachable and the family might become completely dysfunctional.

on May 20,2013 | 04:44PM
808behappy wrote:
Wiliki - maybe the teachers need to have training on how to handle ADHD kids and others with learning disabilities to keep the kids focused and on track or how to keep the kids engaged in what they are learning. Not only is my child ADHD but he is also dyslexic. I researched information on dyslexia and many times had to educate his teachers on his disabilites. I couldn't beleive that one of his teachers thought it was just reversing letters! There are probably many kids in school who are in SPED who are dyslexic and haven't been diagnosed, because the DOE doesn't recognize dyslexia so you need to go outside of the school system to test your child and the DOE does note in a child's IEP that the child is dyslexic. So every year I would have to tell his teachers that my son has been diagnosed as being dyslexic.
on May 20,2013 | 01:36PM
wiliki wrote:
K-3 teachers have the training to diagnose the kids. They notice the difference and probably other staff can work with the parents. But SPED teachers are experts at teachers these kids. Problem is that the kids have a lot of personal problems because they are different. They may not have any friends outside of their SPED class. They may retreat into their video games and worse, parents may not be able to do much about that at home. The kids need therapy to cope with these feelings and parents need training to cope with these kids.

Remember the mother who kept her autistic kid at home for a number of years ("homeschooling") in Newtown. She and he apparantly needed a lot of therapy. Her husband divorced her and the kid finally wound up shooting a lot of kids in his elementary school. It would have been a lot better if the kid and his mother had gotten some therapy from a social worker and had a more fulfilling life at home and school. His teachers might have been able to reach him and he might not have killed the other kids in the school.

on May 20,2013 | 04:37PM
bender wrote:
It appears that once they got the RTT funds, it was time to cancel the program.
on May 20,2013 | 05:44AM
wiliki wrote:
Nope... it appears that the program should be voluntary because some cannot hack the long commute to their homes from school.
on May 20,2013 | 08:59AM
Rex007 wrote:
Another DOE SNAFU!
on May 20,2013 | 11:59AM
jshon wrote:
Implementation of reforms, and sustainability are among the DOE's biggest challenges. We should look forward to a detailed report on what was analyzed, and the specific reasons for the changes away from a promised goal.
on May 20,2013 | 06:38AM
busterb wrote:
Obviously. Once they got the Race funds, they cancel the program. No brainer. Just like signing a contract that included drug testing and then refusing to take them. Now-a-days being a teacher is somewhat akin to being elected to Congress. "Oh sure we agree to that! The vote is today? Oh, I changed my mind, I'll have to go against that."
on May 20,2013 | 07:30AM
soundofreason wrote:
""I think it had really good intentions, but it was poorly executed," she said.">>> What!!?? Hawaii DOE???(hands on side of face)
on May 20,2013 | 07:31AM
soundofreason wrote:
"Schools to cancel extra learning time">>> I know - I know. "For the kids". Nice commercials though.
on May 20,2013 | 07:32AM
ptofview wrote:
Why is a math teacher getting extra pay to teach art, why couldn't she teach mandated math?
on May 20,2013 | 08:23AM
Bdpapa wrote:
No Art teacher.
on May 20,2013 | 11:13AM
wiliki wrote:
A year wasn't enough time to evaluate such a big change, she said.

For Amber Riel, a Waianae High School math teacher, the extra pay didn't make up for getting home late and the stress of trying to find funding for the art class she taught during the extra period. She commutes more than an hour on the bus. She used her own money for supplies. The extra pay, however, helped her pursue a master's degree.

"I think it had really good intentions, but it was poorly executed," she said.

For Amber it seems that teachers with long commutes should not be included in the programs. It should be voluntary. And there seems to be concerns about testing for results. Teachers don't know if the extra hour makes a difference. Perhaps they really don't know what to expect and it will take teachers a couple of years to realize what the benefits of the program are for the kids.

on May 20,2013 | 08:53AM
autumnrose wrote:
in spite of amber riel's over hour long commute -- she pursuted a master's degree with the extra pay... but where did she get the extra TIME to attend graduate classes and do assignments to EARN her masters? ahhh-- she studied for a couple of hours a day RIDING THE BUS! or she took her nap.
on May 20,2013 | 01:35PM
wiliki wrote:
West Oahu College. They have a bachelor's in education. Maybe they also can have an MA from there? She can drop by for classes on the way home, but she have to do it even later if she works after school.
on May 20,2013 | 04:26PM
Slow wrote:
We moved from Oahu to Puna and can now see, first hand, the ongoing and tragic mistreatment of the Hawaiian people. These kids desperately need education and hope. So we cut their funding.
on May 20,2013 | 02:52PM
Hugo wrote:
My adopted children were so far behind at school they required six hours of schooling at home on weekends. 50% more that the DOE program. As their grades came up, the weekend work hours went down. When they were at the top of their classes there was zero weekend hours required but they continued much of the extra work anyway. Privileges had to be earned, and earn them they did. I learned my teaching skills in the military as a NCO.
on May 23,2013 | 12:19AM
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