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Longer School Days to Be Tested in Tennessee

By Erica Williams
By ewilliams@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn- Tennessee students will soon experience longer school days to assist in their academic achievement.

Tennessee is joining four other states (Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) in a new pilot program that will increase the time students spend in the classroom by 300 hours. The program currently affects 20,000 students.

The Department of Education recently announced the 3-year pilot initiative to give students a more well-rounded curriculum and assist those who are falling behind.

Tennessee Education Department spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier said there isn't a list yet of which Tennessee schools have applied to participate in the program, but she said five Nashville schools have applied as have five from the Achievement School District, which runs low-performing schools. Forty schools overall are expected to participate.

"Being an administrator in a school that's trying to raise test scores, I think any more instruction is positive," said Paul Pillow, Principal of Arlington International Leadership School in Jackson.

The average school year is 180 days. Officials from the Tennessee Department of Education said that school officials will be given the chance to decide if they will make the school day longer, add more days to the school year or both.

The full list of participating schools has not been released.
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