Extended Learning Time Program

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May 11, 2021, 12:04:39 AM5/11/21
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Dear Los Alamos School Board Members,

My name is Wayne Williams and I am a junior attending Los Alamos High School. Although the school district's integration of the Extended Learning Time Program could theoretically allow for an improved education, I believe that the plan would in actuality inhibit middle school and high school students from gaining more important work and career experience.

I understand that learning is important, but simply increasing the number of school days for the purpose of improving test scores is not as valuable to students as jobs and internships that shape future career readiness. By giving students opportunities to build skills of teamwork and responsibility pertaining to a career rather than school, we can make more knowledgeable decisions about our future job paths.

Like many other students, a busy schedule during the school year forces me to work only during summer break. Fortunately for me, I recently earned a summer internship at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at LANL, where I have the opportunity to develop skills and gain work experience while receiving exposure to a variety of career fields. Replacing this opportunity with additional school hours would steal these benefits from me and from the many other students in similar positions.

However, if we must go forward with the Extended Learning Time Program, there are specific ways to make the additional time valuable to students. Field trips and other forms of learning that go beyond the dullness of textbook-reading are excellent ways to educate middle school and high school students while also giving us displays of possible jobs. Instead of just learning why DNA gel electrophoresis works, let’s see how biologists perform it. Instead of just learning how to calculate angular momentum, let’s see how physicists use it.

Thank you for your consideration,
Wayne Williams

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