Colorado among 5 states that will add 300 hours to school year

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DENVER -- A new initiative is seeking to add at least 300 hours to the school year in five states. And Colorado is one of them.

According to the Associated Press, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will all announce plans Monday to take part in the initiative, which is part of a three-year pilot program that is expected to affect almost 20,000 students in 40 schools.

So far, nine Colorado schools have said they will add hours. STEM 3-8 Magnet School (opening in 2013-14), Angevine Middle School, Centaurus High School, Pioneer Elementary School, Sanchez Elementary School, Godsman Elementary School, Kepner Middle School, Pennington Elementary School and North Arvada Middle School.

The Associated Press has reported it will be the individuals schools that will make the final decisions about whether or not to enroll in the program.

According to the report, this new program is aiming to serve low-income communities that are lacking in educational enrichment, including opportunities in the arts and music as well as individualized help and opportunities for more work in math and science disciplines.

The funding for the new program will come from a mix of federal, state and district funds.

This push will likely be supported by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who has long advocated for a longer school day. He says students in the U.S. lag behind their peers in terms of achievement due to a lack of time in the classroom.

Some schools in China and India are open six or seven days per week and run for 11 or 12 months out of the year.