Expanded Learning Time

A student in an expanded school day raises his hand

 Why ELT is Important

All children need to be inspired through their education and surroundings to develop the necessary academic and social skills. Yet income and background often limit access, especially to high-quality programs. Upper-income families have tripled their investment in their children’s education in a generation—amounting to a gap of 6,000 hours of extra learning by 6th grade. Lower-income children count on public schools, even though they only spend 20% of their waking hours in the classroom. To shift this trend, schools and community organizations across the country are collaborating to expand learning time and opportunities for low-income students, with a special focus on the critical, but often neglected, middle school years.

Many studies show that expanding time for student learning has an impact on student achievement—particularly for at-risk students. By expanding the learning day, more students within a school community can have access to academic support, enrichment activities, and mentoring. Non-profit organizations, such as Citizen Schools, partner with schools to significantly extend three school day for all students.

ELT and Public Policy

Citizen Schools advocates for policies and practices at all levels of government to make expanded learning the new normal for all students. Core to this advocacy strategy is raising the visibility of ELT, recognizing the value of multiple models and strategies, as a critical education practice, especially for middle school students.

In order to ease the path toward implementing ELT for at-risk students in a sustainable way across the country, Citizen Schools is continually advocating for the preservation of targeted federal programs that fund expanded learning opportunities, as well as providing flexibility within programs to support states, districts, schools, and community partners’ efforts to provide high-quality expanded learning time for students. Read more here about our expanded learning time policy platform and how you can get involved!