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Multistate Effort to Extend Learning Day Reaches More Schools

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By guest blogger Alyssa Morones

More students and teachers will receive the increased educational flexibility associated with an extended school day, as two organizations supporting that goal announced plans to expand their efforts to new classrooms across the country.

Launched in 2012 through a partnership between the National Center on Time and Learning and the Ford Foundation, the TIME (Time for Innovation Matters in Education) Collaborative is a five-state effort in which high-poverty schools develop expanded learning time models to help boost student achievement and offer students broader educational opportunities.

(The Ford Foundation also supports coverage of more and better learning time in Education Week.)

As it now stands, 19 schools serving over 9,000 students are implementing redesigned, expanded school days through the program. Now, the program will expand to reach a second cohort of schools, serving 13,000 students, for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Five states are participating in the program: Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee. Supported through a mix of federal, state, and district funding, the schools that are part of the collaborative agree to add 300 hours of instruction and enrichment to the school year. In planning for the redesign of their school days, participating schools rely on an array of school and community partners. Those partners work with administrators, teachers, union officials, and parents in implementing their new designs.

The added hours are intended to allow extra time for teachers to collaborate and build skills and to provide students with more opportunities for academics and enrichment. To do this, schools are using new policies, flexibility, and available funding at the federal, state, and local levels.

The Associated Press reports that, in many cases, these schools will be using the extra time for activities the regular school day doesn't allow for, including personalized learning technologies and studying a broader array of enrichment-based subjects, such as world cultures, healthy living, foreign languages, and fitness.

According to a statement from the center on time and learning, the TIME Collaborative schools are just one part of a growing movement in which schools "are leveraging more and better learning time to improve student achievement and close the opportunity gap in America."

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