Manual High School Adds 39 Days, Becomes Longest School Year In District (VIDEO)

Denver's Manual High School students will have a really short summer in 2012. Shortly after the Fourth of July holiday, Manual H.S. students will begin their 2012-2013 school year July 9 through June 14, 2013.


Manual Director of Community Engagement Vernon Jones told The Huffington Post that the school will be adding another hour to their daily schedule by having the new school hours run from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Jones says that though the school is not air-conditioned, the school is working to make sure the environment will be comfortable for staff and students through the July and August months. According to a report by 9News, each room will be equipped with an industrial cooling unit and teachers will be compensated with a 25 percent pay raise to work the longer school year.

The school's new "experiential learning" program that will help fill in the summer curriculum is designed to be grade-specific. Jones elaborates:

Example of possible experiential learning unit for a Manual 10th grader: Students spend 10 weeks in a course studying the civil rights movement. At the end of the 10 weeks they will have an experiential week in the South that takes them to some of the places, allows students and teachers to meet some of the people, and to live what they’ve learned in the classroom for the last 10 weeks.

Manual's elongated school year will have no impact on the DPS budget, according to Jones, since the new model will be sustained by grants and philanthropic partners.


The school has added 39 days to its calendar, officially making it the longest school year in Denver Public Schools, in an effort to continue closing the achievement gap and give students more time with teachers. According to Director of Community Engagement Vernon Jones, 25 days of the now-210 day school year will be dedicated to off-campus "experiential learning" -- at no additional cost to families.

The school day will run from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Jones told the Denver Post that the school is still trying to raise funding for those trips because "money shouldn't be an obstacle" to families.

"Manual has seen solid growth since reopening, and that must be attributed to the commitment and hard work of our students, their families, our staff, and a very supportive community," Manual's new principal Brian Dale said in a statement.

The school is no stranger to adapting to bold changes to bolster student growth. In 2006 Manual was shut down for a year due to poor test scores and dropping enrollment, but since it's reopening, graduated 89 percent of its "first" senior class.

"All students deserve a great school that is willing to courageously confront the challenges that impede their success in college, career, and life. That is who Manual is," Jones said.