Billerica School Committee Planning Vote On Extending School Day

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BILLERICA, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Billerica School Committee will vote on extending the school day for some public school students at the end of February.

The proposal, which would add an additional 30 minutes to the school day for public elementary and middle school students, was first introduced at a public meeting last October.

Billerica School District Superintendent Tim Piwowar is spearheading the proposal. He believes the additional half hour will give students extra time for intervention and enrichment opportunities.

"One of our core goals at the elementary school level is to create a 30-minute daily intervention independence block," Piwowar told WBZ NewsRadio. "We call it our WIN block here, it’s our 'What I Need' block. So it’s an opportunity to provide students with targeted intervention, support, or enrichment opportunities that are based upon what they need."

Piwowar also said that the extended school day will give educators the chance to "address the social emotional needs of students, the intensity of special education needs of students, [and the] heightened anxiety we’re seeing in students. So the ability to some degree slow things down, be a little deeper in the way that we’re learning, provide things like a little bit of extra recess time, or additional lunch time, time for some of that positive peer social interaction with kids."

Some parents are pushing back against the idea of a slightly longer school day.

"I have my son, he’s against it," one parent told WBZ. "I have neighborhood kids. I just don’t think they’ll be happy with it. And me as a parent, we’ll have to rearrange our daily schedules too, so I’m not for it."

"That’s very unnecessary," said another parent. "I feel like children need their space and they need a break from reality. We should let kids be kids."

WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.

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