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Lessons for Scale and Sustainability: Year Four Report on ExpandED Schools

Katie Brohawn

Katie Brohawn directs research for ExpandED Schools.

In 2011, ExpandED Schools launched a national demonstration of our expanded learning model in three cities: Baltimore, New Orleans and New York City. Since then, we have worked to transform 10 schools in these cities by reimagining the school day – for both students and educators.

Policy Studies Associates (PSA), our external evaluator since the demonstration’s inception, documented the evolution of the model in these schools and cities over time – seeking to understand the conditions that affect whether and how policies and practices take root. Promising strategies they found included: clear and consistent messaging, the presence of a strong instructional coordinator, creative staffing patterns, joint leadership for the expanded day and teacher champions of the model.

ExpandED Schools Year Four Research Brief

While the timeline has varied among the ten schools in their uptake of the core elements of the ExpandED Schools model, one thing has remained constant -- the ExpandED Schools approach hinges on the strength and depth of the partnership between the school and the community partner organization. Without a partnership built on shared vision and shared responsibility, it is very hard to gain or maintain traction on other core elements of an expanded day. (If you read nothing else of this fantastic report – though I hope you read it all! – keep in mind the above two sentences.)

Most intriguing though is the finding that schools needed time to fully adopt the model, and that’s OK. Starting out with the implementation of a balanced curriculum and joint planning sets schools well on their way to providing an enhanced learning experience. Schools can still develop successful expanded learning programs while working over time to set into place supports for data-driven instruction and an integrated funding approach.

The report culminates with questions intermediary organizations, schools, district leaders and community partner organizations should ask before adopting an expanded day model. We hope others will find the report useful and become inspired to set out on a journey – for their students, schools and communities – to transform time and learning.

 Click here to read the full report.

 

 

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