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Creating Learning Environments in the Early Grades that Support Teacher and Student Success: Profiles of Effective Practices in Three Expanded Learning Time Schools

April 4, 2016

The purpose of this report is to describe how schools that have converted to longer operational days—known as"expanded-time" schools—better support the development of young children. The National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) has chosen to document the work of these three particular schools from among its network of over 60  expanded-time schools because, over the last few years, they have demonstrated in concrete, ever-evolvingways, how time can be leveraged to optimal effect in educating young students. Though the practices they have honed are not unique, these schools show a distinctive capacity both to be creative about how best to serve their youngest students and to put in place the structures that allow these innovative approaches to flourish. Still, the educatorsin these schools are quick to admit that their classrooms and other supports for students in the early grades are works in progress. As such, the insights we draw from them are intended as guideposts along a path toward excellent education in the early grades, rather than definitive portraits of the destination. 

Giving English Language Learners the Time They Need to Succeed: Profiles of Three Expanded Learning Time Schools

December 1, 2015

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of public school students who are Englishlanguage learners (ELLs) was, at last count, 13 percent in primary schools, 7 percent in middle schools, and 5 percent in high schools. And this ELL population will likely double in the coming years. In fact, some demographers predict that by 2030 the ratio of ELL students to non-ELL students could be one in four. Meanwhile, the nation's poorest schools—those serving a population at least 75 percent lowincome students—along with the whole state of California already serve that high a proportion of ELLs.In the pages that follow, we endeavor to describe how these expanded learning opportunities take shape in three  schools that have significantly expanded learning time for all students. Though the schools have each adopted their own specific means of supporting ELL students, they share many ommon practices, and, not incidentally, an overall approach of carefully identifying individual student needs and, then, applying the educational resources necessary to meet those needs. We have selected these schools from among the over 60 schools in the NCTL network—a group of schools forwhich we have, in recent years, provided technical assistance coaching to plan and implement an expanded school day. 

Time for Teachers Leveraging Expanded Time To Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers

May 9, 2014

Time for Teachers looks deeply inside 17 schools that stand at the vanguard of the current revolution in teaching. This new National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) report reveals the substantive ways in which these schools are providing their teachers with more time to reflect on, develop, and hone their craft, by very explicitly leveraging an expanded-time school schedule and calendar. These schools' expanded time—on average, they are in session almost 300 hours more per year than the national norm of 1,170 hours—affords not only more hours and days focused on classroom instruction, but also a full array of professional learning opportunities.The aim of this report is simple: to present these featured expanded-time schools—or, more precisely, the systems andpractices they have implemented—as models that educators at any school can adopt and adapt to achieve similar success with their own students. Through analysis of the six time-use strategies, Time for Teachers offers a road map for other educators who are looking to adjust and improve how they are using both the time they currently have in their school schedules and any time they may plan to add. Individually and collectively, the accounts of these practices offer all educators insights into why this professional learning time is so valuable and also why an expanded-school schedule facilitates the implementation, and helps to elevate the quality, of these opportunities

Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers (Executive Summary)

May 9, 2014

This report looks deeply inside 17 schools that stand at the vanguard of the current revolution in teaching. It reveals the substantive ways in which these schools are providing their teachers with more time to reflect on, develop, and hone their craft, by very explicitly leveraging an expanded-time school schedule and calendar. These schools' expanded time (on average, they are in session almost 300 hours more per year than the national norm of 1,170 hours) affords not only more hours and days focused on classroom instruction, but also a full array of professional learning opportunities.

Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day: Lessons from Five Schools

June 4, 2013

In schools across the country, educators recognize the power of the arts to change young lives. They know that students' sustained engagement with enriching, high-quality experiences in the arts promotes essential skills and perspectives -- like the capacity to solve problems, express ideas, harness and hone creativity, and persevere toward a job well done. And yet today, educators at many schools that operate with conventional schedules are forced to choose between offering their students valuable opportunities to pursue the arts and focusing on other rigorous core classes that also are necessary for success in the 21st century. This study, which highlights an exciting new approach, is produced by the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL), an organization dedicated to expanding learning time to improve student achievement and enable a well-rounded education, with support from The Wallace Foundation, a national philanthropy seeking to improve education and enrichment for disadvantaged children. In these pages, we present portraits of five schools that are advancing arts education through an expanded school day as they create vibrant and inclusive models of truly enriching education for all students.

Learning Time in America: Trends to Reform the American School Calendar

May 13, 2013

In the nearly two years since the report, " Learning Time in America: Trends to Reform the American School Calendar" was released, the drive to enable more schools to expand time has grown even more intense. Policy opportunities at both the state and federal levels, combined with significant initiatives in large districts, have acted to shift the concept of expanded time from a secondary education reform strategy to one that has become central to the national effort to improve schools serving high-poverty students. Why should practitioners and policymakers alike pay close attention to the matter of learning time? Research indicates that the amount of time students have available to engage in learning is a key indicator of their level of achievement at both the individual and the school levels.Consequently, how much time schools have to educate their students holds enormous implications for our ability to adequately prepare the next generation for their individual futures and, in turn, for the capacity of our nation to remain globally competitive. Moreover, research has also identified a yawning gap in spending on children's educational enrichment beyond school, with dollar amounts committed by families in the top quartile rising much faster over the past thirty years than resources committed by those in the bottom quartile.This growing differential among children in learning outside the current school day and year means that, more than ever, schools operate as the primary institution through which our country can hope to equalize opportunity, and, in turn, expanding and strengthening the educational program at high-poverty schools has become a critical lever to achieve such equity.The National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL), which is dedicated to redesigning and expanding school time to improve opportunities and outcomes for high poverty students, has joined forces with the Education Commission of the States (ECS), whose mission it is to foster the exchange of ideas on education issues among the states, to produce this snapshot of school time in America. By focusing on some of the key actions that have taken place at the federal, state, and local levels since July 2011, we seek to advance the national conversation about how the nation's schools can harness the power of time to realize a vision of high-quality education for all. We conclude this brief with an updated version of a number of public policy recommendationsthat we issued in the original report. These revised recommendations take into account the rapidly shifting policy context and provide policymakers a roadmap for how they can best support efforts to effectively expand learning time in schools.

Mapping the Field: A Report on Expanded-Time Schools in America

December 3, 2012

This report identifies 1,002 expanded-time schools across the United States, up from 655 schools identified the last time NCTL issued the report, in 2009 -- an increase of 53 percent. These 1,002 schools serve 520,000 students, up from 300,000 in the 2009 report. The 2012 report defines expanded-time schools as public schools that expand learning time for all enrolled students; operate with a school day of at least seven hours; and have a substantially longer day or year when compared with surrounding public schools.

Time Well Spent: Eight Powerful Practices of Successful, Expanded-Time Schools

October 7, 2011

Profiles best practices at high-performing expanded-time schools, including individualizing learning time and instruction based on student needs, providing a well-rounded education, and dedicating time to analyzing student data and improving instruction.