Last month we invited our signatories to contribute to the TSC blog answering one simple question: “Why should schools expand learning time?” Today’s submission is from Will Austin, Chief Operating Officer for Uncommon Schools in Boston. 

At Roxbury Prep and throughout Uncommon Schools, extended academic time has been one of the critical levers in reversing the racial achievement gap.

By lengthening our school days and offering additional periods of literacy and math for all students, Roxbury Prep adds over 10 weeks of instructional time for Boston students. 10 weeks.

But we all know that these 10 weeks of time are not ends unto themselves – they are means. An extended day is just as critical for the adults as it is for the children in schools. Aside from more classes and tutoring, additional time allows for professional development, collaborative work, and teacher coaching.

Extended day in our schools has become so commonplace that we risk ignoring its significance. Time creates the conditions for the outstanding teaching and student culture that drives achievement.

Will Austin is the Chief Operating Officer for Uncommon Schools, Boston.  A former math teacher and Co-Director of Roxbury Prep, Austin was central to the successful rise of Roxbury Prep as one of the highest-performing public schools in Massachusetts, and now is working to manage its replication to a network of schools in Boston.