EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 11, 2013

Lawrence schools partner with enrichment programs to extend school day


Guilmette Elementary has 586 students. On Fridays from 12:45 to 2:30 p.m., all third and fourth graders go to the Boys and Girls Club for robotics, yoga, dance, sports, digital arts, creative arts, chorus, swimming and karate. First and second graders stay at school where they participate in soccer, music, dance, art, author studies, storytelling, boxing, and science.

While third- and fourth-graders are at the club, their teachers attend workshops, meet with fellow teachers to plan lessons

“They are learning how to leverage their time and strategies for a curriculum to benefit each child,” managing director, school and district support for National Center on Time and Learning, Colleen Beaudoin said. “This has the potential for being a model program.”

“The first week, we didn’t know who was smiling more, the teachers or the kids,” Butterfield said.

Different schools used the time in different ways, but one of the key focuses has been adding enrichment programs.

Berente Lopez and Nivon Walsek, both fourth graders at Guilmette are thrilled about going to the Boys and Girls Club one day a week.

Lopez had just participated in a all-girl discussion about good and bad influences.

“It was a really nice talk with friends and people I trust,” Lopez said. “I listened to the advice and learned there’s a difference between a good friend and a bad friend.”

Walsek likes building robots as he did on a recent Friday.

“This is my favorite part of being here, learning how to build a robot. I learned how to use wires and make something out of nothing,” he said.

“They will be using these skills throughout their lives,” said Mary Toomey, who is helping implement the extended learning time across the district. “The more time they have at school, the better chances we’ll have to provide them with a well-rounded education.”

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