Integrating Expanded Learning and School Reform Initiatives: Challenges and Strategies
Despite considerable investments in school reform initiatives over the past 30 years, the daunting number of schools that are failing to meet their annual achievement targets continues to increase. For this reason, expanded learning programs need to be given more attention as a core element.
Research suggests that students strongly benefit when they are provided substantially more time to engage in academic enrichment and youth development opportunities, both within and outside the school building. Well-designed expanded learning programs can have a positive impact on student achievement, attendance and graduation rates, and other desirable student outcomes, but they are not often incorporated as a key element in school improvement plans.
To address this issue, Learning Point Associates (now merged with AIR) and the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS) launched an initiative to strengthen collaboration between school-focused reform efforts and those that seek similar outcomes but instead employ student-focused interventions, two examples of which are extending the time and expanding the opportunities to learn.