“7:20 To 6” School Set To Launch

Melissa Bailey PhotoMayor Toni Harp’s campaign pledge to bring a nearly 11-hour optional school day to Lincoln-Bassett School came true Monday, as the state announced it will help pay the bill.

Lincoln-Bassett, which serves 355 kids in grades pre-K to 6 on Newhallville’s Bassett Street, is set to receive $1.4 million this year for capital improvements and to offer optional before- and after- school programs for kids, state education chief Stefan Pryor announced in a visit to the school.

The grant is part of $5.7 million in extra supports city schools are receiving this year. The money will support school-level turnaround efforts in 11 schools serving more than 6,000 students, according to the state. The money comes from the School Improvement Grant 1003(g) and 1003(a) and High School Redesign competitions, and the State Bond Commission, which approved $1.2 million in bonds to pay for technology and capital improvements at Lincoln-Bassett and Hillhouse High School, which is splitting up into three “academies” thanks to a High School Redesign Grant.

Lincoln-Bassett got a three-year grant through the Commissioner’s Network of low-performing schools. The money will allow the school to hire the Newhallville-based ConnCAT to provide after-school programming for kids. The school will offer optional programming from 7:20 a.m. to 6 p.m.—hours that Mayor Toni Harp has argued better suit the modern working family, where households are often headed by a single mom. Lincoln-Bassett has a new principal, Janet Brown-Clayton, who has replaced 20 out of 27 teachers while embarking on an ambitious plan to turn around the school following a blistering audit. (Click here to read more about her efforts.)

Harp (pictured) framed the investment in Lincoln-Bassett as part of a broader effort to revitalize Newhallville.

“Newhallville goes as Lincoln-Bassett goes,” she said.

Extending the hours at Lincoln-Bassett was a pledge Harp made during her mayoral campaign last year.

“I’m really thrilled that we were able to get this done,” she said. She said Lincoln-Bassett will be the first city school to make a concerted effort to have longer hours that suit a working family.

She was asked about the “community schools” effort in the 1960s, in which the federal government paid for schools like Katherine Brennan to stay open on nights and weekends for families and neighbors to use. Harp said her understanding is that that effort was successful—until the money dried up. “The problem is that they did it and stopped,” she said.

Harries said part of the hard work at Lincoln-Bassett will be figuring out “how can we sustain these efforts.”

Pryor was asked why he believes these latest state-funded turnaround efforts will succeed while others have not. The state awarded New Haven SIG money to transform Hillhouse High and Wilbur Cross High by breaking them into “small learning communities,” then scrapped those “small learning communities” that SIG had created and started over again with new turnaround efforts.

“This isn’t an after-school program being imposed on a school,” Pryor said of Lincoln-Bassett. “It’s a central component of the turnaround.” He added that the turnaround effort would be stronger because the school is “leveraging community assets”—ConnCAT—to help with the work.

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 28, 2014  8:16pm

What about Finland,where school time is less and the results are higher?

posted by: Don in New Haven on July 28, 2014  8:46pm

Please tell us what the children are expected to learn during these long school days.

What will be the daily academic schedule?

What bench marks will be used to gauge success?

How is performance expected to exceed existing levels?

How much time will be wasted on sports activities that break bones and cause concussions?

Will the kids be expected to sit for all those hours in very uncomfortable school desks?

How many meals and snack periods will they have? Will this merely make the kids fatter?

Will the kids go on more and longer field trips to waste time?

As you appear to be expecting too much, I remind you, “One woman can have one baby in 9 months but 9 women cannot have one baby in one month.”

posted by: mm on July 28, 2014  9:37pm

This is utter nonsense. It facilitates the abandonment of parental responsibility. Now the kids will be fed Breakfast, Lunch and an afternoon snack that will substitute for supper while providing almost 11 hours of child care along with a bit of education. They’ve had this system in place in Bridgeport for a number of years. It hasn’t made the schools, neighborhoods or kids any better.

This money could be better spent improving the education during the standard school day.  Almost 11 hours of school is not productive. Kids need free time and play time after school. Those activities are not the responsibility of the school system and taxpayers.  That’s what places such as the Y, Boys and Girls Club, the late Q House and organizations such as Boy and Girl Scouts are for.

posted by: cupojoe on July 28, 2014  10:02pm

1st we have to give the BOE all the $$$$$ they want. Then we give them all new schools! Then more $$$$. And now they want more time. Does anyone ever stop and say: wait, here is an ORG - NHPS - that basically fails 80% of our kids? Why would we want to send them to this org longer? FAIL BETTER?

Teachers are not parents. Until you fix our society or create a school that embraces it’s society - a la Fair Haven Middle School - ALL of the school fixes will fail.

And another thing: this freaking human torture of our children would not happen if the parents were not predominantly of color…

This is basically very expensive foster care. Once again teachers sign up to teach - not to parent. What are we saying as a society? if these kids don’t belong at home - they belong in an institution. Put some bars on it and at least we can see it for what it will become.

Downsizing the BOE is the answer.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on July 28, 2014  10:37pm

What a bunch of negative comments!  If the children’s parents were home, and afterschool care not needed, I bet this same bunch of commenters would be complaining that the mothers should get a job.  @ Don—what WOULD make a good program, in your opinion, given that children’s parents need to work to support them?  You don’t want the kids sitting in desks, but you think sports are dangerous and a waste of time, field trips also a waste of time, and snacks will make the kids fat.

I don’t see anything in the article suggesting that there won’t be time for free play during the extended hours.  As far as I can see, the headline is inaccurate, and the program isn’t for an 11-hour school day but rather for before-school and after-school child care on site, for working parents that need it.  This is less disruptive for children than being dropped at a neighbor’s before school, and then being picked up and taken to an after-school program at some other site than school—or being a latchkey kid.  The fewer transitions and transportations that go into each child’s day, the better.

Presumably it will also involve homework help and other tutoring—something that some parents may be unable to provide (or too busy or too tired, what with working, meal preparation, errands, and the needs of other children)—and some enrichment activities such as sports or arts or clubs.  These are things that many middle-class kids get after school, and that expand their world.

I would imagine that if this program is even halfways well operated, it will benefit the children.

posted by: Don in New Haven on July 29, 2014  5:33am

Please help me understand one flaw in this plan.

If school assignments are based on a lottery and children are bussed to neighborhoods other than where they live, how does this plan focus on only a single neighborhood? Could this plan have multiple unintended consequences?

posted by: Teacher in New Haven on July 29, 2014  6:30am


I am afraid that I don’t see the connection you draw here between downsizing the BOE and fixing society.

posted by: Don in New Haven on July 29, 2014  10:58am

Gretchen, I don’t think the main purpose of public schools is day care for working parents.

One day only has 24 hours. Included in the school day are travel to and from school. How much time is left at home? Is there any time for family life, rest, relaxation, and homework in the remaining part of the evening and night when this schedule is implemented?

Will parents who live in other parts of town try to get their kids into this school just for the child care? How will this affect the community around the school when the seats are taken by other neighborhoods?

A longer school day is a very good idea but not the way this one is described.

As I have said before, physically visit EIB International the Victor Hugo School eab.fr in Paris, France and study their school day, which begins homeroom at 8:30 am. Academics begin at 9:00 am and end at 6:00 pm daily except Wednesday when the school day ends at 3:00 pm.

Sports class at EIB is once a week for 2 hours. Those students who want more sports join a sports club that meets from 7:00 pm and weekends.

Their academic schedule gives the students 8 or 9 credits per year. By the end of the 10th grade. By comparison at that time, students are almost ready to graduate from a New Haven school, in terms of academic credits.

If you want to know why kids from foreign countries excel in US college entry exams and when compared to our kids, academically. go there and study the actual situation.

posted by: cupojoe on July 29, 2014  11:54am

Hi Teacher in NH,

What I’m trying to say is common sense tells me that increasing any money and/or time in the NHPS will not bring us better results. We have tried in myriad ways to fix our schools - #1 is with more money.

No offense to you as a teacher. There are extraordinary teachers in New Haven. But I’m tired of throwing good money after bad.

And ultimately, I see this as a racial issue:  why are we locking up our children of color for 11 hours?

The NHPS have failed to provided us results. It’s time to look elsewhere… charters.

And I’m not talking about corporate driven charters. I’m talking about places like Common Ground. Here you find success. Here is what you need to replicate.

posted by: Melissa Bailey on July 29, 2014  12:08pm

Hi folks,
Just to clarify—the longer day is optional. Parents can choose before- and after- school activities on top of the standard school day.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 29, 2014  1:47pm

It’s always interesting to see such glee over more state money, finite as it is, unsustainable as it is. To know that the entire celebration is based on having another recognizable and noteworthy rotten school in New Haven with a long history of poor performance historically tolerated and protected by the NHBOE, is an education unto itself.

By the way, it’s a trite and meaningless phrase to suggest Newhallville’s future lives or dies in LB School.

posted by: BillSaunders1 on July 29, 2014  4:35pm

Bad for Students, Bad for Teachers….

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on July 29, 2014  6:52pm

I applaud Mayor Harp for this for her understanding of maintaining a positive atmosphere for children who otherwise live in a somewhat negative environment. 

This move denotes Mayor Harp’s vision and love of conveying the importance of education to socially struggling and economically deprived community.

As a mature adult, I find myself walking back some of the negative feelings I’ve had for the mayor.  Do I agree with everything the mayor does? Absolutely not.  But I believe in giving a person credit where he or she deserves it.  And Mayor Harp deserves a tremendous amount of credit for this investment.

posted by: HelloHiHey on July 30, 2014  9:05am

Don, what is the alternative for parents with the standard 8:30-5 schedule?

posted by: branford57 on July 30, 2014  10:15am

I think this would be a wonderful idea for working parents who have difficulty getting and paying for before and after school programs. But if any of the parents are not working then they should not be eligible to have their kids in the program.

posted by: Don in New Haven on July 30, 2014  10:30am

I have no idea what you mean by alternative.

Several times I have suggested modeling our school schedule after EIB International School, The Victor Hugo School in Paris, France.
The daily schedules for eab.fr contain 8 periods, providing 8 credits per school year, for high school as you can see below:

Middle School and High School Day.
8.45-9:00 Registration. This will take place in the classroom with the homeroom teacher.
9:00-9:55     Period 1
10:00-10:55     Period 2
10:55-11:05     Morning Break
11:05-12:00     Period 3
12:05-13:00     Period 4

13:00-13:50     LUNCH

13:50-13:55     Registration
13:55-14:50     Period 5
14:55-15:45     Period 6
15:45-15:55     Afternoon Break
15:55-16:50         Period 7 (end of Middle School day)
16:55-17:50         Period 8 (end of High School day, according to student’s individual timetable)

Primary School Day
08:45-09:00     Registration
09:00         Start morning session

12:00         LUNCH       (12:30 Wednesdays only)

13:30         Start afternoon session
16:00         End of school day

posted by: FacChec on July 30, 2014  11:58am

Within this new program, most of the money will follow the same ole path, into the administrators and union pockets, here is a peek:

No child left behind, special assistance for underperforming school and numerous other failed attempts. Steven Pryor and Harries simply trashed the failed program and re-invent a new one with a 5.7M infusion of cash, in order to change the narrative (the survey) and save their jobs.

“Based on a new teacher contract that allows teachers to get paid extra in hard-to-serve schools, teachers who take the job will get a $5,000 signing bonus spread over three years. And they’ll get 10 percent extra pay in exchange for showing up 50 minutes early to school every day for extra teacher collaboration and prep time”.
“In addition, to filling the vacant jobs, the school will be adding a pre-K and a 6th-grade class, as well as three teacher-leader positions: a school operation officer, a climate specialist, and an instructional coach. The operations officer—a position often found in charter schools—will take care of logistics like buying reams of paper and dealing with late buses, so that the principal can spend more time in the classroom, Brown-Clayton said”.

The newly added kicker is to invite Conn Cat to the party to perform yet to be determined after-school programs which are optional for the parent, as is, the before school program.

This story does not quote any parents concerning how they feel about these changes, or if they will even participate. Obviously they again were left out of the planning process.

Mayor Harp has it twisted when she says ” “Newhallville goes as Lincoln-Bassett goes,” That statement is short-sighted by failing to recognize that Newhallville’s rise can only be accomplished by the socio-economic betterment of the parent. This plans while worthy in concept, does not attempt to broach the underlining problem of these children.

There is no plan for this landmark turnaround, Mayor Harp.

posted by: disconnect on August 1, 2014  9:50am

Don in New Haven, in your first post you Socratically question this schedule’s impact on “time for family life, rest, relaxation, and homework in the remaining part of the evening and night”. You then go on to recommend the exact same finishing time for high schoolers. Why is your 8:45-5:50 superior to 7:20-6:00? Why are you worried about how we’re doing compared to France? Don’t you think we should be worried about how we’re doing to ourselves? Isn’t it better to focus on making a better life for people on the lower rungs of our socioeconomic ladder?

No, public schools are not exclusively child care facilities. They’re ALSO child care facilities. The reality of our economy is that people work jobs to make money. The reality of those jobs is that people sometimes have to be at work by 8:30 (or 7:30, or even 6:00), and sometimes they have to stay at their jobs until 5:00 P.M. And wouldn’t you know, a lot of those jobs are every day of the week, so people can’t just up and leave because their kids are getting home early every Wednesday.

It’s not a perfect solution, but providing a safe place for kids seems to me to be a good function of our government. More secure child care == more people able to work steady hours == better all around. Plus you get more jobs available at the school.

posted by: Don in New Haven on August 1, 2014  11:12am

Disconnect, Thank you for your comments. I am still opposed to such a long school day and all I am saying is there is no need to experiment when somebody else has already done what you don’t know how to do. Learn from their success and failure while spending $4,200 per child per school year experimenting with 333 children.

This particular French school I referenced has a 100% success rate for kids passing the college entrance exam after high school graduation.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 1, 2014  12:55pm

posted by: disconnect on August 1, 2014 9:50am

The reality of our economy is that people work jobs to make money. The reality of those jobs is that people sometimes have to be at work by 8:30 (or 7:30, or even 6:00), and sometimes they have to stay at their jobs until 5:00 P.M. And wouldn’t you know, a lot of those jobs are every day of the week, so people can’t just up and leave because their kids are getting home early every Wednesday.

Teachers also have to stay at their jobs until 5:00 P.M..Teachers also have children at home.The teachers I talked to said the is B.S.

My bad forgot how about open school night.Teachers do not get home some time untill 10:00 P.M.

posted by: Don in New Haven on August 1, 2014  1:45pm

Threefifths, Let me be sure I clearly understand what you have said.

New Haven property tax payers should pay for child care for working parents. Is that right? Can you tell me where this monetary burden on tax payers is authorized?

The teacher who said “BS,” may not realize that extended school day schedules include more teachers. The extended school day schedule has eight (8) academic periods.

Now that you know this, ask the teacher again.