Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement, co-led a discussion on the policy considerations of extended learning time at the Wallace Foundation’s “Reimagining the School Day: A Forum On More Time For Learning.”
The forum brought together 75 leading educators, policymakers and leaders in K-12 education to examine whether the system could move beyond the conventional six-hour, 180-day school year to a more flexible system that provides students with additional learning opportunities.
Will Miller, president of the Wallace Foundation, said:
“The traditional school day and year do not contain enough hours to enable America’s neediest urban children to learn what’s necessary to lead successful lives in the 21st century. We need to find extra hours and make sure that every moment is used well.”
And now a report by Elena Silva and Susan Headden summarizes the discussion about the growing interest and experimentation in more learning time with “a general acknowledgement that much more needs to be learned about what works and what doesn’t.”
Wallace then began supporting School of One, which uses technology to tailor math teaching to the needs of the individual child; Project READS, a summer reading program; and the KIPP schools, which feature expanded school hours.
Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), Higher Achievement and Horizons National were included as premier providers of summer learning programs launched as part of the Wallace initiative. Publishing “Making Summer Count,” a RAND study that looks at the research on summer learning loss and possible solutions and the report struck a chord in communities across the United States.
It was then announced it would help six school districts develop strong summer learning programs and test whether the programming can produce lasting academic gains for low-income students.
Wallace is also supporting Citizen Schools, working to expand the school day for low-income middle school students, alongside Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and Communities in Schools.
Wallace intends to aid those who need ideas and information to make beneficial change for disadvantaged children. It is hoped that the report spurs the kind of informed discussion necessary for progress in helping children across the country.