TASC Launches National Expanded Learning Effort

By Nora Fleming — December 15, 2011 2 min read
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New Orleans and Baltimore have linked arms with The After School Corporation to pilot an expanded learning model in their schools as part of an $11.5 million national initiative, the organization announced today.

The two cities are replicating ExpandED schools, a pilot project The After School Corporation (TASC) launched in New York in 2008, which expanded the school day by roughly three hours at 10 New York City schools and grew to 17 within three years. The new pilot began this fall at three schools each in both Baltimore and New Orleans, and an added five in New York, but will now be brought to scale through funding from the Wallace Foundation and the Open Society Foundation, among others, to expand the model to more schools nationally over the next few years.

TASC says its hope is that the national launch will push the organization forward in promoting expanded learning as a national school turnaround and reform effort. Here Secretary of Education Arne Duncan offers his own two cents on the news of the launch and his support for expanding learning.

The TASC model relies on partnerships with community organizations and blended public-private funding to add time for academic enrichment, instructional support, and professional development. According to TASC President Lucy Friedman, the model is scalable given the blended funding and strategic re-purposing of existing school and youth development resources.

“We believe that having an affordable cost model is critical to long term adaptation and sustainability and are demonstrating that schools can expand the learning day by at least 35 percent at less than 10 percent of additional cost by holding them to an incremental cost per child of $1600 at scale,” Friedman said.

In Baltimore, TASC will assist the Family League of Baltimore City and the Partnership for Youth Development in New Orleans in implementation efforts. Both are intermediary organizations like TASC that work with schools and community organizations in a variety of out-of-school-time initiatives in their respective locales.

Gina Warner, the executive director of the Partnership for Youth Development, was enthusiastic about the project and said “reinventing the school day” is really about collaboration between a variety of stakeholders.

“ExpandED schools is about much more than additional in-school time,” she said. “It provides students from traditionally under-resourced communities with additional educational opportunities that are also culturally rich. Parents benefit from knowing that their children are in a safe, supportive environment throughout the working day. And schools work with community partners to revitalize arts, science and physical education programs without placing an additional burden on school staff.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Beyond School blog.