Added up, the extra minutes could help prevent make-up days in June
The school day at the four elementary schools in East Greenwich will be extended by six minutes starting Wednesday (9/20/23). Students who previously departed school at 3:25 p.m. will now call it a day at 3:31 p.m.
The thought behind the additional time is that it accumulates into three additional school days, which can prevent make-up days in June should there be snow days. Therefore, the school year, which is currently set to conclude on June 18, could end as early as June 13 if no snow days are needed.
“No teacher has to come earlier, no teacher has to stay later,” said Supt. Brian Ricca at the School Committee Meeting on Tuesday night. He explained that the additional time was “in the bounds of the teacher’s current contract and current contract day.” The East Greenwich Education Association agreed to the change in a collective bargaining session on Tuesday.
The additional time is classified as “instructional minutes” and would occur within the teacher’s existing schedule.
Regarding the possibility of making time up in the summer, Ricca said it was more “important to have instructional minutes now than in June.” He plans to address the additional six-minute change in a memo to parents later this week.
The extra time will only affect Frenchtown, Hanaford, Eldredge, and Meadowbrook students. “We didn’t have to add minutes” at Cole and EGHS, Ricca said, explaining that there were “enough instructional minutes to bank” to account for three potential make-up snow days in June.
According to RIDE, schools need to have 330 minutes of instruction a day. With the change, elementary schools will have 336 instructional minutes per day, according to Asst. Supt. Michael Podraza. EGHS averages 337 instructional minutes and Cole has 343 instructional minutes per day.
Schools are required to have 180 days of instruction a year, but according to RIDE, “A local education agency may establish a school year that is the equivalent of one hundred eighty (180) days through the use of longer school days in accordance with R.I. Gen. Law 16-2-2.”
Also, it states that they can make the days longer to get to the 180-day minimum without hitting 180 days exactly.
Even with the added time, Ricca said that “buses aren’t running later” and “you should not see a substantial increase in any arrival or departure time.”