Tonight the Fairfax County School Board will review the Annual Monitoring Performance Report for Student Achievement Goal 1: Academics. The report avoids suggesting more overall time as a strategy for improving achievement. However, the time crunch in mentioned in the context of science achievement:
The master schedules of FCPS elementary schools have numerous priorities that compete for a limited amount of time, likely impacting the fifth grade science test. The fifth grade science SOL test includes content from the fourth and fifth grade. Often the emphasis in fourth grade is on social studies to prepare students for the fourth grade social studies SOL test. Fifth grade teachers, already pressed for time, have difficultly preparing students for an exam that assesses two grade levels of science. In addition, the VDOE, in offering guidance to schools on how to meet the new standards, reinforced the need for hands-on, inquiry based lessons. These lessons take more time and add to the challenges faced by teachers in elementary schools. (p. 24)
Yes, there certainly is a lot of competition for a limited amount of time. Why not give the elementary school students some more time in school by ending the Monday early dismissal policy? That would be a way of getting to a solution rather than just describing the problem.