A growing body of research shows that the typical six-hour school day just doesn’t cut it for many students. Too many schools lack the time and funds for arts, recess or inquiry-driven projects that inspire a life-long love of learning and provide skills needed to be competitive in the 21st century.
The challenges and needs are particularly dramatic in low-income communities where students are the most likely to be behind grade level and who stand to benefit most from additional learning time.
Among the options available to school systems, ExpandED Schools is a promising new model to help reinvent schools that are struggling to deliver on the promise of high-quality education for all students. ExpandED Schools add three hours of in-school time to the traditional school day by partnering with community organizations that fully participate in planning and staffing.
Together schools and their community partners give students more opportunities to develop their talents and passions.
ExpandED Schools, an initiative of The After-School Corporation, was piloted in New York City for the past three years with impressive results — improved school attendance, test scores and, according to the teachers in the classroom, more learning.
ExpandED is now growing, thanks to support from major new funding from The Wallace Foundation and Open Society Foundations. It has now begun in three schools in Baltimore and three in New Orleans, in addition to schools in New York.
There are a number of strategies that will help the nation close gaps in achievement and educational opportunity. One of them is extending learning time and ExpandEd Schools hopes to bring that opportunity to even more students.
Lucy Friedman is founding president of TASC (The After-School Corporation). She is co-chair of NYSAN (New York State Afterschool Network), a founding board member of the Afterschool Alliance and a founding member of the executive committee of the Coalition for Science After School. Before joining TASC, she was the founder and executive director of Safe Horizons (formally known as Victim Services) in New York City.