The mantra of "not enough time in the day" continues to resonate in education, as the use of additional time pushes forward as a possible school reform strategy. The recent announcement that states can opt out of some of No Child Left Behind's school accountability requirements if they have well-structured plans for school reform touches the out-of-school-time realm. The federal Department of Education listed "redesigning the school day, week, or year to include additional time for student learning and teacher collaboration" as one of the turnaround principles schools should look to when trying to improve. In addition, states that receive ...


Support will continue for after-school programs if they improve their quality by focusing on management, staffing, curriculum, and evaluation, says a new report from the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards & Student Testing (CRESST). CRESST, based at the University of California, Los Angeles, has conducted more than two decades of evaluations on out-of-school-time programs, including 21st Century Community Learning Center funded ones, LA's BEST , which I wrote about last spring, and a number of state-funded programs. The report's recommendations are drawn from this research. According to the report's writers, Denise Huang and Ronald Dietal, key components of quality after-school ...


City leadership is becoming key to building the depth and breadth of local after-school programs, says a report from the National League of Cities released today. "Municipal Leadership for Afterschool: Citywide Approaches Spreading Across the Country," profiles 27 cities around the country that are leading the charge in developing Web-like structures to support out-of-school time in their municipalities through strong city leadership, public and private dollars, community partnerships, and monitoring of quality standards. Based on research and interviews with these cities' political and community leaders, the report outlines key traits that set them (and their after-school systems) apart from others. ...


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


"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 ...


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, ...


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 ...


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.


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 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 ...


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