September 2011 Archives

Eight Practices Set the Best Expanded Learning Schools Apart

Eight strategies set apart high-performing expanded learning time schools from their peers, says a new report from the National Center on Time & Learning.

Education Leaders Weigh In on Expanded Learning Time

"When and where does it make sense to institute a longer school day, and how should it be designed?" asks a New York Times opinion poll of some leading movers and shakers in education, published today. According to Geoffrey Canada, president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Children's Zone, an expanded learning model would benefit working parents and single-family households, as well as ensure that subjects that often get shortchanged (arts, social studies) are given adequate time, too. Paul Reville, Massachusetts secretary of education, also voices his support for expanded learning time but says the time needs to be ...

How to Scale-Up a Community School Model

Having a shared vision and accountability, local buy-in, and strong partnerships are essential to scaling up a community schools model, reports an interactive online guide from the Coalition for Community Schools, released today. The guide is an effort by the coalition, an alliance of national, state, and local organizations that advocates the building of community schools around the country, to help interested schools and organizations support a shift to community schools. Simply put, community schools are those that use a system of partnerships and community resources to enhance the school experience for their students though providing supports like after-school programs, ...

Further Debate Over the Future of 21st CCLC Looms

Recently proposed legislation that would streamline the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, along with 58 others, into federal funding block grants has some after-school advocates biting their nails. The Senate bill, called the "Empowering Local Educational Decision Making Act," sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), would combine funding from 59 existing funding streams into two pots: the Fund for Improvement of Teaching and Learning and the Safe and Healthy Students Block Grant. States and districts would then have flexibility to use the money at their discretion to support initiatives under the two corresponding umbrella categories: improving teacher, principal, and ...

After-school Programs Change Student Minds About STEM

The best STEM-focused after-school programs increase students' enrollment and interest in the subjects and their pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math later in life, a new report from the Afterschool Alliance says.

Update on Longer Days in Chicago

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is heading to Chicago today to talk to the country's third largest district about its plans to lengthen the day/school year, which he supports. Duncan, who served as the city's school chief for seven years, said he was excited about the plans to extend the calendar and wished he had been able to do so when he led the Chicago district, according to a Chicago Tribune article out today. "We were unsuccessful (in pushing for a longer school day), and it was one of my big regrets," the Tribune reports Duncan stating. He also ...

Friction Mounts Over Longer Days in Chicago

Friction continues as the Chicago public schools, the nation's third largest district, moves toward lengthening the school calendar.To date, Chicago school days are some of the shortest in the country. At the end of August, the district announced it would move to a longer year in all schools by 2012-13; the plan would add 90 minutes of time to the school day and two weeks to the year. But just last week, district officials announced a plan that would provide incentives to schools that lengthened their calendars earlier, much to the chagrin of the local teachers' union. To implement ...

Debate Brews Over 21st CCLC Funding

Check out my story today on the debate over how funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Center federal grant program should be allocated. Recent legislation has been proposed in Congress that could affect 21st CCLC's eligibility and accountability requirements, and divisions have emerged over whether it's wise to widen the scope of 21st CCLC funding to allow expanded learning time models—which add time to the school year, week, or day—to apply for these grants. Some worry that by including ELT programs, the out-of-school-time programs that have traditionally received funding could see significant cutbacks in the grant amounts...


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