Today is the second Monday in July.  Almost every school across the country is deep into their summer breaks and won’t be returning to session for at least another month.  But today is the first day of school at Manual High School in Denver, Colorado.  A school start date this early in the summer is all-too-rare, and it is incredibly encouraging to see Manual High School – recently designated an “innovation school” – take this bold step to expand learning time and ensure their students receive the opportunities inherent in a quality education.

Manual High School’s leadership understands the importance of implementing innovative and meaningful reforms, but they also understand that these reforms can’t work without the time to properly implement them.  That’s why they expanded learning time so significantly. The school will have a 210-day school year with 8 hours per day; this is in contrast to the typical school schedule of 180 days with 6.5 hours per day – that’s more than a 40% increase in time.

They also understand that while additional academic instruction is incredibly important, it isn’t enough – that’s why they are setting aside twenty-five days each year for off-campus excursions and field trips.

Manual High School isn’t alone in this movement to expand time.  Over 1,000 schools across the country have already expanded learning time, and many of them have made extraordinary progress in providing their students, many of whom come from high-poverty communities, with opportunities that never would have been possible with our outdated school calendar.

You can read more about Manual High School’s new expanded schedule here.