Today’s blog is written by Chelsea Murphy, TSC’s new Digital Media Associate.

As the new Digital Media Associate I realize I’ve been asking others to become signatories to the Time to Succeed Coalition without explaining why I became one.

Mandarin Art LearningHaving grown up with grandparents who were teachers and stressed the importance of education, I was fortunate to have had a great public schooling education and the support and opportunity to excel. I know this isn’t the case for every child and I am passionate about creating equal educational opportunities for every child. Aligned with this I believe that expanding school time is one of the ways in which children, especially in high-poverty communities, gain the resources and opportunities to prepare for success in college and careers.

MLK Jr. K-5 school expanded learning schedule

A look at an expanded school day schedule.

I recently visited three Massachusetts expanded learning time schools, where I could see the impact that more time has had on their students and teachers. Through redesigning and adding more to the school day, it has helped the schools start other reform conversations and support an atmosphere of positive change. Guilmette Elementary School and Wetherbee Middle Schools in Lawrence have added really cool targeted “intervention” class periods where students have more time with specific core subjects they are struggling. In addition, students also have time for elective classes to explore further interests like guitar lessons, cheerleading, and cooking to name a few. Martin Luther King, Jr. K-5 Elementary School in Cambridge has been able to add similar type classes called “explorations” to the schedule in addition to a Mandarin Chinese immersion program. More time has helped both teachers and students get the resources they need. More time has enabled individualized instruction, deeper curricula, innovative and creative learning, and countless more choice and opportunities for the students. After these school visits my support for expanded learning is reinforced.

As a group of TSC Signatories, we all may have different opinions on various topics in education, but we all believe in the tremendous impact expanded learning time can have on teaching and learning. Are you passionate about closing the achievement gap and giving equal education to all children? The mission of the coalition is simple: to inspire and motivate communities across the country to add more learning time as part of a redesigned school day and year, enabling children everywhere to get the education they need to succeed. Sign up to become a Signatory today.