Last week I visited two different schools in Massachusetts that have added time to their school year successfully as part of the MA Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative. The Huntington Elementary School in Brockton, MA is in its third year of ELT and the Edwards Middle School in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood is in its eighth year. Here’s a brief spotlight on the two schools:
The Huntington Elementary K-5 School:
- 93% students receiving free and reduced lunch
- 96% attendance rate
- Mantra: “More time = more learning, if done right”
- In their 2nd year of ELT with an 8-hour 5-minute school day
- Additional time focuses on: ‘Engineering is Elementary’ Curriculum, character education, , community service projects, teacher professional development, interventions, uninterrupted instructional time, university/community collaborations, etc.
- Community Partners include Playworks and Bridgewater State University
- One teacher said: “It still isn’t enough time with the expanded time.”
The Edwards Middle School:
- 89.2% students receiving free & reduced lunch
- In their 8th year of ELT with a 9-hour school day four days a week, with a shorter student day on Fridays which gives teachers time to collaborate
- Community Partners include Citizen Schools, who partners with the school for grade 6 programming
- Additional time focuses on: academics targeted to individual student needs, athletics, musical theater, community service, breakdancing, stepping, swimming, fashion design, community partnerships with colleges, debate, math league, etc.
- One student said: “With Citizen Schools, I find math easier. These expanded hours support everyone.”
- One teacher said: “Education value has been increased since we have more time to learn.”
While each school has differences in their schedules, instructional focus, and the enrichment on which they focus , they both are meeting the needs of their students. The schools are similar in their sense of urgency, their beliefs in the need to deliver each child a well-rounded education, and their continuous adaptation to the needs of their students. Both these schools are great examples of schools that use their expanded-time well to serve all of their students.
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