Here is the recap of this week’s expanded learning time (ELT) news:
The Center for American Progress along with Citizen Schools had an event this week to showcase how expanding learning time with community partners can benefit students. Lengthening the school day with community partnerships can offer students a more well-rounded education for the children and can also free up teachers’ time during the day, giving them more time to plan the next week’s lesson or to collaborate with other teachers. A win win.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post featured an article about making the most of longer school days. The research focused on how using additional time doesn’t help, unless it is time well-spent. The article highlighted findings from the National Center on Time & Learning, sharing their best practices to construct a longer school day. One critical way to making sure that the expanded day is time well spent is to give teachers more preparation and planning.
After newly adding an hour to their school day this past year, Springfield Elementary School in the Bay District in Northwest Florida wants to add even more time. “The extra hour has been phenomenal,” Principal Harriet Taylor, Springfield Elementary School, said. “It’s given us extra time to focus on reading skills for our students.”
Three hundred elementary schools in Florida will add an hour to their day next year, using the time for extra reading instruction, under the budget the Florida Legislature just approved. For the past two years, one hundred schools with low reading scores on the state’s FCAT test had to expand their day by an hour, and now lawmakers want that list to grow. Now, the state’s 300 elementary schools that are struggling most based on their students’ performance on the reading section of the Florida Comprehensive Test will look to expand their school day.