Students in schools in Baltimore, New Orleans, and New York City are reaping the benefits of a longer school day and an exciting range of new learning opportunities through a national expanded school day initiative officially launched today.
ExpandED Schools, a public-private initiative of The After-School Corporation (TASC), began operations this fall in three schools in Baltimore, three in New Orleans and five in New York City, building on a successful New York City pilot. The national launch is supported by major new funding from Open Society Foundations and The Wallace Foundation.
ExpandED Schools offer a promising way to reinvent public schools by forging partnerships between schools and community organizations to expand students’ learning time and options. In these elementary and middle schools, community organizations are full partners with the school’s teachers and administrators.
The learning day in ExpandED Schools is about three hours longer than in typical schools, giving students more time for quality instruction, increased adult mentoring and the chance to explore a range of inspiring learning opportunities from dance and debate to web design and hands-on science. This approach, which operates in schools in disadvantaged communities, seeks to close gaps in opportunity and educational achievement.
“The current school calendar made sense in the 19th Century, but today it puts our country at a competitive disadvantage. Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea—every year. That's no way to prepare them to compete in the 21st century economy,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“Under the ExpandEd model, schools will be able to partner with an experienced youth-serving organization to bring in new resources and staff members such as AmeriCorps volunteers. Expanding learning time can accelerate student achievement, particularly in high-poverty schools where students don’t always have as much outside support or resources,” said Duncan. (Visit this site to listen to Secretary Duncan’s remarks.)
The national launch of ExpandED Schools was made possible through major funding from The Wallace Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. The Wallace Foundation has committed $5 million to TASC over three years to help it create additional ExpandED Schools and evaluate the impact on student learning, while OSF has committed $3.5 million. Additional support for this effort comes from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the New York Life Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and Rona and Randolph Nelson.
TASC is committing an additional $3 million in funding in anticipation that private investment will leverage a $30 million public-private national demonstration of expanded learning time over the next three years. A key objective is to shape policy and grow sustainable public funding to help states and school districts bring expanded learning opportunities to scale among large numbers of students and schools.
“We are excited to work with our partners to launch ExpandED Schools in Baltimore and New Orleans,” said TASC President Lucy N. Friedman. “The kids with the greatest needs typically have the fewest opportunities to keep learning when the conventional school day ends at 3 p.m. Expand ED Schools reverse that inequality. By building partnerships with community organizations like Y’s, we can reinvent schools that deliver fully on the promise of public education. And we can do it cost-effectively by making more efficient use of resources communities already invest in education and youth development.”
“We are pleased that Baltimore now has three ExpandED Schools, which are providing more time and opportunities for our kids to learn, and bringing more adults into our schools to help students be successful,” said Dr. Andrés A. Alonso, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. “On behalf of the district I want to thank TASC and the Open Society and Wallace foundations for supporting this opportunity, and I want to thank our community partners for their dedicated work.”
“All parents want their kids to be able to take part in high-quality activities at school that can stir their imagination and get them engaged in exploring new things. The new partnerships at Baltimore’s three ExpandED Schools are providing those kinds of opportunities every day,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “For many of our students, this is the chance of a lifetime, with more hours to learn—and more chances to try new things.”
ExpandED Schools work collaboratively from the outset to expand the curriculum, personalize instruction, and fortify kids socially and emotionally against lives often marked by hardship. The approach is based on research and proven practice, including dozens of empirical studies that show that more high-quality learning time leads to better student outcomes including greater achievement, better school attendance and more enthusiastic learners.
“We know the conventional six-hour, 180-day school year is insufficient to give many kids, especially those in low-income communities, the education they need and deserve,” said Nancy Devine, director of communities at The Wallace Foundation. “ExpandED Schools is one of a group of leading national organizations that we are funding with promising models of expanding the school day or year in ways that help students in urban schools achieve—models that share a commitment to high-quality instructional programming and the use of data to measure progress.”
“ExpandED Schools help communities reimagine the school day so kids can have greater academic success,” said Diana Morris, acting director of U.S. programs for the Open Society Foundations. “In Baltimore and New Orleans—and eventually in other cities around the country—community organizations will work hand-in-hand with schools to give kids more time for academics and a wider range of learning options.”
The ExpandED model relies on the use of a range of funding sources, including local, state and federal funds, to help schools provide at least 35 percent more learning time per year at less than 10 percent additional cost for the school day. With support from its major funders, TASC helps schools raise the necessary private funds to leverage existing public funding streams including federal 21st Century Community Learning Center funds, federal support for low income and English-language learners, AmeriCorps volunteers and city funding for Out-of-School Time initiatives in New York City and Baltimore.
“We have worked for more than a decade in schools in New York City and have spent the past three years developing the ExpandED Schools approach in 17 of those schools. Our results in those schools have been encouraging, and we know this approach is leading to greater opportunities for kids who urgently need them,” said TASC President Friedman. Students in New York City pilot schools improved their school attendance by seven more days a year than students in matched schools.
In Baltimore, ExpandED Schools are administered through the Family League of Baltimore City, Inc. together with Baltimore City Public Schools. Participating schools are George Washington Elementary School with Y of Central Maryland; Harlem Park Elementary and Middle School with BELL Foundation; and Hilton Elementary with Child First Authority.
In New Orleans, ExpandED Schools are administered by the Partnership for Youth Development. Participating schools are Batiste Cultural Arts Academy at Live Oak Elementary with New Orleans South African Connection; Fannie C. Williams Elementary with VIET; and McDonogh #32 Elementary with Young Audiences.
In New York City, ExpandED Schools are administered by TASC together with the New York City Departments of Education and Youth and Community Development. Participating schools are PS 636 with University Settlement; Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School with Abyssinian Development Corporation; PS/MS 188 with Educational Alliance; PS 186 with NIA Community Services Network; and PS 89 with Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.