RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - The New Year is bringing some big changes for students at Riviera Beach Maritime Academy. This week, they became the first students in Palm Beach County to have a four day school week.
While it may sound like students are getting a break, spending one less day in the classroom each week means students will have to work even harder when they are in school. Students and school officials feel they're up to the challenge.
From eight in the morning to three in the afternoon, Monday through Thursday, Maritime Academy students will focus on the classroom.
"You don't have as much time in the classroom,” admitted Jessica Lawler, a senior at Maritime Academy, “but everything's accelerated now. It's put on the students more to do their best when they're in school."
Jessica said the new schedule will give her and her classmates more time to spend working in the marine industry, something they're already preparing for at Maritime Academy.
“During turtle season, I work on the beach early in the morning, counting all the turtle nests,” she said. “Having an extra day off allows me to spend more time on the beach without having to race to school. It saves me a lot of time.”
With less time in the classroom, Tonya Hicks-Brown, the school’s principal, said students will have more time for internships, job shadowing and continuing their education; however, she said they’ll also have to be very serious about every class they take.
“They will still have some time and opportunity to work one on one with the teacher in the classroom, but there will probably be a greater expectation on our students because with a four day work week, tightening is necessary,” she said.
With only 150 students, it may be easier for Riviera Beach Maritime Academy to see how well the program will work and allow other Palm Beach County schools to see if they want to follow their example.
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