Colleen Beaudoin is the Managing Director of School and District Support at NCTL.
As we quickly approach the end of January, it’s hard to believe the amount of progress the schools that comprise the TIME Collaborative have already made. Participating schools in five states have been working hard towards the critical planning needed to develop high-quality and sustainable expanded learning time models. Altogether, over 19,500 students are on track to benefit from an expanded school calendar starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
Our planning sessions allow us the opportunity to work side-by-side with teachers and administrators as they challenge themselves to shift their paradigm of the traditional school day. At last month’s national launch, we heard from governors, superintendents, and teachers about their high hopes for the partnerships and the opportunity to re-imagine their school day with more learning time. But one voice largely left out of the conversation so far is that of the students.
In New London, Connecticut, three elementary schools and the district's only middle school, recognized this discrepancy and looked at the expanded school day not from the perspective of elected officials, superintendents, or practitioners. Instead, high school students in the Digital Communications Program at the Science and Technology Magnet School in New London filmed younger students regarding their thoughts on the longer school day. Here’s the video!
From more art, to engineering, to chemistry to more physical education, these students have all sorts of ideas of what could be added to their new school day. Their responses remind us that children are natural explorers and enthusiastic adventurists - we just need to provide them the tools and the time to unlock their passions and their potentials.