LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to the National Center on Time & Learning to ensure that 1 million American public school students within the next 10 years have access to high-performing public schools that offer internationally competitive academic learning time through longer, modernized school calendars, the foundation and center announced today.
The National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) is the leading organization helping public schools across the nation expand academic learning time. NCTL works with local, state and national education leaders to ensure that longer school day and year schedules – which research shows is a core strategy widely used by other nations and many successful U.S. public charter schools to raise student achievement and close achievement gaps – are likely to yield student gains.
"We must stop shortchanging our children. American students receive only a fraction of the academic time of many of their international counterparts. As a nation, we cannot afford to allow our children to be at a competitive disadvantage in the 21st century global economy," said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which in 2007 provided more than $1.1 million to NCTL's sister organization, Massachusetts 2020. "We are encouraged that a growing number of states and districts are choosing to modernize their school calendars, thanks to the Obama administration, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and the founders of NCTL, Jennifer Davis and Chris Gabrieli."
Billions in soon-to-be available federal Race to the Top funds and School Improvement Grants – as well as President Obama's recent 2010 budget request – call upon states and districts to build additional time into the school day and year for students to engage in academics and enrichment activities. Having successfully pioneered the nation's first statewide policy to expand learning time in traditional public schools in Massachusetts in 2005, NCTL now acts as a resource to a growing number of states that are exploring a redesigned school day. Today, NCTL works with five states to plan similar expanded learning time models: Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island.
To serve 1 million American public school students within the next 10 years, NCTL plans to use the new Broad Foundation support to partner with twice as many states and districts and help them secure federal and state dollars, adopt research-based pilot programs likely to raise student achievement, use student outcome data to continuously improve, and secure sustainable long-term funding.
"As Secretary Duncan has said, increasing learning time in school, especially in concert with other reforms such as initiatives to improve teacher quality, are key strategies for states, districts and schools to improve student achievement," said Jennifer Davis, president and CEO of NCTL. "We are grateful to The Broad Foundation for positioning us to help many more states and districts reinvent modern academic calendars that will allow students to succeed at much higher levels."
NCTL has had promising early results in redesigning and expanding the school day in Massachusetts. Over the past year, historically low-performing, low-income schools within the state's expanded learning time initiative gained in proficiency across all grades on the state's MCAS exam, rising twice as fast as the state in English language arts and math, and nearly five times as fast as the state in science. Several schools also demonstrated particularly dramatic results in narrowing or eliminating the achievement gap compared to the state. For example, at Boston's Edwards Middle School, eighth graders reduced the achievement gap with the state by four-fifths in English language arts and by two-thirds in science. Edward's Middle School eighth graders now exceed the state in math proficiency by eight points.
Modeled after high-performing schools that add time like KIPP (the Knowledge is Power Program) schools, NCTL helps schools redesign their day to provide all students with 300 more hours per year to focus on core subjects like math, literacy and science through hands-on, interactive projects. Students also have the chance to participate in enrichment activities such as athletics, robotics, forensics, music, drama, and video production to develop cognitive, physical, and social skills, and to engage in teamwork, apprenticeships, problem solving, and technology. Struggling students, such as special education students and English language learners, also receive more individualized instruction.
Teachers benefit from an expanded day too. NCTL works with teachers unions to negotiate new contracts that compensate teachers for the additional hours worked. Under the NCTL model, teachers receive more opportunities to collaborate professionally during the day, have greater access to professional development, and report higher job satisfaction.
"Our ELT schools, teachers, and students are more energized, more empowered, and more involved," said Dr. Paul Dakin, superintendent of Revere Public Schools in Revere, Mass., a city with two expanded day schools. "We see expanded time as a means to accomplish what is necessary to provide public education students with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the 21st century."
The National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) is dedicated to expanding learning time to improve student achievement and enable a well-rounded education for all children. Through research, public policy, and technical assistance to districts and schools, NCTL supports national, state, and local initiatives that add significantly more school time to advance academic outcomes, broaden enrichment opportunities, and improve instruction to help all children meet the demands of the 21st century. NCTL has partnered with the Center for American Progress Action Fund to support federal policies to expand learning time for high need students. For more information, visit: www.timeandlearning.org.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundation's education work is focused on dramatically improving urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. The Broad Foundation's Internet address is www.broadfoundation.org.
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SOURCE The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation