Our thoughts go out to all those who have been impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy this week, including TSC Signatories Mayors Bloomberg and Booker, who are leading impressive recovery efforts in their cities.

Here’s what happened in October:

ELT News

Iowa Education Task Force Pushes for Calendar Innovation
The 19-member group, tasked by the Iowa Legislature to study issues such as the school start date, the length of the school day and school year, and after-school programming, announced their formal recommendations and pilot proposal to the state Board of Education, Gov. Terry Branstad and the state legislature last month.
Extend School Day in Rochester City Classrooms
The school year in Rochester city schools is currently limited to 180 days, compared to 195 days at charter schools, such as Rochester Prep. Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas’ proposal to expand learning two-and-a-half-hours in class each school day is supported by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in this editorial.
LIFT Considers Year-Round School
The North Carolina state legislature passed a law allowing for nine schools in west Charlotte to lengthen their school days, but did not authorize any additional funding to pay for the extra costs. Project LIFT, a philanthropic initiative composed of leaders from Charlotte’s largest community and family foundations, have pooled resources—amounting to $55 million— and are beginning discussions with the community to support expanded learning time in those schools. The school board will vote on the plan in December.
On Time
Marc Tucker, president and CEO of the National Center on Education & the Economy, writes in Education Week about how much time students across the world are spending in school. Tucker highlights the conversations about the 10,000 hour-rule, stemming from research by neurologist Daniel Levitin and made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. While there are lessons there for students, Tucker writes, teachers too can draw from the lesson of time for their own practice. Time matters, he concludes, especially when put into disciplined practice.

TSC Signatories Speaking Out

VIDEO: Longer School Days: Do They Improve Student Performance?
Expanding learning time was in the spotlight on HuffPost Live this month. Eric Schwarz, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools, shared how Citizen Schools works with schools around the country to provide greater opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning during the longer school day.
Arts Education to get More Emphasis Under Emanuel School Plan
For the first time, under a plan by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the number of art forms offered by Chicago Public Schools would be expanded to include visual art, music, dance and drama at all grade levels. Also in the plan, CPS would elevate the arts to the level of a “core subject,” with 120 minutes of dedicated weekly instruction for elementary students and “at least one certified, full-time employee” at every school.
Erosion of Reading Scores has TPS Mulling Calendar Changes
Tulsa Superintendent Keith Ballard told his school board that he wants to look at the district’s Continuous Learning Calendar to see what opportunities there may be to expand learning time for students both in the classroom and through technology. Superintendent Ballard plans to engage with teachers, parents, and community members to get their input on any proposed changes.
Time is on the Students’ Side
The Boston Globe recently praised a decision by the Boston Public Schools to partner with Unlocking Potential (UP), led by Scott Given, to take-over the Marshall Elementary School beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. The Globe cited UP’s expanded-time schedule as a necessary component that ensures that all students have time for both stronger academics and a well-rounded education. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Superintendent Carol Johnson are both supporters of expanding learning time.