It's the first experiment of its kind in the city — and maybe the country. At a public school in Queens, teachers are working four days a week. NY1's education reporter, Lindsey Christ, explains in this exclusive report.
At Goldie Maple Academy in Far Rockaway, students — and teachers — have a long day. School begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 4:35 p.m. — two hours later than dismissal last year.
"The longer day is kind of tiring for teachers and for us, but I also think that it helps students get prepared," said student Afra Saiful.
To give students a longer day, teachers have to work longer days, too.
But there's an upside for Spanish teacher Deonne Rose and her colleagues.
"I have Fridays off," Rose said.
While students attend class five days a week, each teacher has a four-day week.
The principal says she's able to do this without adding staff or paying teachers more.
"We realized that we could take the same amount of time that a teacher would work in five days and collapse it down to four," Logan-Smith said.
It requires a complex schedule — rather than have one teacher all day students, from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, have different teachers for each subject, like in high school.
"We did not find another school in the country that actually has five days where the students were working — or going to school — and the teachers were only working four," Logan-Smith said.
Each class period has been extended and every student takes Spanish, theater, music and art classes.
The new schedule was developed by a committee of teachers working with the principal. It then had to be approved by at least 65% of the union members in the school.
It's part of a program Mayor Bill de Blasio and the teachers union launched to let some schools to experiment with changes normally forbidden by the union's contract.
"We all play a part in how it looks and that helps us to feel better about it," said theater teacher Solomon Bennett.
The unusual schedule didn't work for everyone, some teachers transferred to other schools.
Many students say they're learning more, but the long day can be exhausting.
"Most of the time it's fun but not all the time," said student Miracle Hubbard. "Sometimes I get pretty bored and I just like to use the bathroom and refresh my batteries and then come back to class and get back to work."