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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Gibbs principal notifies parents that extended day could be in effect next Wed.



Gibbs High School principal Kevin Gordon called parents Tuesday night to notify them in a recorded message that school could impose a longer school day as soon as next Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Gordon did say in his message that all the plans for the St. Petersburg school are still pending negotiation with the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association. (And that's probably good since PCTA president Kim Black said Wednesday that she was surprised to hear about the notification since bargaining isn't scheduled to begin until 2:30 p.m. today).

In his voice mail, Gordon laid out the following details about the proposal:

* Beginning Wednesday, students could move to a modified block schedule with four periods a day on every day except Wednesdays, when they would attend all eight periods.

* On Mondays, students would attend their odd numbered periods. On Tuesdays, they would attend their even numbered periods, with period eight being designated a new "focus period" during which students would, depending on their need, attend classes for FCAT  help, credit recovery, college placement/dual enrollment, electives, peer tutoring/mentoring or ACT and SAT prep.

* Each class would last 95 minutes with a six minute hall passing period.

* Class would continue to begin at 7:05 p.m., with a projected dismissal time of 2:25 p.m.

"This is tentative," Gordon said in his message. "It's not sketched in stone as we're still working with the teachers bargaining unit to solidify a lot of information."

Gibbs, which was named an F-rated school following the 2008-09 school year, slipped onto the state Department of Education's list of schools in "intervene" status due to inadequate gains in student test scores over five years. The school community has been discussing lengthening the school day since news of the new status broke the week before class started.

Questions that still remain, which are likely to be handled in bargaining, are how teachers will be compensated for the additional time and whether they will get differential pay for working in an academically struggling school.

"I know that change is difficult," Gordon said in his voice mail message. "But just keep in mind that we're all going through this together and we know that we will be successful at the end of this."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 1:24pm]


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