Last week, the National Center on Time &Learning (NCTL) released their report Mapping the Field: A Report in Expanded-time School in America, and I was reminded of The Impressions 1965 song:

People get ready there is a train comin’
Don’t need no baggage you just get on board

The report outlines that there are now over 1,000 expanded-time schools in 36 states and the District of Columbia. This growth is not just happening in the charter schools where the movement began, rather district schools now account for 40% of all expanded-time schools compared to 20% in 2009. You can find some of the report’s key findings in this infographic:

            

What the infographic doesn’t tell you is what expanded learning time (ELT) means at a school. As a former teacher in an expanded-time school, I can’t imagine having LESS time with my students. According to the report, the national average of school time is 6.6 hours each day, and with the time needed in core classes, I know just how tight time can be. With an expanded day, I was able to teach 75 minute project-based classes, my students had extra-curricular classes every day (drum, African dance, gym, etc.), and I had collaborative planning time with my colleagues, that type of structure is truly only available when schools expand their learning time.

My experience convinced me to get on board the train. But NCTL took a more scientific approach. Their report outlines the history of expanded learning time, lays out the importance of ELT, and shows how the movement is growing nationally (from 300,000 students in 2009 to 520,000 this year). The methodical and detailed report solidifies my excitement for this type of education reform. The train is coming! As administrators, teachers, parents and students all over the country see the benefits of expanded learning time, not just theoretically, but in schools in their communities, change is going to be hard to ignore.

Katie Fox is a new campaign coordinator for TSC. Before joining TSC, Katie was teaching in Baltimore City Public Schools. We are excited to have her join!