It’s n0t enough to add time to the school day, advises a new National Center on Time & Learning report. Effective extended-learning schools use eight “powerful practices” concludes “Time Well Spent,” which profiles successful schools serving low-income students.
- Making every minute count or maximizing added time;
- Prioritizing increased hours that are tailored to the school and their students;
- Individualizing the added time for each student based on diverse needs;
- Building a positive school culture of high expectations and mutual accountability;
- Providing new experiences for students that make their education more well-rounded;
- Preparing students for the future by encouraging college readiness and career goals;
- Strengthening instruction by providing increased time for teacher professional development; and
- Evaluating how well goals are met by assessing and analyzing data.
Massachusetts is the only state to fund longer school days: 19 schools now get the extra funding. However, NCTL estimates there are 1,000 expanded-learning-time schools nationwide. Not all have seen significant achievement gains.
Schools applying for No Child Left Behind waivers should use extended learning time as a reform strategy, NCTL urges. At a Center for American Progress forum on the report, Education Secretary Arne Duncan endorsed a longer school day and year.
“Right now, children in India, children in China and other places, they’re going to school, 30, 35 days more than our students. If you’re on a sports team and you’re practicing three days a week and the other team is practicing five days a week, who is going to win more? Anybody who thinks we need less time, not more, is part of the problem,” he said.
Top-performing students don’t need more time in school, forum participants said. For disadvantaged students, schools can be both places to learn and safe havens from dangerous neighborhoods.