Here are some of the most exciting developments in expanding learning time from states and districts across the country in March.
• Last week, New York became the largest state in the country to have a statewide initiative to expand learning time in school. The New York state 2013-2014 budget included a new $20 million competitive grant program for schools that increase learning time by 25 percent with the help. community partnerships. Governor Cuomo made expanding learning time a key priority for struggling New York schools.
• Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released a new study documenting the boost in student achievement seen by charter schools in Massachusetts. The study highlights the schools’ longer schedules as critical to their success as Boston charter schools have an average of 8.2 hours a day while traditional public schools only have 6.1 hours a day.
• The National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) released a case study on Tumbleweed Elementary School in Palmdale, California, the second in a series on schools leveraging federal School Improvement Grants to spark change and innovation. The profile highlights the dramatic gains in student achievement since the school expanded learning time and takes readers inside the school’s turnaround.
• The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation – a TSC supporter – released a report detailing the best practices of the 2012 Public Charter School winner, YES Prep Public School in Houston, Texas. The charter school network has an impressive 100% graduation rate; with an expanded school schedule as one of its key practices.
• Catalyst Chicago announced early this month that they would be participating with four other newspapers across the country in a year-long, multi-city reporting project examining more and better learning time – EdNews Colorado, EdSource Today, Gotham Schools, and Philadelphia Public School Notebook. The collaborative effort was made possible by a grant from our partners, the Ford Foundation.
• The Portland, Maine School Board is looking into significant changes in the school calendar next fall. The School Calendar Steering Committee released a report last Tuesday proposing changes including: a later start time for high school students and expanding the school day. Before making any decisions, the school board scheduled a public hearing night so that all voices in the community can be heard.
• In Missouri, Liberty Public Schools administrators are hoping to flip the classroom experience for students with the introduction of the Learning, Engaging, Achieving and Discovering with Students (LEADS) digital transformation pilot. The goals of the pilot are to increase student engagement, expand learning time, and help students develop a 21st century set of skills through the inclusion of technology.