ExpandED Schools, an initiative by The After-School Corporation (TASC) to bring students longer school days for increased, quality instruction and mentoring, announced today that it received $11.5 million in new funding from Open Society Foundation, The Wallace Foundation and TASC to support a national expansion.
ExpandED began offering school days about three hours longer than the average six-hour school day in three schools in Baltimore, three in New Orleans and five in New York City. The longer school day gives students more quality instruction time, increased adult mentoring and the opportunity to explore additional learning opportunities in areas such as dance, music, debate, web design and more.
“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.”
“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.”
The effort seeks to close gaps between opportunity and educational achievement. The approach, which is based on research and proven practice, seeks to improve students academic achievement while also fortifying them socially and emotionally.
“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.”
“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.
ExpandED delivers this new, extended-day approach by forging partnerships between schools and community organizations. New funding will help to expand this successful effort, nationally. A key objective of the new funding opportunity to expand across the nation is to develop policy and grow sustainable public funding for communities.
Not only will ExpandED models increase student learning opportunity, especially in low-income communities, but it will increase learning success in the United States on an international stage. U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan comments.
“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 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.
For more, view the ExpandED information sheet.