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Earlier this month Massachusettts 2020, NCTL's state affiliate, joined with leaders in early education and from the business community as well as leading superintendents and mayors to launch the Building on What Works Coalition. The Coalition is committed to positioning cities and towns to accelerate progress in ensuring all children in Massachusetts have the learning opportunities critical for success.  

 

This winter in Boston has been one for the record books. School officials in Boston have had no choice but to cancel school for several days because it has been simply unsafe for students to get to school.

In a few weeks, NCTL will make available an update to our national database of expanded-time schools.  As a recent NBC News segment previewed, NCTL has now identified significantly more expanded-time schools across the country. They have taken root in almost every state, with some states boasting well over 100 such schools. In short, there is little question that momentum to expand learning time for students in every corner of the country continues to build.

A few weeks ago I watched parts of a six-episode documentary series on PBS entitled “How We Got To Now” in which journalist and author Steven Johnson explores some of the basic features of modern life and how these things that we very much take for granted came to be. He considers questions like why we have standard clock time or a steady supply of clean water to help us understand that these things which seem omnipresent (and even quite natural) are anything but. 

Today we release a step by step blended learning implementation guide within expanded-time schools. While many know us for our work with more time, we know that good schools don’t just have more time for their students, they also use time well. Using time well means that the days, hours, and minutes spent in a school are personalized to set up every student and teacher for success—now and in the future.

In Meriden, Connecticut, district leaders and teachers were in a quandary. Their neighborhood schools did not provide students and teachers with the necessary resources to help close the achievement gap. So, the community came up with a plan to redesign the entire school day to benefit students, staff, and families through expanded learning time. 

We believe change is needed in our schools. Not just for the sake of change, but to prepare students for a world that is increasingly competitive: in colleges, in the 21st century workplace, and in the global economy. We believe expanded learning time is the vehicle for that change.

We believe change is needed in our schools. Not just for the sake of change, but to prepare students for a world that is increasingly competitive: in colleges, in the 21st century workplace, and in the global economy. We believe expanded learning time is the vehicle for that change.

Over our ten year history working in supporting schools to close achievement and opportunity gaps for students through expanded learning time, we have worked with the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union as they have moved to increase learning time in district schools. It’s clear that district initiatives have moved in fits and starts, with - and sometimes offset - by schools that have seen more limited improvement.

In a few weeks, we will be releasing an update of our policy trends report called Learning Time in America. As a preview, I can tell you that we have, once again, found momentum continuing to build with more and more schools and districts redesigning and increasing school time to support student achievement and teacher development. 

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