NKC high schools extend school day 15 minutes

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  An old Chinese proverb says, "If you tell me, I'll forget, but involve me, and I'll understand."

North Kansas City High Schools have that in mind, as educators plan to make better use of time during the school day.

Educators say classtime is precious time, and they want more of it. The opportunity to spend more focused teaching time may arrive soon. North Kansas City High School Principal Dan Wartick is building next year's class schedules, and planning for 15 extra minutes of class time per day.

Wartick says this school district recently chose to modify its format, making for a blended schedule and shorter class sessions, but more of them per day.

"This gives them more time during the school year for those critical core areas where so much foundation is laid," Wartick said. "They build on those classes for upper level classes."

Adam Martin has experience on his side. He's an English teacher at North Kansas City High, handling six classes per week. He says moving from five classroom sessions to six makes a lot of sense.

"By seeing kids every day for around an hour, we're going to increase the amount of time they're seen in a given year," Martin said.

Many of NKCHS' classes currently run 90 minutes in length. Wartick says this plan will also ease the transiton for eighth-graders moving up to high school classwork.

"I think it would be best for people to be able to ease their way in instead of just going 'here's what everyone else is doing. You're just brand new here'," Carlen Fidler, NKCHS student, said.

School administrators say it all adds up to about 45 extra instructional hours per year. That gives students and teachers more opportunities to get to know each other, and amplify the learning process.

"The more time you spend with a kid, the more you get to know the student," Martin said.

"Every minute counts. Really, it does," Wartick added.

And with this plan, more time will arrive.

The new schedule will begin this fall, and add two days of school to North Kansas City high schools. It will apply to all four high schools within that district.

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