This past Monday Governor Deval Patrick visited the Matthew J. Kuss Middle School here in Fall River.
The Kuss school is one of the schools that has been labeled "chronically underperforming" by the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE). One of the initiatives that Kuss has undertaken to improve MCAS scores and the quality of education is to implement an 'extended day program'.
It's an interesting program, one that offers more academic time for teachers to teach and students to learn but also one that offers elective courses that allow children to learn and experience things than can truly motivate and inspire them.
The children at Kuss stay roughly an extra 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. The feedback I've gotten has been all positive.
The Governor came to Kuss to learn firsthand about how well this program was working and there is real interest in expanding this program, perhaps, eventually, to the whole state.
Here is where I have some concern.
If this program is really making a difference at Kuss school, if educational quality is really improving, then I think we need to keep these programs in the schools and school systems that need the most improvement. How can a struggling school system ever get ahead if the minute a program shows potential and promise it's just adopted by school systems that don't face the challenges and hurdles of an troubled school district?