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Hynes shuffles middle school schedules to boost reading scores

Middle school students at Edward Hynes Charter School will soon spend more of their day focused on reading.

While 88 percent of the school’s students are already demonstrating mastery on the school’s quarterly assessments, Principal Michelle Douglas said the plan is to continue to strive for excellence.

“We want to keep picking at it (reading scores) until we’re at 100 percent. We’re very, very proud of our teachers and parents who are working really hard,” Douglas said at a March 18 board of director’s meeting.

Beginning next school year, Hynes will implement a plan to lengthen English Language Arts instruction by shortening the time spent on math. Smaller reading groups and “training all staff in best practices for reading strategies” are also part of the change.

The state requires that students spend 55 to 60 minutes a day studying math, and according to Douglas, the school has been overshooting that allotment with 90 minutes a day. She also said that Hynes’ math instructors feel they can be just as efficient with less time, as they often finish classes early.

Once the new format is in place, English Language Arts time blocks will go from the current 90 minutes to just under two hours.

This adjustment comes as Douglas noted a “slight dip” in sixth grade reading scores, and described the switch as part of annual “tweaks” to constantly improve how the school educates.

The Hynes enrollment lottery was held Feb. 28, and letters have been sent to families whose numbers were chosen. Nine hundred and forty numbers were selected, and the school continues to take applications. Applicants will be put on a waiting list in the order they were received.

In financial business, John Gaudry, chief financial officer, told the board it will cost about $14,700 to have this year’s audit and federal income taxes completed. The board voted unanimously to retain the law firm Silva Gurtner & Abney for both services for a price not to exceed $15,000.

The meeting lasted 25 minutes and present board members were Alvin Miester, Barbara Richard, Timothy Ryan, April Bedford, Cassandra Youmans and Helene Derbigny.

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 29 at 5 p.m. in the library.

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