We serve as a bridge between on-the-ground needs and the work of policymakers, advocating for policies that enable schools and their community partners to improve services provided to students and their families.
What Is Expanded Learning Time?
We believe that communities should make the decisions about expanded learning opportunities; it should not be a federal or state mandate. We believe that whichever approach is chosen – after school, before school, summer, and extended day, week or year – it should be high-quality, include community partners, and be held accountable for results.
We would like to see federal and state policy support a definition of expanded learning time that reflects the best knowledge and insights; allowing for community based decision-making on how to best address student needs to create a comprehensive, seamless learning system across schools and communities.
Our Policy Definition of Expanded Learning
- Provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including alternative methods of teaching and learning that promote healthy development and help students stay in school, engage in learning, and stay on the path to successful school completion;
- Serve the learning needs and interests of all students, especially those who may not prosper in the traditional classroom setting;
- Deliver services through a variety of high-quality and effective strategies for boosting learning and enrichment including after school, before school, summer, and extended day, week or year;
- Not replicate but rather complement the regular school day, by offering a range of activities that capture student interest and support student engagement which can promote higher class attendance, reduce risk for suspension or dropout, and increase the chance for graduation;
- Be developmentally appropriate; for instance, older youth are capable of more complex projects, serving as change-makers within their communities, and participating in work-based internships and apprenticeships;
- Be implemented by partnerships between local education agencies (LEAs) and community based organizations (CBOs), in which either the CBO or the LEA can be the lead fiscal agent; and
- Involve a broad stakeholder group in the effort (educators, parents, youth, and community members).