The buses are back, and so are the eager faces on board. New backpacks, new shoes, and new hours for a new school!
"Exciting, I wanna see it real bad."
School 17 on Orchard Street in Rochester is newly renovated. With an expanded time grant, two hours have been added to the day.
"We've been working night and day to put a world-class educational program within its walls," said Dr. Ralph Spezio, principal.
The classrooms are equipped with smart boards, learning centers, and a full-competition gymnasium.
"This school will be the center of an urban village, and we have wrap around services to make sure children are emotionally ready," Spezio said.
Expanded learning time means redesigning the school day, as teachers and administrators work to balance both core academics and enrichment activities.
"If we don't do that, then the after school enrichment programs are just gloried babysitting, so we need to tie everything to the common core standards and that's exactly what we're going to do."
Although some parents are skeptical about the longer day, some believe it has its benefits.
I'm encouraged about anything that's done to stimulate their learning. I mean, learning is very important in our country, I mean, if we cheat our children out of learning, then our future is damaged," said parent Malcolm Taaffe.
"For me, it's good because my girl she needs a little help with school, with homework and stuff because she's a little slow," said parent Christina Thillet.
Expanded hours may not only lead to extra help with homework and projects. It may help students strengthen their skills and make the grade when it comes to meeting state standards.
"This is a model that I believe with all my heart can be a state model and perhaps a national one at that," Spezio said.