Aug 17, 2010 7:05 PM by David Ortiviz

Students adjust to longer school days, shorter week

It's back to school for students in Pueblo County's School District 70 and this year the district is adjusting to a new four day schedule. To save the school district money, students in D-70 will now be off on Fridays.

Some students see the 4-day schedule as a big benefit. "It's a good thing because we have Fridays off and I'm really excited about that," said Jalyn Perkins, a freshman at Pueblo West High School.

The compromise is longer school days Monday through Thursday. At Pueblo West High School for example, students will spend 8 and a half hours at school. Compared to last school year that's an extra hour and 15 minutes.

"You know I'm not really excited about it. Don't get to sleep as much. My brain's like overloaded," said Noah Parmelee, a student at Pueblo West High School.

"I think it's not good for the retention of learning," said Jill Christensen, a D-70 parent.

News First 5 has heard other concerns such as finding daycare on Fridays. Also, the length of bus rides. Some students will spend up to three hours to get to and from school. The longest bus route we found covers 26 miles in the Rye area and stops dozens of times. It's conceivable a student at Rye Elementary could be on the bus as long as 90 minutes in the morning one way.

Another concern, some say students--especially athletes are forced to cram too much in one day. "Me when I participate in sports, we will go to practice, get home late and have to deal with homework" said Jeff Runyan, a freshman at Pueblo West High School.

"Yes teachers are making adjustments," said Martha Nogare, Principal at Pueblo West High School. Nogare says she's told teachers to pace homework as best as they can.

Nogare says on the positive side--"I see it as a real opportunity for kids--opportunity to literally to seize longer class periods." She says longer days will allow for more in-depth and hands-on instruction.

Nogare says the ultimate test is how this will impact learning. However for now, the focus is helping students and staff adjust to the changes.


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