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Published: Monday, 7/21/2008

Toledo Public Schools academy principal to speak at conference

Bueter Bueter

Schools across the country could learn a thing or two from Toledo's Grove Patterson Academy, according to a Washington-based think tank.

For nearly 10 years, the districtwide elementary school has educated students the equivalent of about 40 days longer than the traditional school year, with two extra hours each day and several additional days.

"It's not just having extended learning time, but what do you do with it and what's the result," said principal Gretchen Bueter, who has been invited to Washington to speak at 12:30 p.m. today to education and political officials about what her students do with that extra two hours.

For each day's first 90 minutes, Grove Patterson is on "reading lockdown" for uninterrupted instruction. Later on, 30 minutes of class time is reserved daily for foreign-language study, Ms. Bueter said.

About 400 students are enrolled in the kindergarten through eighth-grade school, which is named after a late Blade editor-in-chief. Mr. Patterson died in 1956, four years after the school opened.

Ms. Bueter is one of several panelists for the 2 1/2-hour discussion called "From Status Quo to Breaking the Mold: Schools Expanding Learning time" at the Center for American Progress offices.

Reports also will be released today about research of schools and districts with high poverty and minority students who have extended learning time and the financial costs of incorporating it.

Cynthia Brown, director of education policy for the Center for American Progress, said they are "very impressed" with what Grove Patterson has done and Ms. Bueter will add the perspective of a real practitioner to the conversation.

An education consultant, university research professor, and an adviser to Sen. Ted Kennedy also are on the panel.

About 150 people are expected to attend, Ms. Brown said.

Ms. Bueter said that since the school opened, she has had researchers and various think tanks contacting her about extended learning time, and that the Center for American Progress' work has been in depth and should give a good overview about how schools across the country have incorporated it.

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