Middle School & High School: The Next Generation

The White House has started a national conversation on transforming high schools to better serve all students, through their Next Gen High School Summit. This initiative will catalyze new thinking on the challenges and opportunities for advancing this agenda, and share strategies for progress.
The middle school years are a critical period in youth academic success. A group of 20 organizations that directly serve middle school students are already focused on building a foundation for successful transition to high school. Over the next five years, this Expanded Learning Middle School Initiative is committing to collectively invest over half a billion dollars in private and public resources to impact the lives of over a million students by delivering high-quality expanded learning opportunities through multiple, evidence-based models and practices.  Learn more here.

Our Partners

“Afterschool programs are a great investment, providing opportunities for youth to engage in hands-on learning, participate in healthy activities and be introduced to ideas that will help them succeed in school and in the workforce. This is particularly true for our middle school students, far too many of whom are unsupervised after school rather than engaged in positive learning activities. Our 2014 America After3PM household survey found that 4 million middle school students would enroll in an afterschool program if one were available to them—nearly double the number currently served.”

-Jodi Grant, Director of Afterschool Alliance


The nation’s leading voice for afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance isAfterschool Alliance the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more public and private investments to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. The Afterschool Alliance works with the Administration, the U.S. Congress, governors, mayors and advocates across the country. Today the Afterschool Alliance boasts more than 25,000 afterschool program partners and more than 65,000 afterschool advocates.



 “Afterschool programs are a great investment, providing opportunities for youth to engage in hands-on learning, participate in healthy activities and be introduced to ideas that will help them succeed in school and in the workforce. This is particularly true for our middle school students, far too many of whom are unsupervised after school rather than engaged in positive learning activities. Our 2014 America After 3PM household survey found that 4 million middle school students would enroll in an afterschool program if one were available to them—nearly double the number currently served.”

-Ben Paul, President & CEO, After-School All-Stars.


After-School All-Stars’ goals for All-Stars arNat logo low res Largee the same we have for our own children: to be healthy and active, to graduate high school and go on to college, to find a job that they love and to give back to their communities. We achieve this my identifying and fueling our students’ individual passions, tying their interests to tailored academic support, enrichment and health and fitness programming. After-School All-Stars operates during the “danger zone” hours of 3pm – 6 pm–the time of day when youth violence, drug use and other delinquent behaviors are most likely to occur. In recent years, we have been fortunate to partner with corporations and foundations such as New York Life Foundation, Mondelez International, the Mott Foundation, Fox Sports Network, MetroPCS and others, who have all invested over $1MM in support for our programs and national initiatives.


The Aim High model is grounded in data and best practices. Here at Aim High, we know our chosen intervention – middle school, summer and a multi-year community of support  matters and makes a real, substantial impact on the lives of young people from under resourced neighborhoods. We look forward to growing to meet the need and demand for quality summer learning in northern California.”

-Alec Lee, co-founder and Executive Director

Aim High


Aim High is committed to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps in Northern California through our transformational summer learning program. We envision every middle school student having access to joyful summer learning, inspired and innovative teachers, and the support they need to succeed in school and life.


“Each year, too many kids enter high school unprepared for the challenges and opportunities  in high school. Time is one of the most important levers for enabling students to hone their skills, uncover their passions, and believe in themselves, so that when freshman year begins, all kids are engaged and eager to succeed. Expanding learning time in middle school creates opportunities for scholars to explore their interests, build their toolkit of academic, social, and emotional skills, and grow more engaged and determined  on the first day of high school.”

Tiffany Gueye, CEO of Bell


BELL LogoBELL partners with schools and community-based organizations in under-resourced communities to expand learning time in the summer and after school.


“Engaging middle school students and helping them see the connection between their school work and the real world can make a world of difference in their successful transition to high school and beyond.”

-Lisa Holton, President of Classroom Inc. 


Classroom, Inc. helps middle school students developClassroom inc literacy and leadership skills by creating immersive digital learning games and project based curricula set in the professional world.


“Every Hour Counts is proud to join forces with Citizen Schools and other leading expanded learning organizations to pledge our support for the critical role high-quality middle school education makes in a young person’s development. We’ve seen first-hand through initiatives led by our coalition members, and especially the Providence After School Alliance, that enriching expanded learning middle school programming can improve school attendance, grades in school, and social skills. Middle school-age students vote with their feet and quality matters. It’s essential for an infusion of public and private resources, on top of funds already committed, to ensure that young people across entire communities have access to engaging enrichment programs.”

Jessica Donner, Executive Director, Every Hour Counts


Every Hour Counts is a coEvery Hour Countsalition of citywide organizations that increase access to quality learning opportunities, particularly for underserved students. The organization is a leading voice in promoting expanded-learning systems, which provide learning and enrichment through after-school, summer, and other initiatives. Expanded-learning systems help students be more connected to school, build self-confidence, and connect with caring adults, so every student can thrive.

 “Our research shows that by the time they reach 6th grade, kids born into poverty are likely to suffer a 6,000-hour learning gap compared with their middle class peers. This has less to do with time spent in the classroom, and much to do with the enriched learning that happens beyond the traditional school day. We are committed to closing this gap by working with schools and community organizations to expand the day and enhance student learning with hands-on, personalized instruction in subjects like the arts, sports and sciences. Neuroscience tells us that middle school is an optimal time developmentally for this type of initiative. The adolescent brain is ripe for learning and forming new pathways.”

-Lucy N. Friedman, President, ExpandED Schools


ExpandED Schools is dedicatedExpandEd Schools to closing the learning gap by increasing access to enriched education experiences. We expand the school day to provide more and better learning time; engage the community to bring additional talent and child development expertise into the classroom; and enhance the learning by balancing curriculum with the arts, sports and hands-on, personalized instruction. This scalable, cost-effective model reimagines schools and provides 35% more learning at only 10% more cost. To date, ExpandED Schools has helped more than 800,000 kids in underserved schools and communities discover their talents and develop their full potential.


“More than 1000 middle school-aged students participate in our system every year. Activities include college visits, media production, drama, entrepreneurship, and more. To support these partners this year Family League is offering trainings on developing youth leaders and youth engagement.”

-Jonathon Rondeau, President & CEO of Family League of Baltimore.


Family LeagueSince 1991, Family League of Baltimore has mobilized resources, empowered communities, and built the capacity of organizations to provide children and families with high quality programs and services that help them reach their full potential. We use our deep experience in resource management to collaborate with stakeholders to improve opportunities across our city. Our goal is that by 2030, all children in Baltimore will be born healthy, succeed academically, graduate high school and transition into higher education and the workforce.

“Sixth graders who attend school less than 80 percent of the time, or receive an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a core course have a 10-20% chance of graduating high school on time. Harlem RBI has experienced great success combating this trend by offering unique opportunities to support youth and their families to establish successful school habits and healthy peer networks while identifying and overcoming roadblocks to positive outcomes later in adolescence.”

-Richard Berlin, Executive Director, Harlem RBI


Harlem RBI, a non profit organizatiHarlem RBIon, began in 1991 when a group of volunteers transformed an abandoned, garbage-strewn lot into two baseball diamonds for the youth ofEast Harlem. Since then, Harlem RBI has grown to serve more than 1,700 boys and girls, ages 5-22, with year-round academic, sports and enrichment programs in East Harlem and the South Bronx. Harlem RBI’s comprehensive approach to youth development replaces the barriers inner-city youth typically face with concrete opportunities to build the skills and confidence needed to graduate high school, matriculate to college and break the cycle of poverty. Since 2005, 97% of Harlem RBI seniors have graduated high school, 94% of seniors have been accepted into college and 99% of participants have avoided teen parenthood.

“Using those precious years to develop core mindsets and gain meaningful practice in areas that challenge and interest you with friends and adults who care about you – that is the work all of our young people must do. Expanded learning opportunities that make the most of students’ time and energies are essential to that work. We cannot leave this critical effort to chance or rely only on parents’ ability to pay for what will help their children thrive.”

-Lee Hart, Executive Director, High Jump

25th logo



High Jump academic ambition and potential and who are of limited economic means. High Jump provides academic enrichment, counseling and support to students of diverse backgrounds, with the goals of sending our participants to superior college preparatory schools, ensuring their success while they are there, and enhancing their ability to gain admission to highly regarded four-year colleges and universities.

“We see the impact of expanded learning during the middle school years every single day during our Afterschool and Summer Academy. The middle school years are challenging for just about every student, especially students from under served communities. But with additional academic opportunities, students are able to use these years as a springboard into success in high school, college, and beyond.”

-Lynsey Wood Jeffries, CEO, Higher Achievement


Higher Achievement’s rigorousHigher Achievement afterschool an d summer academic program closes the opportunity gap for middle school youth in at-risk    communities. The program’s proven model provides a rigorous year-round learning environment, caring role models, and a culture of  high expectations, resulting in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed. As a result, 95% of Higher Achievement scholars graduate from high school on time.

“Horizons National helps children from Pre-K through high school achieve their full potential. Investment in the middle grades is critical, and Horizons eagerly supports the Expanded Learning Middle School Initiative to help close achievement and opportunity gaps for low-income youth.”

-Lorna Smith, CEO, Horizons


HorizonHorizons Nationals National represents a network of 50 affiliate Pre-K through high school programs in 17 states, helping low-income students achieve their full potential. Over each 6-week summer session, Horizons students gain an average 8-12 weeks in reading and math skills, reversing the “summer slide” and sending children back to school ahead of where they were in June. 99% of students in Horizons high school programs graduate from high school.

“MGP is a partnership that brings together students different backgrounds, but once those public school students and independent school students make the commitment to be a part of our program and sit down in the same classroom those differences disappear. The learning that they do and experiences that they have together are authentic. They take that with them when they go back to their respective schools in the fall and it gives them a stronger world view for the future.”

-Abby Weeks, Director, Math Teacher at Afya Public Charter School


Middle Grades Partnership increases opportunities fMGPor academically promising Baltimore City public school students through public and private school partnerships. We do this by pairing public and private middle school leaders, master teachers and students from both communities in 9 different partnerships. Each partnership conducts 5-week,academically-focused summer programs rife with enrichment and experiences outside the classroom. During the school year our students work together on long- term projects that develop the skills most needed by middle school students while breaking down the silos that separate communities in Baltimore.

“To succeed in high school, college, and career, students living in poverty need schools that offer expanded learning time throughout elementary and middle school to ensure that they are prepared for 9th grade, in addition to a high-quality high school to keep them on track.”

-Jennifer Davis, President and Co-Founder of the National Center on Time & Learning


The National Center on Time & Learning (NNCTLCTL) is dedicated to expanding and improving learning time in school to improve student achievement and enable a well-rounded education. NCTL supports national, state, and local initiatives designed to help students, especially those raised in poverty, succeed in education, careers, and life.

“To truly prepare our middle school students for 21st century learning will require true partnership between school day and expanded learning (both afterschool and summer) programs. We are thrilled to join Citizen Schools and our fellow programs to help students thrive.”

-Jennifer Peck, Executive Director, Partnership for Children & Youth


PCY LogoThe Partnership for Children & Youth (PCY) connects school districts, community organizations, and government agencies with the resources they need to effectively serve low-income children and youth. PCY trains service providers to improve the quality and access of their programs and advocates for sound public education policy that supports this work to benefit the learning and healthy development of children and youth across California.

“Success in high school relies heavily upon students’ engagement during the middle grades,When we tailor seventh and eighth grade learning to meet students’ developmental needs, they build the non-cognitive skills and social capital to transition well into high school highly prepared for the rigors ahead.”

-Jason Cascarino, CEO of Spark.


Spark re-engages under served seventSpark_Logo_Full Colorh and eighth grade students, keeping them on track and ready for success in high school and beyond through workplace-based apprenticeships that uniquely combine mentoring, project-based learning, skill building and career exploration.

“A full 80% of a child’s life is spent out of school, making our efforts in the field of out-of-school time vitally important to reduce the opportunity gap for our nation’s students. Sprockets is proud to be a part of the solution and partner with our colleagues across the nation to provide opportunities for youth to contribute, learn, and thrive.

-Eyenga Bokamba, Executive Director, Sprokcets


Sprockets’ mission is to improve the quality, availability and effectivenessprocketss of out-of-school time learning for all youth in Saint Paul through the committed, collaborative and innovative efforts of community organizations, government, schools and other partners.

“STEM industries are found everywhere, spanning everything from biotech to humanitarian relief to robotics, gaming and sports and even the arts and culture. What other career path can claim the variety and flexibility of STEM? Our nation is not only poised to go over a “fiscal cliff,” we’re just about in freefall over a talent cliff to meet the growing need of STEM jobs. We need STEM leaders in industry to lead with the passion they bring to their businesses to help fill the talent gap! There has never been a more important time to tie diversity and STEM: The key careers are in STEM areas; and minority youth are already the majority of the American population, and within two decades the majority of America will be diverse”

-Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector®/Million Women Mentors


STEMconnector® is a consortium of over 154 companies, asSTEM connectorsociations,academic institutions and government entities actively working to advance STEM education and the future of human capital. STEMconnector® focuses on the STEM workforce, with aparticular emphasis on diversity and women. Our work spans the entire pipeline (kindergarten to jobs) and how STEM experiences translate into careers.


MWM Million Women Mentors: Launched on January 8th, 2014, MWM is the collective action of over 60 corporate sponsors, and 34 states designed to increase the number of girls and women that persist and succeed mentors have been pledged. For more information on MWM and how you can engage, please