ANAHEIM, Calif. — The school day is getting longer, but it’s not for everyone. In Anaheim, some schools don’t close just because class is finished.
Last Wednesday was a late pickup from school for Mirtha Noss because her 11-year-old daughter Alice was staying late to work on a school play. It also provided a few more hours for Noss to do her work-from-home gig in peace.
“Honestly, I love having my kids at home, but it does help. It really does help having them here,” Noss said.
Alice is one of hundreds of students choosing to stay late; others are coming to school early, stretching the traditional six-hour school day into close to nine hours.
“With the pandemic that affected a lot of these kids’ lives, so for my kids, especially my sixth grader, she’s trying to get in as many activities as possible so I’m here a lot,” Noss said.
The Anaheim Elementary School District serves approximately 17,000 students at 24 schools.
All schools in the district are staying open several hours longer, giving all kids the option to spend more time at school. It’s not just a babysitting service. There are things to do: sports, music, tutoring and, of course, snacks.
The Expanded Learning Opportunities Program is derived from Assembly Bill 130. After the governor signed it, millions of dollars poured into the district at the start of the academic year.
It took Dr. Yadira Moreno, the director of schools, family and community engagement, a couple months to figure out how to adjust the schedules of dozens of buildings and hundreds of people.
“That is really part of the special magic of a school building, that kids feel safe here, kids enjoy being here,” Moreno said.
Alice is making up for lost time as these are her last few months at Adelaide Price Elementary School.
“I think they realize how much they miss school without really realizing, to see them really brighten up and realize you know this is kind of fun, but I’m not going to let my parents know,” Alice said.
The school day is no longer just what happens between the first and last bells.
This summer’s academic program for the district also will be extended an additional 30 days to further assist families and students.