Tag Archives: Expanded Learning Time

Florida mandated longer school day and more time devoted to reading for low-performing schools

25 Jan

The Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) has great information posted at its site about school day length. According to McRel in the article, Extended School Days and School Years:

Does more time in school matter?
Several scholars have argued that simply extending school time in and of itself will not produce the desired results. Larry Cuban, a Stanford University professor of education, has argued for example that what matters most is not the quantity but the quality of time students and teachers spend together in the classroom (2008).
In our 2000 meta-analysis of the impact of school, teacher, and student-level variables on achievement, McREL concluded that student achievement can be strongly affected if schools optimize their use of instructional time.
In 1998 WestEd researchers Aronson et al. examined the research on time and learning and arrived at three conclusions:
◦There is little or no relationship between student achievement and the total number of days or hours students are required to attend school.
◦There is some relationship between achievement and engaged time, that subset of instructional time when students are participating in learning activities.
◦The strongest relationship exists between academic learning time and achievement.
However, in recent years some notable extended time initiatives have produced gains in test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance, including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which increases the amount of time students spend in school by nearly 60%, and Massachusetts 2020. Conversely, a $100 million effort in Miami to extend school days by one hour and add 10 days to the calendar produced no significant benefits. http://www.mcrel.org/newsroom/hottopicExtendedTime.asp

The key seems to be longer time spent in instructional activities.

The Center for American Progress’ issues brief, Expanded Learning Time By the Numbers examined school day length. Among the findings are:

Expanded learning time basics
655: The number of expanded learning time schools in 36 states, more than a quarter of which are standard district public schools.
300: The recommended minimum number of additional hours that schools should add to their school calendar to provide students more learning time and opportunities for enrichment activities.
6 to 20 percent: The increase in a school’s budget, depending on the staffing model, to expand learning time for students by 30 percent.
90 percent: The proportion of ELT schools that considered their longer day or year to be essential in meeting their educational goals in a survey of nearly 250 ELT schools.
20 percent: The increase in annual classroom hours that experienced teachers say they need to effectively teach the four core academic subjects—English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
Other countries are racing ahead in education
197: The average number of days that a middle school teacher in Finland, Japan, and Korea spends on instruction per year compared to the 180 days in the United States.
10,000: The number of hours researchers estimate that students need to achieve expertise. There are approximately 800 annual instructional hours a year in U.S. schools, which means it would take 12.5 years for students to participate in 10,000 hours of schooling, given no loss of learning during the summer.
Students at low-income schools are being left behind
3,000: The average number of words in a low-income kindergartener’s vocabulary compared to the 20,000 in a middle-class kindergartener’s vocabulary.
Sixth or seventh: The grade at which approximately half of ninth graders at high-poverty schools are reading when they enter high school.
32 million: The size of the gap in word exposure between children in professional families (45 million words) and welfare families (13 million) that has accumulated by age 4. Children in professional families will have heard almost as many words by age 1 (11.2 million) as children in welfare families have heard by age 4 (13 million).
1.67: The average minutes per day that third, fourth, and fifth graders in high-poverty schools received explicit vocabulary instruction, or about 100 seconds.
Four: The maximum number of minutes per day teachers in low-income schools spent engaging their first-grade students with informational texts rich in academic language and content-area vocabulary, often because these resources were unavailable. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/news/2010/04/22/7716/expanded-learning-time-by-the-numbers/

Expanded learning time and a focus on the basics can yield results.

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen reported in Education Next about the effect of time in school. In Time for School? Marcotte and Hansen report:

Our work confirms that increasing instructional time could have large positive effects on learning gains. Encouraging schools and districts to view the school calendar as a tool in the effort to improve learning outcomes should be encouraged in both word and policy. http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Research confirms there are certain traits of successful schools.

Catherine Gewertz reported in the Education Week article, Fla. Pushes Longer Day, More Reading in Some Schools:

Two years ago, Florida took a step no other state has taken to improve students’ reading skills: It required its 100 lowest-performing elementary schools to add an extra hour to their school day and to use that time for reading instruction. Early results suggest the new initiative may be paying off.
After only a year with the extra hour, three-quarters of the schools saw improved reading scores on the state’s standardized test, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. Seventy of the schools earned their way off the lowest-performing list altogether.
“That extra time for reading instruction was really important for us,” said Kathy Shuler, who oversees the school transformation office in Orlando’s Orange County district, where all seven schools in the extra-hour reading program’s first year, 2012-13, improved their reading scores and are no longer on the list.
The Florida program arose from a 2012 law mandating the additional hour each day for “intensive reading instruction.” The law’s author, Republican state Sen. David Simmons, had taken note of a pilot program for four schools in 2007-08. Three boosted their school grades from D’s or F’s to C’s in Florida’s accountability ratings, and one vaulted to an A. He wanted to see more schools do what they had done.
“Done right, the benefits of this program are extensive and in some cases dramatic,” Sen. Simmons said.
Despite being a state mandate, the program has won over some school leaders and teachers. In fact, 30 schools that were required to participate in 2012-13 opted to keep it up this school year even though they’d gotten off the watch list.
Sen. Simmons said he hopes to persuade the legislature to expand the program, which does not come with any additional state aid, to all of Florida’s low-performing schools…. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/22/18florida_ep.h33.html?tkn=UYNFBnWvn5QCgOj0j76PFewH7P7W8gII2h34&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Here is a PowerPoint of the legislative study http://www.edweek.org/media/18florida-extra-hour-presentation.pdf

OPPAGA Contacts
Mark West
Staff Director, Methodology
(850) 717-0534
west.mark@oppaga.fl.gov
Becky Vickers
Chief Legislative Analyst
(850) 717-0515
vickers.becky@oppaga.fl.gov
David Summers
Education Staff Director
(850) 717-0555
summers.david@oppaga.fl.gov

Motoko Rich reported in the New York Times article, To Increase Learning Time, Some Schools Add Days to Academic Year:

A typical public school calendar is 180 days, but the Balsz district, where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, is in session for 200 days, adding about a month to the academic year.
According to the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit research group in Boston, about 170 schools — more than 140 of them charter schools — across the country have extended their calendars in recent years to 190 days or longer. ..
Education advocates have been calling for more school time at least since the 1983 “Nation at Risk” report presented an apocalyptic vision of American education.
Teachers’ unions, parents who want to preserve summers for family vacations and those who worry that children already come under too much academic stress argue that extended school time is not the answer. Research on longer school days or years also shows mixed results.
But studies also show that during the summer break, students — particularly those from low-income families — tend to forget what they learned in the school year. Getting back to school early, supporters of a longer calendar say, is one of the best ways to narrow an achievement gap between rich and poor students.
Many charter schools, including those in the academically successful KIPP network, attribute their achievement in part to longer days and calendars. President Obama has repeatedly promoted expanded school time, even inspiring “Saturday Night Live” to poke fun, with Seth Meyers saying in his Weekend Update segment that only “Catherine, the fifth grader nobody likes,” would support such a proposal.
Within the last two years, both the Ford Foundation and the Wallace Foundation have made multimillion dollar commitments to help nonprofit groups work with school districts to restructure the school day and year.
Advocates of longer school years say that the 180-day school year is an outdated artifact….
Critics say that with so many schools already failing, giving them more time would do little to help students.
“It is true that we have an unfair society, and it is true that kids who are coming from the poorer backgrounds and whose parents don’t do a lot of reading are losing reading skills over the summer,” said Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College. “But let’s look at other solutions.” He added, “Whatever job we give to the school system, they ruin it….”
“Better is as important as the more,” said Jeannie Oakes, director of educational opportunity and scholarship programs at the Ford Foundation. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/education/some-schools-adopting-longer-years-to-improve-learning.html?emc=eta1

See, Should summer break be shorter for some children? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/should-summer-break-be-shorter-for-some-children/

There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to education. For children who need a longer school year, that extra time should be available.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line
Russian mystic & novelist (1828 – 1910)

So it is with schools. There are certain elements that successful schools share. The Wisconsin Department of Education has a good guide about successful schools. Chapter One, Characteristics of Successful Schools , lists key elements. http://cssch.dpi.wi.gov/cssch_cssfsc1

Like, unhappy families, failing schools are probably failing in their own way.

Resources:

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen , Time for School?Education Next, Winter 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 1 http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on School Day’s Length video … http://video.answers.com/education-secretary-arne-duncan-on-school-days-length-516897086

It seems everything old becomes new once again, although a relentless focus on the basics never went out of style.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Case study: Expanded learning time worked in one California school

25 Mar

Nora Fleming reports in the Education Week article, Expanded Learning Time Linked to Higher Test Scores:

Improved student performance was just one of the gains found after Tumbleweed Elementary School implemented an expanded learning time model, according to a new case study from the National Center of Time & Learning. The new brief is the second in a series released by the center that looks at schools that have recently added more time to the school day or year and seen early, positive gains.

Tumbleweed Elementary, a school in the Palmdale district north of Los Angeles, had been chronically underperforming since the 1990s and had not made Adequate Yearly Progress markers (mandated by No Child Left Behind) since the law was adopted in 2001, according to the brief. To improve the school, the district applied for (and won) a three-year, $6 million federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) in 2009, and crafted a turnaround strategy that focused on how added time could improve student outcomes and school climate.

The challenges were significant, says brief authors, especially given that the school was diverse, overcrowded, (with average class sizes hovering around 30 students), and had high rates of poverty (94 percent of students qualify for free and reduced price lunch).

To implement the new model, 41 new teachers were placed at the school, along with a new principal. The school added an hour to the day to be used for more math instruction, professional development time for teachers, and academic supports for students who were falling behind in particular subjects.

After the first year of implementation in 2010-2011, the school saw a 14 point gain in student English language arts scores and a 23 point gain in math on the California state standardized tests, and met Adequate Yearly Progress markers (NCLB) for the first time. There were small performance gains the following year as well, and overall, student behavior was said to significantly improve when new behavior and academic expectations were set.

However, the brief makes clear that the added time was not the sole reform that has supported improved school performance during this time period. The school also focused on improving the use of data to track students and measure their progress, creating student incentives to improve behavior and school climate, and placing an emphasis on the need for teacher collaboration.   http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/beyond_schools/2013/03/post_2.html

Fleming also reported on expanded learning’s limitations

In the Education Week article, Expanded Learning Time Not Always a Cure-All, Report Says, Fleming reported about the Educator Sector’s analysis of expanded learning time:

Interest has increased in adding more time to the school day, but many schools are ill equipped to put time to the most effective use for improving student and school outcomes, says a new report from Education Sector, a Washington-based think tank focused on education policy.

In the report, Education Sector looks at nationwide trends with schools implementing expanded learning models, in addition to focusing on schools that used ELT as a turnaround strategy to receive federal School Improvement Grants.

According to “What More Learning Time Can (and Can’t) Do for Turnarounds,” a few approaches to expand learning have been used nationwide: adding time to the formal school schedule, expanding learning outside the regular school schedule, and changing the way time is used doing the school day. Examples of some of the innovative ELT models that have been effective in improving outcomes, such as the TASC model in New York, the Citizen Schools model in Boston, and the Providence After School Alliance model in Providence, are also profiled in the report.

While adding time to the formal school schedule has gained more appeal, particularly for policymakers as a solution for improving schools, more schools are actually still expanding learning through after-school, summer, and other efforts not tied to the traditional classroom day.

But not all ELT efforts nationally compare with those mentioned above, says report author Elena Silva, who I spoke with for a story on ELT this past fall.

For expanded time to be most effective, she writes, schools should not focus on the time itself but on connecting added time to other reforms. More schools, especially those serving the neediest students, are looking to ELT as a quick fix for improvement, but do not put enough effort into the “comprehensive reform” of their schools that ELT must be a part of to be effective. This is often due to lack of know-how or lack of supports, staffing, funding, and so forth, the article says, but as more schools look to add time, they should err on the side of caution, particularly as federal policymakers push ELT as a solution to improving underperforming schools.    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/beyond_schools/2012/04/interest_has_increased_in_adding.html

Here is the Education Sector summary: 

Off the Clock: What More Time Can (and Can’t) Do for School Turnarounds

Reports & Briefs |

Elena Silva

| March 29, 2012

Related Issue(s): Accountability and School Improvement, K-12 Education, Expanded Learning and School Time

If less time in the classroom is a cause of poor student performance, can adding more time be the cure? This strategy underlies a major effort to fix the nation’s worst public schools. Billions of federal stimulus dollars are being spent to expand learning time on behalf of disadvantaged children. And extended learning time (ELT) is being proposed as a core strategy for school turnaround.

But the hard truth is that there is far more research showing the ill effects of unequal time than research showing that ELT policies can make up the difference. What does the research really say about the impact of ELT on student learning, and how is it being implemented in our nation’s lowest-performing schools?

Off the Clock: What More Time Can (and Can’t) Do for School Turnarounds takes a look at the facts—and the myths—about school calendars and schedules. Extended learning time is one of the key elements of the federal government’s SIG program. More than 90 percent of the schools in the program have selected one of two options—”turnaround” and “transformation”—that mandate more time.

Education Sector reviewed data on how these schools are actually using “increased learning time” mandated by the federal government. The variations are wide—from adding minutes to the school day to providing after-school programs to shortening recess and lunch. Some approaches show clear potential, while others face considerable limits to implementation.

“New designs for extended time should be a part of the nation’s school improvement plans,” Silva concludes. “But policymakers and school leaders must recognize that successful schools use time not just to extend hours and days but to creatively improve how and by whom instruction is delivered. In the end, the ELT movement is more likely to leave a legacy of school and student success if it becomes less about time and more about quality teaching and learning.”

This report was funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Education Sector thanks the foundation for its support. The views expressed in the paper are those of the author alone.

Download Full Report

See:

Expanded Learning Time in Action: Initiatives in High-Poverty and High-Minority Schools and Districts                                                                                                http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2008/07/21/4734/expanded-learning-time-in-action/

In Good schools are relentless about basics: School day length, moi said:

Rosalind Rossi, education reporter for the Chicago Sun Times is reporting in the article, 2011 Illinois school report cards: Top schools have longer days.

The 10 highest-ranking suburban neighborhood elementary schools all have longer days for kids than the typical Chicago public school — but shorter ones than those advocated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city public school officials.

Chicago’s current typical 5-hour and 45-minute elementary school day — usually without a regular recess — looks paltry compared to a top-scoring 2011 suburban average of just under 6½ hours that includes daily recess, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis indicates.

However, Chicago’s proposed 7½-hour day would keep city elementary kids in school an hour more than their top-scoring suburban counterparts. Such a day is appealing even to some suburban parents.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/8452309-418/2011-illinois-school-report-cards-top-schools-have-longer-days.html

The Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) has great information posted at its site about school day length.

According to McRel in the article, Extended School Days and School Years:

Does more time in school matter?

Several scholars have argued that simply extending school time in and of itself will not produce the desired results. Larry Cuban, a Stanford University professor of education, has argued for example that what matters most is not the quantity but the quality of time students and teachers spend together in the classroom (2008).

In our 2000 meta-analysis of the impact of school, teacher, and student-level variables on achievement, McREL concluded that student achievement can be strongly affected if schools optimize their use of instructional time.

In 1998 WestEd researchers Aronson et al. examined the research on time and learning and arrived at three conclusions:

  • There is little or no relationship between student achievement and the total number of days or hours students are required to attend school.
  • There is some relationship between achievement and engaged time, that subset of instructional time when students are participating in learning activities.
  • The strongest relationship exists between academic learning time and achievement.

However, in recent years some notable extended time initiatives have produced gains in test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance, including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which increases the amount of time students spend in school by nearly 60%, and Massachusetts 2020. Conversely, a $100 million effort in Miami to extend school days by one hour and add 10 days to the calendar produced no significant benefits.

http://www.mcrel.org/newsroom/hottopicExtendedTime.asp

The key seems to be longer time spent in instructional activities.                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/good-schools-are-relentless-about-basics-school-day-length/

Where information leads to Hope. ©     Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/

 

More schools trying longer school years

6 Aug

In Good schools are relentless about basics: School day length, moi said:

Rosalind Rossi, education reporter for the Chicago Sun Times is reporting in the article, 2011 Illinois school report cards: Top schools have longer days.

The 10 highest-ranking suburban neighborhood elementary schools all have longer days for kids than the typical Chicago public school — but shorter ones than those advocated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city public school officials.

Chicago’s current typical 5-hour and 45-minute elementary school day — usually without a regular recess — looks paltry compared to a top-scoring 2011 suburban average of just under 6½ hours that includes daily recess, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis indicates.

However, Chicago’s proposed 7½-hour day would keep city elementary kids in school an hour more than their top-scoring suburban counterparts. Such a day is appealing even to some suburban parents.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/8452309-418/2011-illinois-school-report-cards-top-schools-have-longer-days.html

The Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) has great information posted at its site about school day length.

According to McRel in the article, Extended School Days and School Years:

Does more time in school matter?

Several scholars have argued that simply extending school time in and of itself will not produce the desired results. Larry Cuban, a Stanford University professor of education, has argued for example that what matters most is not the quantity but the quality of time students and teachers spend together in the classroom (2008).

In our 2000 meta-analysis of the impact of school, teacher, and student-level variables on achievement, McREL concluded that student achievement can be strongly affected if schools optimize their use of instructional time.

In 1998 WestEd researchers Aronson et al. examined the research on time and learning and arrived at three conclusions:

  • There is little or no relationship between student achievement and the total number of days or hours students are required to attend school.

  • There is some relationship between achievement and engaged time, that subset of instructional time when students are participating in learning activities.

  • The strongest relationship exists between academic learning time and achievement.

However, in recent years some notable extended time initiatives have produced gains in test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance, including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which increases the amount of time students spend in school by nearly 60%, and Massachusetts 2020. Conversely, a $100 million effort in Miami to extend school days by one hour and add 10 days to the calendar produced no significant benefits.

http://www.mcrel.org/newsroom/hottopicExtendedTime.asp

The key seems to be longer time spent in instructional activities.                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/good-schools-are-relentless-about-basics-school-day-length/

Motoko Rich has a great article in the New York Times, To Increase Learning Time, Some Schools Add Days to Academic Year:

Griffith, one of five schools in the Balsz Elementary School District here, is one of a handful of public schools across the country that has lengthened the school year in an effort to increase learning time.

A typical public school calendar is 180 days, but the Balsz district, where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, is in session for 200 days, adding about a month to the academic year.

According to the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit research group in Boston, about 170 schools — more than 140 of them charter schools — across the country have extended their calendars in recent years to 190 days or longer. ..

Education advocates have been calling for more school time at least since the 1983 “Nation at Risk” report presented an apocalyptic vision of American education.

Teachers’ unions, parents who want to preserve summers for family vacations and those who worry that children already come under too much academic stress argue that extended school time is not the answer. Research on longer school days or years also shows mixed results.

But studies also show that during the summer break, students — particularly those from low-income families — tend to forget what they learned in the school year. Getting back to school early, supporters of a longer calendar say, is one of the best ways to narrow an achievement gap between rich and poor students.

Many charter schools, including those in the academically successful KIPP network, attribute their achievement in part to longer days and calendars. President Obama has repeatedly promoted expanded school time, even inspiring “Saturday Night Live” to poke fun, with Seth Meyers saying in his Weekend Update segment that only “Catherine, the fifth grader nobody likes,” would support such a proposal.

Within the last two years, both the Ford Foundation and the Wallace Foundation have made multimillion dollar commitments to help nonprofit groups work with school districts to restructure the school day and year.

Advocates of longer school years say that the 180-day school year is an outdated artifact….

Critics say that with so many schools already failing, giving them more time would do little to help students.

It is true that we have an unfair society, and it is true that kids who are coming from the poorer backgrounds and whose parents don’t do a lot of reading are losing reading skills over the summer,” said Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College. “But let’s look at other solutions.” He added, “Whatever job we give to the school system, they ruin it….”

Better is as important as the more,” said Jeannie Oakes, director of educational opportunity and scholarship programs at the Ford Foundation. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/education/some-schools-adopting-longer-years-to-improve-learning.html?emc=eta1

See, Should summer break be shorter for some children? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/should-summer-break-be-shorter-for-some-children/

There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to education. For children who need a longer school year, that extra time should be available.

Resources:

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen , Time for School?Education Next, Winter 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 1                                                                                     http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on School Day’s Length video … http://video.answers.com/education-secretary-arne-duncan-on-school-days-length-516897086

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Good schools are relentless about basics: School day length

31 Oct

Rosalind Rossi, education reporter for the Chicago Sun Times is reporting in the article, 2011 Illinois school report cards: Top schools have longer days.

The 10 highest-ranking suburban neighborhood elementary schools all have longer days for kids than the typical Chicago public school — but shorter ones than those advocated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city public school officials.

Chicago’s current typical 5-hour and 45-minute elementary school day — usually without a regular recess — looks paltry compared to a top-scoring 2011 suburban average of just under 6½ hours that includes daily recess, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis indicates.

However, Chicago’s proposed 7½-hour day would keep city elementary kids in school an hour more than their top-scoring suburban counterparts. Such a day is appealing even to some suburban parents.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/8452309-418/2011-illinois-school-report-cards-top-schools-have-longer-days.html

The Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) has great information posted at its site about school day length.

According to McRel in the article, Extended School Days and School Years:

Does more time in school matter?

Several scholars have argued that simply extending school time in and of itself will not produce the desired results. Larry Cuban, a Stanford University professor of education, has argued for example that what matters most is not the quantity but the quality of time students and teachers spend together in the classroom (2008).

In our 2000 meta-analysis of the impact of school, teacher, and student-level variables on achievement, McREL concluded that student achievement can be strongly affected if schools optimize their use of instructional time.

In 1998 WestEd researchers Aronson et al. examined the research on time and learning and arrived at three conclusions:

  • There is little or no relationship between student achievement and the total number of days or hours students are required to attend school.
  • There is some relationship between achievement and engaged time, that subset of instructional time when students are participating in learning activities.
  • The strongest relationship exists between academic learning time and achievement.

However, in recent years some notable extended time initiatives have produced gains in test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance, including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which increases the amount of time students spend in school by nearly 60%, and Massachusetts 2020. Conversely, a $100 million effort in Miami to extend school days by one hour and add 10 days to the calendar produced no significant benefits.

http://www.mcrel.org/newsroom/hottopicExtendedTime.asp

The key seems to be longer time spent in instructional activities.

The Center for American Progress has an issues brief, Expanded Learning Time By the Numbers. Among the findings are:

Expanded learning time basics

655: The number of expanded learning time schools in 36 states, more than a quarter of which are standard district public schools.

300: The recommended minimum number of additional hours that schools should add to their school calendar to provide students more learning time and opportunities for enrichment activities.

6 to 20 percent: The increase in a school’s budget, depending on the staffing model, to expand learning time for students by 30 percent.

90 percent: The proportion of ELT schools that considered their longer day or year to be essential in meeting their educational goals in a survey of nearly 250 ELT schools.

20 percent: The increase in annual classroom hours that experienced teachers say they need to effectively teach the four core academic subjects—English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.

Other countries are racing ahead in education

197: The average number of days that a middle school teacher in Finland, Japan, and Korea spends on instruction per year compared to the 180 days in the United States.

10,000: The number of hours researchers estimate that students need to achieve expertise. There are approximately 800 annual instructional hours a year in U.S. schools, which means it would take 12.5 years for students to participate in 10,000 hours of schooling, given no loss of learning during the summer.

Students at low-income schools are being left behind

3,000: The average number of words in a low-income kindergartener’s vocabulary compared to the 20,000 in a middle-class kindergartener’s vocabulary.

Sixth or seventh: The grade at which approximately half of ninth graders at high-poverty schools are reading when they enter high school.

32 million: The size of the gap in word exposure between children in professional families (45 million words) and welfare families (13 million) that has accumulated by age 4. Children in professional families will have heard almost as many words by age 1 (11.2 million) as children in welfare families have heard by age 4 (13 million).

1.67: The average minutes per day that third, fourth, and fifth graders in high-poverty schools received explicit vocabulary instruction, or about 100 seconds.

Four: The maximum number of minutes per day teachers in low-income schools spent engaging their first-grade students with informational texts rich in academic language and content-area vocabulary, often because these resources were unavailable.

Expanded learning time and a focus on the basics can yield results.    

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen have an interesting report in Education Next about the effect of time in school. In Time for School? Marcotte and Hansen report:

Our work confirms that increasing instructional time could have large positive effects on learning gains. Encouraging schools and districts to view the school calendar as a tool in the effort to improve learning outcomes should be encouraged in both word and policy.

http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Research confirms there are certain traits of successful schools.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line
Russian mystic & novelist (1828 – 1910)

So it is with schools. There are certain elements that successful schools share. The Wisconsin Department of Education has a good guide about successful schools. Chapter One, Characteristics of Successful Schools , lists key elements.

Like, unhappy families, failing schools are probably failing in their own way.

Resources:

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen , Time for School?Education Next, Winter 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 1

http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on School Day’s Length video

http://video.answers.com/education-secretary-arne-duncan-on-school-days-length-516897086

It seems everything old becomes new once again, although a relentless focus on the basics never went out of style.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©