Last week, I visited a couple of successful expanded learning time schools through NCTL’s “Seeing Is Believing” tour in Massachusetts. The Huntington Elementary School in Brockton, MA was memorable for me, because of their tight knit leadership group and their teacher buy-in. Their school recognized the urgent need to act in order to create necessary positive change.
Their story is pretty amazing, creating their vision to implement expanded learning time as a turnaround strategy in 2009 when the state designated them a level 3 school on its 5 level accountability system. Having received the state’s MA ELT grant in the spring of 2012, Huntington officially moved forward with an expanded school day in the fall of that year. The Huntington Elementary school recognized their strength in creating a strong ELT program in so short a time due to teacher buy in. They have redesigned their school culture around their ELT plan, with a strong track toward new measurable growth goals that are met with urgency and rigor. With the option of not having to stay during the additional hours that have lengthened the afternoon, 70% of classroom teachers choose to stay and work. You can tell that the teachers, administrators, and parents are all fully behind this new initiative and students enjoy it as well.
They are a great example of a community who has really embodied their vision and held their beliefs at the top of their mind every day; which is, “every child, every day soaring to success.” The teachers have bought into this new school identity and enjoy it. One teacher said: “It still isn’t enough time with the expanded time.”
The success of The Huntington School comes from the staff rallying together to create a sense of ownership over student achievement, internalizing common values, acknowledging the urgency of student achievement, and creating a common goal to focus on the most prevalent need affecting all students.
View the photos from the “Seeing is Believing” Tour on our Facebook page.