Are 5th and 6th graders at the Stem Academy going to school 90 hours a year less than other Middle School students?

STEM Academy

I understand there is a “space crunch” in the middle school grades and that busing cost the City money and that because of the Superintendent we don’t have a dedicated transportation director but it should never effect the students.

The Stem Academy at the Rogers School goes from PreK-6th and the hours are
Early Bell: 9:10
Tardy Bell: 9:25
Dismissal Bell: 3:30. 6 hours 10 minutes

However most other Middle Schools and their 5th and 6th graders have 30 minutes more of School. The Robinson for example has these hours

Early Bell: 7:20
Tardy Bell: 7:35
Dismissal Bell: 2:10 6 hours 40 minutes

The Wang School has these hours

Early Bell: 8:00
Tardy Bell: 8:15
Dismissal Bell: 2:50 6 hours 40 minutes

A parent whose student attends a middle school but neighbors have students at the STEM pointed the irregularity out to me.

While I believe if I am reading the Law correctly, this is “allowable” as long has the students get a min. of 900 hours a year, to me it highlights the confusion surrounding this administration. Why would you support offering a few students 90 hours a year less in education time?

The issue I have with this School Committee and Administration, lack of attention to details and follow up. Most 5th and 6th graders get a half hour a day more but kids in a dedicated S.T.E.M program can get by on 30 minutes less? 2.5 hours a week or 90 hours a year less than 5th and 6th graders at other Lowell Schools?

If you look at other schools that have both elementary and “middle school” students they have a split schedule. The Pyne Art for instance has these hours.

Early Bell: 8:40 (5-8), 9:10 (PreK-4)
Tardy Bell: 8:55 (5-8), 9:25 (PreK-4)
Dismissal Bell: 3:30
Grades: PreK – 8

or the Bartlett School, which has these hours.
Early Bell: 7:20 (5-8), 7:50 (K-4)
Tardy Bell: 7:35 (5-8), 8:05 (K-4)
Dismissal Bell: 2:10

Grades: PreK – 8

I’ll email the School Dept today to see if they have an explanation or if there is a plan in place to correct.

Does the fact that 5th and 6th grade teachers at the Stem work 2.5 hours a week less than a 5th and 6th grade teacher at another school seem unfair and open the system to another unfair labor practice?

Maybe the Superintendent can call his new buddy Councilor Mercier and get her to submit a motion requesting the Manager find another approx. $115,600 for (2) buses a day for the rest of the school year to transport these students along with the $250,000 he already “promised” and give them the same number of hours the other students in 5th and 6th grade citywide receive?


Published by Lowell School Committeeman Gerry Nutter

I've been interested in Schools since I worked at the Greater Lowell Tech and substitute taught in Dracut. I've followed the finances and issues with the Lowell School for the past 8 years while blogging and contributing to Saturday Morning Live! Currently serving my 1st term.

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1 Comment

  1. The STEM Academy. Do these students actually need this in classroom time or are they able to utilize the time better doing homework, self-study (by this point in my life I was a library hound, trying to not let school interfere with my education) or physical activity?

    Regards — Cliff

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