Middle school students who struggle to complete their homework on time could attend an optional hour at the end of the school day to receive additional instruction from a rotating pool of teachers, under a pilot program heard today by the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

“This is based on a program that’s been working great in our district, helping students improve their grades and retention of knowledge,” said Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah and the sponsor of Senate Bill 5657. “If you find an idea that works, it just makes sense to make it available to kids in other school districts across the state.”

Mullet’s proposed Seventh Period Program would pay for two teachers to stay after school for an hour to assist students referred by their teachers or principals or who voluntarily opt into the program. The cost for a middle school with 960 is just $9,000 for a school year. The program focuses on middle school students because that is when many students begin to fall behind their peers.

The program would be funded through a competitive grant process managed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to teachers who take turns providing instruction during the additional period. Funds may also be used to provide regional transportation for students who participate in the program.

“This might not be suitable for all districts, but no one has to participate who doesn’t want to,” Mullet said. “It’s really just a terrific option for school districts that think it will deliver the same strong results we’ve seen in Issaquah.”