I spent last week on the road, so I took along some good plane reading – the Center for Education Policy’s (CEP) new reports on the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. The authors looked at three components of the SIG program in their three reports: increasing learning time; reconstituting a school with new leadership and staff; and implementing a new school climate. It’s no surprise that I had a particular interest in the findings on increasing learning time.
The authors found that officials in a majority of the states surveyed said that increasing learning time is a key element – to some or to a great extent – in improving achievement in SIG-funded schools. The report then goes on to look more deeply at the implementation of increased learning time in three states – Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho. What they found was that the model for implementing increased learning time varied – some schools added more time for all students or targeted the time at the students who needed it most. In Idaho, the department of education made it clear that their priority for increasing learning time was on ensuring that the time was well spent.
The increase in federal resources to allow for states to increase learning time, and to do it in the way that makes the most sense for them, has been interesting to watch. We know that there have been bumps in the road in implementing the additional time, but it is heartening to know that the conversations are taking place all around the nation. We hope to see more schools ensure their current time is being used well or thoughtfully add time to their school schedule. We are always looking for more models to highlight!