Expanded Learning Opportunities

Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Afterschool Compendium Release

On Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, edited by Terry K. Peterson, Ph.D., was released at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The compendium includes nearly 70 studies, reports, and commentaries that provide evidence that out of school time opportunities, including after school and during the summer, produce positive outcomes for students, families, and communities and examples of how this work can be supported and improved.

Business-Education Partnerships and College and Career Readiness

The National Academy Foundation (NAF) and the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted a Webinar on January 10th, 2013, entitled College and Career Readiness for All Youth: The Role of Businesses. The event focused on business-education partnerships, specifically those aimed at preparing high school-aged youth for college and career.

What Does the Research Says About Expanded Learning Time Initiatives?

In a recent interview, President Obama said: “We now have our kids go to school about one month less than most advanced countries. And that month makes a difference.” A recent research synthesis, the first on this topic, has shown that there is some research to support expanded learning time initiatives. The authors of the synthesis screened approximately 1,390 studies related to expanded school year and 818 studies related to expanded school day in elementary, middle, and high schools. Due to the limited number of studies published on the topic, the synthesis included studies with varying rigor of their design. The synthesis focused on the 15 studies which included academic outcomes. Of these studies, three included high schools, and the other 12 studies focused only on elementary and middle schools.

Providing Increased Learning Time Opportunities to High School Students

Each year, an increasing number of high schools provide longer school days, longer school years, or partner with community-based organizations for out-of-school academic support to close achievement gaps. This number is expected to keep climbing with the new budget proposed by President Obama, which includes $600 million for School Turnaround Grants (increased learning time is a requirement under SIG).

Increased Learning Time in High School SIG

Increasing learning time is one of the requirements of both the transformation and turnaround models of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) and districts propose fulfilling this requirement in myriad ways. About half of high schools receiving SIG funds are adding minutes to the school day and/or adding days to the school calendar—by design, increasing learning time for all students.

Practical, Actionable Recommendations for High School Policy and Practice

Policymakers and educators at the state, district, and building levels are looking to research and evaluation studies to guide policy and practice decisions. Increasingly, applications for federal and state funding require use of “evidence based” or “research supported” strategies, programs, and reform activities.


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