With first day of FCAT testing underway, Alachua County schools have a lot riding on the standardized test scores.
Public schools that consecutively recieve low grades could be required to redistribute students to other schools or close and reopen as a charter school.
In response to last year’s low scores, several Alachua County schools extended the school day by an hour for more FCAT preparations.
Diana Lagotic, director of elementary curriculum at Alachua County Public Schools, said the longer school days was a state funded decision. Schools found out about the extended time in middle of the summer last year, Lagotic said.
For the lower scoring schools, Lagotic said that the state brings in reading, math, science and data experts to help with teaching strategies.
“We want all of our schools to be competitive with the state,” she said. “We want all of our children to be successful.”
Lagotic said the experts are an extra set of hands who help instructors evaluate students’ needs and give suggestions on how to address them.
“Anytime you can get additional experts it is going to help the teachers grow, and it’s going to help the students,” she said.
Lagotic said she doesn’t know if the extra hour a day will happen again for the next FCAT.
“We really probably won’t know anything until after the grades come out and we see what state plans to do,” she said.
Alexa Volland wrote this story online.