This blog is the final installment in the 4 part series highlighting successful first years within expanded learning schools. Read the previous posts about the Guilmette , Parthum, and Morton schools here.
This is our final weekly spotlight on the successes of adding more time to a school day/year. Like Guilmette Elementary School in a previous blog, Arlington Middle School has focused on adding more enrichment and intervention time. They’ve restructured their day to give options for smaller classroom, individualized intervention teaching in subjects that need more focus, and have added fun enrichment, which has really benefitted their students. This has especially been beneficial to English Language Learners (ELL) and special education needs children who receive an intervention class that is geared to their learning level. Intervention classes become an hour in the day where students can feel like they are mastering a topic. Through adapting intervention classes, teachers can see positive behavior results on students; they have increased student confidence and have helped motivate further effort in other subjects.
Arlington took similar ideas of adding technology and using data, but didn’t intertwine them into their school culture quite as much as Morton and Parthum has. This is a great example of how schools have used added time in different ways to best fit their student and school needs. There is no one example that is “best” or “right” when it comes to expanding learning time. With these schedule changes Arlington School have seen many successes:
- Streamlined lesson plans
- Common instructional priorities
- Strong student participation
- School culture growth
- Increased teacher collaboration, with lesson plans unified across the grades
They, like the Guilmette school, have seen a positive shift in school culture. Parents are interested in what’s going on in the school, and show up to parent/teacher conferences, which is a shift from previous years.
“You can feel the culture shift – it’s a whole different vibe.” –Arlington Teacher
“The longer day really has made school more fun.” –Student voice from video