A friend of mine was teaching in a classroom last year in Los Angeles. After noticing some of her students were coming to school hungry (and not eating throughout the day), she started bringing snacks from home to make sure her kids had something in their stomachs, and could pay attention in class. The "granola bar drawer" she kept was a lifesaver to get a few of the most unruly (and hungriest) to pay attention, she said. Her experiences don't seem to be unique, according a new report from the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based public policy think tank, ...


Not only are Chicago schools being rewarded for a longer day; the district is now shelling out $3 million to schools that use the added time in innovative ways. As I wrote on Tuesday, 40 additional schools in Chicago just joined the original 11 that accepted incentives from the district to add 90 minutes to the school day at the beginning of this year. Next year, all schools in the district will shift to the longer schedule. So far, the incentive plan is costing the district $7 million. But now, more money is up for grabs. In order to be ...


The Ohio Afterschool Network and the Ohio health department have teamed up on a guide on how best to incorporate physical activity into after-school programs to curb childhood-obesity rates. These activities should not look like your typical dodgeball game, the report says. Instead, the guide includes a list of 11 main recommendations for programs along with tips and strategies for implementing them. A section on resources that after-school programs can access for further advice is also included. Children should be active at least 60 minutes a day, it says, with a decent percentage of the activity being strenuous. According to ...


Update in Chicago: Forty additional schools just joined an original cadre of 11 schools that have lengthened the school year. Thirty-eight of these schools are charters, the Chicago Tribune reports. All schools are part of the Longer School Day Pioneer Pilot that lengthens the day to 7.5 hours. The extra time is used for instruction in core subjects, teacher planning, and in some cases, arts, enrichment, and recess. Prior to the initiative, Chicago public schools had some of the shortest days in the country. By next year, all schools will have the longer schedule. See background here. The second ...


I have a story up today that takes a look at the momentum to put STEM curricula into out-of-school programs through the lens of Techbridge, a Bay Area-based program I visited recently. I was able to observe two sites of the Techbridge program—one high school, one elementary school—which is run by a nonprofit that supports a number of initiatives focused on promoting girls' interest in STEM. It's even reached the Girl Scouts: the organization's STEM "curriculum in a box" is now being used by Girl Scout Troops all over the country, reaching an estimated 4,000 girls. A...


Students in Detroit aren't spending their break shoveling snow and hitting the after-holiday sales this year: they're spending time learning. Their parents are, too. This year, Detroit Public Schools has kept 18 schools open over the winter break to provide extended learning opportunities for students, free meals and food baskets for families, and workshops for parents on budgeting and fiscal know-how. The district's first-ever "Holiday Learning Fest" was offered three days this week and will take place three days next week, from 10 am to 2 pm. Parents can also take home "academic toolkits" to use with their kids over ...


Chicago high schools will add 36 minutes to the school day district-wide next fall, a move aimed at boosting student performance in core subjects. Union officials held protests at eight of these schools last week. The added time will align the high schools to the elementary schools, now at 7.5 hour days. District officials said they also plan on restructuring the time spent during the day to give students 46 minutes more of instructional time. As you may remember, Chicago Public Schools got off to a bit of a rocky start at the beginning of the school year when ...


In the spirit of "the season of giving," there are a couple other grants and funding announcements in the expanded learning realm following TASC's news last week. Citizen Schools, the Boston-based nonprofit that partners with middle schools to expand the school day, was recently awarded $3.25 million from Google.org to be used over the course of three years. To date, Citizen Schools has partnered with 31 schools in seven states. Google has worked with Citizen Schools in the past by providing "apprenticeships" to students at its schools. In the Citizen Schools model, the added time in the school ...


New Orleans and Baltimore have linked arms with The After School Corporation to pilot an expanded learning model in their schools as part of an $11.5 million national initiative, the organization announced today. The two cities are replicating ExpandED schools, a pilot project The After School Corporation (TASC) launched in New York in 2008, which expanded the school day by roughly three hours at 10 New York City schools and grew to 17 within three years. The new pilot began this fall at three schools each in both Baltimore and New Orleans, and an added five in New York, ...


The rising push for STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—curriculum in U.S. schools has seemed to place increasing pressure on the expanded learning and after-school communities to provide engaging, hands-on experiences for young people, particularly outside classroom walls. In fact, this past year was dubbed the "Year of Science in Afterschool" by the Afterschool Alliance in conjunction with the National Summer Learning Association, and the National AfterSchool Association. The National Center on Time and Learning also released a report last month about the need to use expanded learning time for STEM, and in particular, science instruction. Today, I...


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