Expanded Learning Time
At the St. Paul School Board meeting earlier this week, a number of parents, educators and community members showed up to weigh in on an issue the district has grappled with for years and suddenly seems poised to act on: whether to shift to later start times for most middle and high school students.
The boys (and girls) are back in town. For class, that is.
See how forced that lede was? Back-to-school reporting can take on a similar tinge of predictability, with journalists wondering how an occasion as locked in as the changing of the seasons can be written about with the freshness of spring.
Recently some of the beat’s heavy hitters dished with EWA’s Emily Richmond about ways newsrooms can take advantage of the first week of school to tell important stories and cover overlooked issues.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
Students in the band at Largo High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, may not all speak the same language, but that difference doesn’t stop them from making music together.
Armando Trull took listeners inside the after-school band program this week in a story for WAMU, in which one student told him it’s OK that some of the students don’t speak English, because “music is the universal language.”
Faced with massive budget cuts in the wake of the recession, many Idaho school districts switched to a four-day weekly calendar. But more than seven years into the experiment, an investigation by Idaho Education News – lead by reporter Kevin Richert — found little evidence that the schedule change improved either student achievement or the fiscal outlook of cash-strapped districts.
U.S. GAO – K-12 Education: Federal Funding for and Characteristics of Public Schools with Extended Learning Time
The U.S. Department of Education primarily supports extended learning time for K-12 public schools through the School Improvement Grants program (SIG). The SIG program, with an average 3-year grant of $2.6 million, is the only Education program that provides funds specifically to establish extended learning time in schools, according to Education. Nearly 1,800 schools that received SIG funds (about 94 percent of SIG schools) were required to extend learning time under the SIG program for school years 2010-2011 through 2014-2015.
The school’s computer-based approach could be replicated across the state if education reformers appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal get their way. There’s no conclusive evidence that it works better than traditional methods, but there is a growing group of proponents in other states. Many wonder whether it will prove too expensive, widening the gap between schools that can and cannot afford it, but advocates say it doesn’t have to be costly.
Third-grader Tiffani Cruz has been going to bed early on Friday nights because lately, it’s become a school night.
She and other Normandy students are hitting the books on Saturday mornings, spending three hours at school during the weekend to get extra help on math and English language arts. It’s part of a new program for Normandy students this year to increase learning and improve test scores in a district that is ranked at the bottom in the state.
The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.
Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.
For the first time, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging education policymakers to start middle and high school classes later in the morning to improve the odds of adolescents getting sufficient sleep to thrive both physically and academically.
Some art teachers are protesting as Los Angeles Unified expands a plan to provide arts education to more students by shortening the time spent on each subject. Under the plan, elementary students would receive nine weeks of instruction in each of four art forms — visual arts, theater, music and dance. Historically, these were taught in longer increments of up to one year. The program, known as the Creative Network Pilot, launched last year in 31 schools and will expand this fall to an additional 10 schools. Third to sixth-graders take part in the program.
For more than 30 years, Education Commission of the States has tracked instructional time and frequently receives requests for information about policies and trends. In this Education Trends report, Education Commission of the States addresses some of the more frequent questions, including the impact of instructional time on achievement, variation in school start dates, and trends in school day and year length.
With many cities showing an interest in afterschool system building and research providing a growing body of useful information, this Wallace Perspective offers a digest of the latest thinking on how to build and sustain an afterschool system, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for this promising work. The report (a follow-up to a 2008 Perspective) focuses on the four components of system building that the most current evidence and experience suggest are essential:
With many cities showing an interest in afterschool system building and research providing a growing body of useful information, this Wallace Perspective offers a digest of the latest thinking on how to build and sustain an afterschool system, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for this promising work. The report (a follow-up to a 2008 Perspective) focuses on the four components of system building that the most current evidence and experience suggest are essential.
Laptops chimed as students played a game designed to teach them the basics of geometry inside a fourth grade classroom at the Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center on the south side of Chicago. Large paper mobiles of various geometric shapes hung from the ceiling and a list of classroom jobs for each student was posted on the wall.
Unlike in the movie “Field of Dreams,” just building after-school and summer programs offers no mystical guarantee that students “will come.”
Access is a huge issue – not just transportation to the programs, although that is a challenge. The types of programs offered, if students perceive them as having value, and whether students and their parents even know what’s available in their communities are things to consider.
School is out, and you’re sitting in your office wondering what to write about. EWA can help!
On Tuesday, June 9, EWA held a webinar on summer learning with literacy experts Sarah Pitcock of the National Summer Learning Association and Judy Blankenship Cheatham of Reading Is Fundamental.
When Superintendent Bolgen Vargas wanted to extend the school day in the Rochester City School District, a low-income, low-performing district in New York, he waded through research and reached out for guidance. “We wanted to do this, but we wanted to make sure it wasn’t another flavor of the month,” Vargas said at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar.
EWA’s 68th National Seminar kicks off today in Chicago, and it’s going to be a fantastic three days of discussions, workshops, and site visits. The theme this year is Costs and Benefits: The Economics of Education. Be sure to keep tabs on all the action via the #EWA15 hashtag on Twitter.
How do teachers and parents determine whether school reform is effective? Hint: it’s not all about test scores.
Reporter Katrina Schwartz focuses on classroom innovations for KQED San Francisco’s Mindshift education blog, which is produced in partnership with NPR.
She spoke to EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn about sifting through the buzzwords, what attracts her to a potential education story, and why anecdotal evidence is worth considering when evaluating school and student performance.
As many states dig out from yet another winter storm, school districts are struggling to keep the academic calendar – and student learning – from being derailed as a result of record numbers of snow days.
But increasingly, educators are using technology to turn campus closures into opportunities for students to complete academic assignments on their own.
Over at EWA Radio, my colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn and I talked with Boston Globe education reporter Jamie Vaznis about a plan to expand learning time in that city’s elementary and middle schools. The Globe did its own analysis of a pilot program to add time to the academic calendar, and found mixed results.
Grappling with achievement gaps between their rich and poor students, a growing number of schools and districts are resolving to add more minutes or days to the academic calendar, and Boston has emerged as a leader in this trend.
In a union vote Wednesday, Boston teachers approved the school district’s plan to add 40 minutes to the K-8 instructional day at more than 50 campuses, a move experts say could help improve the quality of classroom instruction, boost student learning, and yield long-term benefits to the wider community.
Expanded Learning Time: A Summary of Findings from Case Studies in Four States
Center on Education Policy
Many low-performing schools across the nation have increased learning time in response to federal requirements for the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. The conditions governing federal waivers of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) also require certain schools to redesign the school day, week, or year to include additional time for student learning and teacher collaboration. Furthermore, the waivers allow greater flexibility to redirect certain federal funding streams toward increased learning time.
IT’S ABOUT TIME draws on a statewide survey to examine how learning time is distributed across California high schools. The survey, conducted by UCLA IDEA during the 2013-2014 school year, included a representative sample of nearly 800 teachers. Survey findings highlight inequalities in the amount of time available for learning across low and high poverty High Schools. Community stressors and chronic problems with school conditions lead to far higher levels of lost instructional time in high poverty high schools.
After spending more than $3.5 billion on a program to improve chronically low-performing schools — only to see mixed results — the Obama administration is proposing major revisions to the menu of turnaround efforts that low-performing schools can undertake to qualify for funding under the program.
Students pay dearly for a long summer break from school: On average, they return in the fall a month behind where they were at the close of the prior academic year, and kids from low-income households typically slip even further.
Using standardized test scores as the main measure of educational achievement is not enough to capture the complexity of a student’s or school’s needs, challenges, and successes. Leveraging Time for School Equity: Indicators to Measure More and Better Learning Time presents a new set of comprehensive, rich, and meaningful measures of what matters to students, schools, and systems.
The summer slide doesn’t just pertain to flagging academic skills while kids soak in the sun and skip the books. Increasingly, even as math and literacy fall by the wayside, high school students are losing out on access to summer wages.
So as the July heat kicks in, we started wondering about the whole idea. What, exactly, is summer school? How much does it cost? And, the biggest question, does it work? In a nutshell, we have no idea. “It’s been one of my pet peeves for years,” says Kathy Christie, vice president of knowledge and information management at the nonprofit Education Commission of the States. She says there’s never been a push for anyone to collect data on summer school. As a result there isn’t really good information about any of those questions above.
Our July 16 webinar examined the heavy price tag of leisure time. Watch it on demand.
The nation’s public school teachers love their jobs, despite feeling underappreciated by society and facing enormous challenges in the workplace, according to a new international survey of educators.
Our topics pages are the best place to start if you’re working on a story and need essential background, or ideas for digging deeper. Whether it’s classroom technology at the K-12 level or college affordability, we’ve got you covered.
Mounting concerns over persistently underperforming schools have sparked a renewed interested in increasing the amount of time that children spend in school. Time and Learning in Schools takes the first step towards filling the need for more information on time allocation practices in our nation’s schools. The authors use data from the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) to measure variation in time practices across the nation’s traditional public, private and charter schools.
This report is a research evaluation of the Apollo 20 initiative in the Houston school district, performed by Harvard EdLabs. Apollo 20 lengthened the school day at select, underperforming schools in their district in 2010.
This New York City-based foundation has put significant funding into expanded learning. The foundation heads up with TIME Collaborative with National Center on Teaching and Learning.
This nonprofit organization, based in Providence, R.I., runs city-wide after-school programs and expanded learning efforts. It is currently partnering with the local school district on an ELT initiative.
This intermediary organization, based in New York City, advises after-school programs and expanded learning schools. It heads up a three-city expanded learning time initiative, among other efforts.
This Boston-based nonprofit partners with high needs middle schools throughout the country to implement ELT.
This Boston-based nonprofit organization advocates for expanded learning time at the federal and state levels
Learning doesn’t stop when the last bell of the day rings, but for most communities, money to support after-school activities is tight.
The largest federal grant program dedicated to learning outside of class – after school, before school and during summers – is roughly only $1.15 billion for the entire nation, for instance. The AfterSchool Alliance, an advocacy group, notes that of all the money spent on education outside of normal school hours, Uncle Sam only kicks in about a tenth. Parents, meanwhile, contribute three-quarters of the dollars spent in total.
The report, a joint effort of the National Center on Time and Learning and the Center for American Progress, looks at how high-performing expanded-time schools give teachers more time for ongoing professional development and collaboration needed to implement the Common Core standards.
The report includes recommendations for policymakers and educators.
This report profiles five Expanded Learning Time and out-of-school time programs—Bell, TASC’s ExpandED, Citizen Schools, Higher Achievement, Horizon’s National— drawing conclusions on successful practices and strategies, as well as challenges.
The Wallace Foundation is a national philanthropy, based in New York City, that aims to improve the educational opportunities for disadvantaged students. The foundation has invested heavily in research and resources aimed at improving the positive effect principals can have on school and student performance. They have also put significant funding toward expanded learning, summer learning, and after-school.
This report examines how 10 middle schools expanded the school day with Citizen Schools and the results/impact.
Just a few years ago, school districts around the country were slashing summer classes as the economic downturn eviscerated their budgets. Now, despite continuing budgetary challenges, districts are re-envisioning summer school as something more than a compulsory exercise where students who need to make up lost credits fight to stay awake inside humid classrooms.
While students are celebrating the start of the long summer break, there’s a significant tradeoff for the three months of leisure – on average, students will return to school in the fall a month behind where they performed in the spring. And the learning loss is even greater for low-income students who were already behind their more affluent peers. In this EWA Webinar, we examine how districts are successfully combating summer learning loss with high-quality programs and leveraging community partnerships to help pay for them.
Findings from the first year of the TASC ExpandED schools in Baltimore, New York, and New Orleans
From President Obama to his Education Secretary Arne Duncan, down to states like New York and Arizona, there’s a push to make public school day longer. The costs, however, could be prohibitively expensive. So, a handful of public schools are experimenting with making it affordable.
Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states announced Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.
A growing group of education advocates is agitating for more time in schools, arguing that low-income children in particular need more time to catch up as schools face increasing pressure to improve student test scores.
Over 80 studies of Expanded Learning Time initiatives are analyzed in this report, which argues that evidence is limited on the benefits of ELT, but it could show promising, early results.
By the time summer’s over, many families can’t wait for school to start. Working parents have struggled to find camps or babysitting, kids are bored and teachers fret over “summer slide” – the academic losses that research shows hits kids from poor families hardest.
A review of key research and practice.
If less time in the classroom is a cause of poor student performance, can adding more time be the cure? This strategy underlies a major effort to fix the nation’s worst public schools. Billions of federal stimulus dollars are being spent to expand learning time on behalf of disadvantaged children. And extended learning time (ELT) is being proposed as a core strategy for school turnaround.
This report stems from a convening of education stakeholders to discuss expanded learning as a strategy for school reform.
Expanded Learning Time by the Numbers: The Traditional School Calendar Is Failing to Meet Many Students’ Needs
This brief discusses the need for Expanded Learning Time by examining data on the achievement gap, challenges with the traditional length of the school day, and profiles of successful ELT models.
This research report draws conclusions on what approaches work best in out-of-school time programs to yield the most significant impacts on student outcomes.