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Fayetteville Public Schools extends school day for grades 5-12

The adjusted schedule began yesterday, but Superintendent John Mulford says the process to change the schedule started a couple of weeks ago.

“We received communication from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education [or DESE], notifying schools that given the amount of inclement weather, that they did have an option, an alternate option, for making the days missed other than just adding days to the end of the year,” Mulford said. “And that was to switch from the traditional days-based calendar that most districts have followed, to the most recently approved alternate calendar. And DECE is allowing districts to make that switch mid-year. So the benefit of that is instead of adding days after Memorial Day and into June, districts could choose to extend their school day and get that time in before Memorial Day. With that information, we met with our personnel policy committee, which is the committee that typically develops calendar options and presents them to the board to see if they wanted to look at doing this.”

This mid-year change only affects students grades 5 through 12. Mulford says that this is the preference of school teachers, who will be receiving additional time for class instruction.

“And the feedback was largely in favor of extending the day,” Mulford said. “And the reason for that was teachers wanting to get as much instructional time in as they can, prior to state and national testing windows. And so when they kind of compared seven days after Memorial Day, versus you know, an additional 35 minutes a day, every day through the end of the school year, it just seemed like we would get more instructional value out of adding that time in time now.”

Mulford says the school district understands there may be some unique situations for some students.

“Whether that's a high school student who has to get a job or some other kind of after school commitment that families cannot alter,” Mulford said. “And so in that scenario, we're just encouraging those families to reach out to their building principal, and their building principal will work with them to help find a solution that works. And so we're going to be as flexible as we can be with families. We just need them to communicate with their principal about the need.”

Ozarks at Large transcripts are created on a rush deadline by reporters. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of KUAF programming is the audio record.

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Sophia Nourani is a KUAF producer and reporter.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
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