BPS wins support from national collaborative to extend school day in Dorchester, Mattapan and the North End
BOSTON – Interim Superintendent John McDonough announced that three BPS schools have been selected to join a national cohort -- called the TIME Collaborative -- that are significantly expanding and redesigning their school calendars in an effort to dramatically improve student learning.
Next week school leaders, teachers and families from the Eliot K-8 School in the North End, the Sarah Greenwood K-8 School in Dorchester and Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot K-8 School in Mattapan will begin a planning process to determine what a redesigned and expanded day could look like. Extended school days could begin for the 2014-15 school year.
“For years we have argued that a traditional six-hour school day is not enough time to provide high-quality instruction in core subjects while also offering arts, health education and opportunities for individualized learning,” McDonough said. “This collaborative fits into our larger strategy to expand learning time across our schools.”
“This approach will help us engage teachers and parents to create new opportunities for hundreds of students,” said Boston School Committee Chair Michael O’Neill. “Ultimately it lays the groundwork for extending the school day in many more schools in the years to come.”
The district and schools will now begin a thorough planning process to ensure they have high-quality plans in place to implement and sustain an expanded school schedule in the 2014-2015 school year and in the years ahead. The planning process will be collaborative effort including teachers, community members, union officials, parents, and administrators. The results of this process could be expanded to include other schools.
BPS has already extended the school day in 35 schools through the use of Pilot School flexibility, Turnaround School authority, Innovation School plans, i3 (Investing in Innovation Fund) grants, In-District Charter Schools and district- and state-supported Extended Learning Time programs. In addition, BPS offers intensive academic Acceleration academies to 3,000 students during February and April vacations and this summer served 11,500 students in summer learning programs – approximately one in five children. This month, the BPS Summer Learning Project won a national award for excellence and effectiveness.
Launched in 2012, the TIME Collaborative is a partnership between the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) to develop high-quality and sustainable expanded learning time schools in five states. Through the TIME Collaborative, the Ford Foundation and NCTL are investing in and supporting these states that have agreed to harness state resources and federal funds using new flexibilities afforded by the ESEA waiver process to add 300 hours of learning time for all students in participating schools.
The Massachusetts TIME Collaborative schools will join a robust community of more than 1,000 expanded-time schools across the United States, including more than 100 expanded-time schools in the Commonwealth.
“To prepare students for college or a middle-class job in today’s economy, the conventional basics are not enough,” said Jennifer Davis, co-founder and president of NCTL, which is based in Boston. “Students need to know how to solve complex problems, work independently and in teams, and how to think critically. Teaching these skills takes more time and a more personalized approach than most schools offer today. With more time in the school calendar, schools can offer a well-rounded curriculum, more individualized support for students, and more time for teachers to hone their craft.”
Successful plans, which will be complete by spring 2014, will address the following key criteria:
- Focused school-wide priorities based on multiple data sources
- Rigorous academics that include challenging ELA, math, science, and social studies courses
- Individualized academic intervention or acceleration based on student needs
- Engaging enrichment opportunities for all students
- Frequent data cycles to improve instruction
- Targeted teacher development and frequent opportunities for collaboration
- Strong school culture of high expectations
“In tight budget times, these states and philanthropic leaders have demonstrated creativity and commitment to giving students greater academic opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the launch of the TIME Collaborative in Washington, DC on December 3, 2012. “Whether educators have more time to enrich instruction or students have more time to learn how to play an instrument and write computer code, adding meaningful in-school hours is a critical investment that better prepares children to be successful in the 21st century."
The other states participating in the TIME Collaborative are Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Tennessee. For more information on the TIME Collaborative, click here.