June 2011 Archives

More than 40 education and civil rights organizations have banded together to endorse and offer support for the proposed Time for Innovation Matters in Education (TIME) Act I wrote about last month, according to a release from the National Center on Time and Learning. The TIME bill, which was introduced in Congress in April, would allow states to apply for federal grants for their schools to use for adding at least 300 hours to the school year for more academic, enrichment, and teacher professional-development time. The coalition of organizations, which includes the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the National Association ...


Removing barriers between the traditional school day, after-school programs, and summer programs can promote a year-round learning model that may be effective in improving outcomes for disadvantaged students, says a new brief from the Harvard Family Research Project. The brief says that increasing access to new experiences, learning environments, and social services for unprivileged students, and support from families and the community can help facilitate transition into year-round learning. The sustainability of such a program is highly dependent on outside support, particularly local resources, the brief suggests. The sharing of data among programs, like attendance records and performance reports, are ...


CBCW2Y4SFY95 Some 20,000 middle school students will be able to participate in high-quality summer programs across the country over the next three summers, as a result of a $11.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to the National Summer Learning Association. The association is allocating the grant, announced today, to four well-known extended-learning organizations to provide Smarter Summer sessions, or at least five weeks of six-hour a day programs that include academics, enrichment, recreation, and lunch. The sessions are aimed at reducing learning loss in students who are the most at risk of falling behind over the summer. ...


For several hours today, volunteers on the National Mall are packing 200 books each minute into backpacks for underprivileged kids who are at risk of losing academic gains from the past school year this summer. By the end of the day, 50,000 backpacks are expected to be assembled to distribute to needy elementary students throughout the country, a total of 150,000 books, which, if stacked, organizers say, would scale the height of the Washington Monument 12 times over. This undertaking is part of the National Summer Learning Day celebration I mentioned last week, but is also the galvanizing ...


After-school programs might be a solution for helping the growing number of English-language learners in the country practice their English outside the classroom, a policy brief from the Afterschool Alliance reports. The number of ELLs in the U.S. has dramatically increased in the past decade-plus, leaving many schools unable to meet the needs of students whose limited English capabilities put them further behind academically, the brief, "English Language Learners: Becoming Fluent in Afterschool," says. In 2008, more than one in 10 public school students were classified as ELL, and in 2009, only 6 percent of ELLs in 4th grade ...


Next week, on the first day of summer, the United Way will be on the National Mall in Washington filling backpacks with books for elementary school children to promote summer reading and to recruit volunteers. Roughly 300 California students will head to the state capitol in Sacramento to interview congressional leaders on their favorite summer experiences and broadcast the video footage through social-media outlets. And a little later this summer, Building Educated Leaders for Life, BELL, will host readings of Robert McCloskey's Make Way for the Ducklings on the Boston Common followed by rides on the city's swan boats. These ...


At least 2 million low-income children in California are at risk of going hungry this summer, the Los Angeles Times reported today, because cuts to summer school and enrichment programs are wiping out the sources for meals. Last summer alone, less than one in five Californian children who received free and reduced-price meals during the school year had access to meals during the summer, a 15 percent drop from the summer before, the article says. But California's trend is not unique. Many states have reported similar statistics. Paradoxically, the funding for free summer meals to needy children is available, provided ...


Students can return to school in the fall at least a month behind, on average, where they were in the spring, but high-quality summer programs can help combat this summer learning loss, finds a report released today by the RAND Corp. "Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children's Learning" is the first comprehensive evaluation of past studies and new research on summer learning loss and summer programs for K-8 students. The research, supported by The Wallace Foundation, offers findings on the nature of summer learning loss and its disproportionate impact on low-income students (particularly in reading), characteristics of ...


Empowerment groups can help at-risk boys improve their self-image, behavior, and future outlooks, says a study in the latest Afterschool Matters journal, published by the National Institute on Out-of-School Timeat Wellesley College. The article, "Growing Boys: Implementing a Boys' Empowerment Group in Afterschool Programs," draws its findings about boys' empowerment groups for at-risk males from a case study of an after-school group for middle school boys in the Northeast. Researchers found that weekly meetings with a positive adult role model improved the participants' attitudes, helped them manage anger, and led to more positive social interactions and general behavior. The study ...


After-school networks in nine states will be hosting mayoral summits in the next year on how to build and improve cities' out-of-school time and after-school systems, the National League of Cities announced today. The summits will be facilitated through the Youth, Education and Families (YEF) institute at the National League of Cities, a Washington-based nonprofit that helps cities strengthen leadership and overall quality of life. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Wallace Foundation will be providing financial support to the nine cities; each will receive $6,600 to host the events, as well as programming support from the NLC. ...


New York-based nonprofit TASC (The After-School Corporation), has released its 2010 annual report along with a video that follows two 4th graders through a day at their expanded-learning-time school, Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem, to show how an ELT school differs from the traditional 6.5-hour-day model. Along with other efforts in the out-of-school-time and extended-learning realm (profiled in an earlier blog post), TASC helps 17 expanded-learning-time schools in New York implement best-practice ELT models that add roughly 430 more hours (35 percent) than the standard American school day, totalling 1,600 hours a year. The TASC-supported ELT schools make ...


Two Boston area middle schools that receive state money to expand the school day may lose their funding if they fail to meet state accountability standards for the second year in a row. As I mentioned in another blog item, the Massachusetts state department of education and the nonprofit Massachusetts 2020 launched an initiative in 2005 to fund schools that wanted to add at least 300 hours to the year for additional academic, enrichment, and teacher-development time at underperforming schools. Today, the funding—$17.5 million two years ago and $13.9 million this year—supports 19 schools throughout...


As summer rapidly approaches, more sources report that youth-employment programs aren't the only ones facing cuts this summer. (See what I wrote a few weeks ago about pending cuts to summer employment programs for teens.) As a result of the District of Columbia's budget deficit, the city is cutting roughly $17 million from summer school, youth-employment programs and enrichment camps, leaving 15,000 students without "structured programs" to attend, WAMU radio reported this week. The District's summer school program was reduced from $9 million to $4 million, lowering enrollment by 75 percent, and the city's summer employment program cut from ...


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