earth day_ expanded learning newsHappy Friday! Did you see it was Earth Day this week? Some schools were awarded for being “green schools,” recognized for their conservation of resources, healthy living and learning environments, and their commitment to education for sustainability. You can read about the honorees here.

Here is the recap of this week’s expanded learning time (ELT) news:

The Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation School Board has adopted a longer school day for elementary school students in Evansville, Indiana next year. All elementary schools will add 35 minutes to each day. EVSC Superintendent David Smith says lengthening the school day will provide more time for focused instruction and provide more tailored teaching and supports for all students. It also allows teachers more time to collaborate, share data and plan how curriculum will be taught.

In Salem, MA,  Collins Middle School, part of the TIME Collaborative, also seeks a longer school day for next year. They will submit a final proposal to the state department of education and will find out in the summer if they have  received state funding that would enable them to add 300 hours to the school year (nearly 2 hours a day). Collins could be increasing its daily schedule from 6 hours 30 minutes to over 8 hours.

Edward Fiske, a columnist for the Herald-Sun in Durham, NC  highlighted Citizen Schools’ work in that city last week as “one of the best-kept secrets” in the district in its  approach that  leverages expanded learning time to engage students and address the achievement gap.  The results are all positive — better grades and attendance as well as more success in high school and college for the kids; happy, engaged parents; supported teachers and committed volunteers. Fiske writes, “There’s just one problem with Citizen Schools. It’s not reaching enough kids… We need to expand it and make it available to more students. And we need community leaders to build on Citizen Schools’ success by making expanded learning time a cornerstone of our strategy for bridging the opportunity gap.”