During the 83rd legislative session, an Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council was formed and tasked with researching issues with the expanded learning opportunities as well as creating a statewide plan for expanded learning opportunities for students in public schools throughout Texas for the 2016-2017 biennium.
The ELO Council's findings have led them to recommend the state legislature commit funds in the Texas Education Agency's 2016-2017 budget for implementation of a "Texas ELO Initiative." This statewide initiative will strive to: • Expand access to quality ELO programs • Provide resources for ELO programs including program guidance, technical support, and tolls for measuring success • Strengthen inter-state coordination of efforts and leadership • Identify the characteristics of ELO's in the state that have the most impact on students' academic, character and economic development.
Currently, there is an Expanded Learning Opportunities rider (Rider #37) which creates a competitive grant program at the Texas Education Agency that will allow at-risk Texas pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students the opportunity to participate in high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs resulting in improvements in academics, social, emotional and/or physical measures. The rider takes the first step to implement the recommendations of the ELO Council.
Make your voice heard! Contact your local representatives via email and encourage them to support Rider #37. Also, ask that they consider a more specific outcome measure for this rider to include promotion of high school endorsements as our increased linkage between education and career opportunities and our counselor shortage across the state necessitate that we educate our students about this critical link in expanded learning opportunities, too. You can access your representative by clicking here.