Gulfside, Lacoochee and R.B. Cox will get more school time for student to work on their reading skills.

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Holiday, Florida -- Parents filled the lunchroom at Gulfside Elementary School on Wednesday night to hear about the district's plan to add an hour of instruction to the day due to low scores on the FCAT.

Gulfside in Holiday is one of the three elementary schools -- including Lacochee and R.B. Cox -- that scored poorly on the reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. So, the state requjires the schools add the hour of instruction.

The school dismissed students at 3:45 p.m. last year, but this year that will happen at 4:40 p.m., and that creates hardships for parents.

"It affects everything. It changes dinner time, bath time, homework time, everything," said parent Nadine Ward.

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Fourth- and fifth-graders who didn't score a level 5 on the reading portion of the FCAT must participate in the extended schedule.

Teachers and administrators know this will probably be a difficult adjustment, so they're using a new computer program -- i-Ready -- that they hope will be fun for the students. The program performs diagnostics while students learn and will adjust intuitively to each student's educational development and needs.

Parents get briefed on longer school days for three elementaries that need to work on reading skills.

"i-Ready is an online platform that will allow students to learn at their own pace. It's interesting and fun, and they will be using laptops. They can do the program in the classroom and at home, so it's really 24/7 learning," said Beth Brown, Learning Community executive director for southwest Pasco schools.

The county has scheduled more information nights for parents:

-- Gulfside Elementary: 6 p.m. Thursday at Weston Oaks Apartments, 1251 Weston Oaks Drive, Holiday.

-- Lacoochee Elementary: 6 p.m. Thursday at the school, 38815 Cummer Road, Dade City.

-- R.B. Cox Elementary: 6 p.m. Monday, at the school, 37615 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Dade City.

For additional information on the extended school hours, visit the Pasco County schools website.

Check FCAT scores

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