Two Large Districts Implementing Expanded-Learning Pilots

By Nora Fleming — August 01, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Seven schools will be expanding their school day in Denver this fall as part of a pilot project the district is undertaking with $2.5 million in reserve funds.

The schools—elementary, middle, and high—will have freedom to determine how to use the additional time; one elementary school has already stated it plans on using the time to provide more teacher professional development and an enrichment block for students, making use of local community organizations like the public library and zoo to provide more enhanced in- and out-of-school experiences. Other district schools, while not part of the pilot, will also be implementing hybrid schedules this year that could include adding more time to the school day.

Education News Colorado’s article also reports that the district is considering including a tax initiative on the November ballot that would generate $49 million if passed; $28 million of the total would be earmarked for increased enrichment offerings, expanded-learning opportunities, and student supports for Denver students.

On the same front, Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the country, has recently pledged to implement an expanded learning time initiative with the support of $1.5 million from the Ford Foundation, and $200,000 and guidance from the California Community Foundation (CCF), an L.A.-based philanthropy. The initiative will extend learning time at high schools in LAUSD that leverage the resources of community partners to provide students real-world experiences outside the classroom.

Several of the schools already selected are themed, comprehensive high schools that were already attempting to incorporate hands-on learning outside the classroom as part of their curricula, said Peter Rivera, senior program officer at CCF. The influx of funding will help these schools, and potentially others, scale up this model.
“It’s really about connecting the curriculum in school to out of school, so the themes become more contextualized,” Mr. Rivera said.

The project in L.A. is part of the Ford Foundation’s More and Better Learning Time $50 million education initiative that includes Time to Succeed Coalition.

This initiative is part of Ford Foundation’s $50 million “more and better learning time” education initiative of which the Time to Succeed Coalition is also one piece.

“All around the country we are seeing a real impact when the school days and school years are extended and redesigned,” said Jeannie Oakes, the Ford Foundation’s director of the Educational Opportunity and Scholarship Programs. “This is a community-by- community effort to provide safe, supportive places where students can achieve academically, explore and pursue their passions, and build relationships with caring adults.”

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