Until 2009, the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) Program had been a comparatively modest program within Title I. However, a boost in base funding to $546 million—along with a one-time infusion of $3 billion from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—cast SIG in a new role as the de facto leader in the field of whole-school redesign.

Last month, I had the privilege of joining the Massachusetts state team and several of our TIME Collaborative planning schools from Tennessee in our fall Seeing is Believing Tour, a showcase of six Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) schools who have been thoughtful and effective in their implementation of ELT with the assistance of NCTL.

Once, while on a school visit in Syracuse, a teacher in an expanded-time school asked a kindergarten class to compare an aspect of two books they were reading. Immediately, several five- year-old students raised their hands and one student confidently stated, “We need to look in the book for textual evidence.”  I almost fell out of my chair!

I am pleased to announce that, this fall, 21 new schools in 9 districts in 5 states are implementing redesigned schedules and expanded time as part of our TIME Collaborative. These schools join an earlier cohort of 20 schools that expanded their learning time beginning in the 2013-2014 school. 

Mayor Menino asked me to join his Administration in 1998‎. I loved my job in the Clinton Administration, but the Mayor, Superintendent Payzant and my family called me back to Massachusetts. 

We are very proud to announce that NCTL has hired its first Chief Operating Officer, Pete November. Before joining NCTL, Pete served as a Regional Vice President for City Year where he oversaw the Executive Directors of five City Year sites, including direct oversight responsibility for their annual operating budget, 145 staff, and 750 AmeriCorps members serving in 75 urban public schools.

Last week we had teachers and administrators from Tennessee join us on a “Seeing is Believing” multi-day tour of Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) schools.  It was a powerful experience to share similarities, troubleshoot differences, bounce ideas off of other teachers and find suggestions for improvement within the school walls. We came away renewed with more work to be done to help implement ELT in other districts, and...

There is exciting news regarding expanding learning time in New York. In 2013, Governor Cuomo and the Legislature announced an Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative. With that announcement, the NY State Education Department (NYSED) began working on the parameters of the ELT Initiative and they recently announced the first cohort of districts and schools to be selected to plan for and implement expanded learning time through the state’s competitive grant process. 

Congratulations to Casimir Pulaski Elementary School in Meriden, CT for receiving top honors in the HealthierUS School Challenge

Over the past four years, the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program has been an important catalyst for increasing learning time at struggling schools. The U.S. Department of Education proposed new rules in September that would give states more flexibility to design a new turnaround model, while strengthening its focus on increased learning time, and making significant improvements in how the program is implemented. The proposed rules encourage a planning year as part of increasing the maximum grant length to five years, and add flexibility for states to design a new model that would have “increased learning time” as the only fixed requirement.