The Harvard Family Research Project has updated its online bibliography of research on out-of-school-time programs. Want to know what research Harvard is tracking on the OST front? Check it out here. Harvard also offers an OST Research & Evaluation Database that could be a terrific resource. Its easy to use—you can select for type of program researched (i.e. before school, summer, etc.), type of funding, type of research methods, and more....


First lady Michelle Obama's campaign to get kids exercising and eating right is well-known; this week she added summer reading to her list of healthy to-do's for kids. At an event in Washington to launch the "Let's Read. Let's Move." initiative, Mrs. Obama and congressional leaders packed "Healthy Lifestyle Kits" that included healthy snacks and books to be distributed to more than 3,000 children. Four federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, are involved in the effort, as is the Corporation for National and Community Service. The idea behind "Let's Read. Let's Move." is to get more ...


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...


ASCD recently hosted a timely and interesting "Whole Child Podcast" on summer learning. You can check it out here. Host Molly McCloskey opens by referencing research on summer learning loss and its greater impact on poor children whose families can't afford the camps and other enrichment opportunities available to wealthier households. High-quality summer programs "can really help close that [summer learning] experience gap," she says. The podcast guests are: Ron Fairchild, the CEO of the National Summer Learning Association; Margaret Brodkin, the initiative director of New Day for Learning in San Francisco; and Cate Reed, the project coordinator of Pittsburgh ...


The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Chicago leaders are considering adding two hours to the school day at 100 troubled elementary schools. And that's not all: To save money, the Chicago plan envisions using "proctors" rather than certified teachers, as well as computerized classes to add those two hours. The initiative would target 1st through 8th graders—according to one version of the plan, half would attend two hours of computerized math and reading classes before school, and the other half after school. "Some schools on academic probation could get the program for three to five days a week as early...


"How to Improve Urban High Schools at Scale," an online Commentary, offers interesting insights into what it takes to lift performance in troubled schools. Among its points—the ability to be flexible about learning time in order to meet the needs of students who are struggling. David Linzey, the former chief academic officer of the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, in Los Angeles, writes: "Our mentality was to produce success no matter how long it took. If students did not learn and weren't able to demonstrate achievement within the school day, we offered them after-school tutoring. Saturday "academic-achievement academies" were...


Even as some districts cut summer programs, others are launching new and creative summer initiatives, the National Summer Learning Association says. NSLA officials announced that Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and other areas are exploring new summer programs "thanks to creative partnerships between school districts and community organizations, and an infusion of public and private funding," much of it in the form of federal stimulus dollars. The news dovetails with NSLA's larger mission to rethink summer school as a time for engaging academics mixed with enrichment, not a punishment or remedial program. With support from the Atlantic Philanthropies, NSLA has launched ...


Only one in four U.S. children attend summer learning programs, according to a new analysis by the Afterschool Alliance. That means this summer that approximately 24 million schoolchildren who likely would enroll in such programs will go without. "For millions of children in America, when schools close for the summer, safe and enriching learning environments are out of reach, replaced by boredom, lost opportunities, and risk," the alliance found in revisiting data from the study, "America After 3 P.M." The study's findings are based on a survey of nearly 30,000 American households in 2009. The summer learning ...


A teacher who describes herself as a "sucker" wrote last week about the extra time she puts in with students before and after school (and during lunch) for no extra pay. While Laura Reasoner Jones also says in the Teacher Leaders Network piece that she loves what she does, she adds: "after more than 34 years of teaching, I have come to realize that I am a sucker—and I am very unhappy." This, I suppose, is another side of expanded learning. Ms. Jones sounds like an exemplary teacher: I planned and ran eight GEMS Club sessions for 42 5th ...


Teacher Magazine blogger Tamara Fisher has an interesting piece on summer learning opportunities for gifted kids. You can check it out here. Tamara notes that many programs offer scholarships for needy students. Earlier in the month, Tamara wrote about summertime professional-development opportunities for teachers. Great leads in Tamara's pieces. Also, kind of makes me wonder what's available for all kids—not just those identified as gifted....


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