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Lessons Learned From Expanded Learning in Mass.

A new report from Massachusetts 2020 takes a look at factors that seem to propel some expanded learning time (ELT) initiatives beyond others when it comes to student achievement.

"More Time for Learning: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned" offers a "progress report" on ELT in Massachusetts, where the state has enacted policy to rethink and expand on the traditional learning day. Mass/2020 is working with 22 Bay State schools that have added time to the school day.

The report offers a snapshot of what's happening in different schools and how students have been affected. Not surprisingly, the authors write:

"Simply adding time to the school day does not guarantee improved outcomes. How each school utilizes time to improve instruction, focus on special goals, and implement a coherent and strategic plan determines the success it will have."

The report cites five common elements in successful ELT programs. Schools with positive results typically:

  • Are highly focused in their approach and concentrate on a "small number of key goals;"
  • Are "relentless in their use of data to drive continuous improvement" and improve teaching;
  • "Add core academic time" to enable teachers to provide individual support for students and boost achievement;
  • Add time for teachers to collaborate; and
  • Create high-quality enrichment programs for students.
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