Add your voice to the conversation to help make expanded learning opportunities the new normal for every student. Learn more about these crucial factors in education that need more attention and investment.

Our Allies:


Our Causes:

+ Expanded Learning Time

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 the school day for all students.

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, 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.


To grow up prepared for the 21st century, students need to be inspired by science during their most formative years. Citizen Schools is doing what schools can’t do alone. We bring expert scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to low-income middle school students to make learning relevant and new career paths possible. In 2014-2015, approximately 4,300 volunteers taught apprenticeship courses, approximately half of which were in STEM subjects and taught by professionals from leading corporations across the country like Google, Cisco, Cognizant, Fidelity and Biogen, bringing authentic expertise and passion for STEM to the school community and building excitement for STEM among students.

Student surveys administered by Citizen Schools show that students who participated in STEM apprenticeships reported interest in STEM at more than twice national rates, suggesting high potential to help schools close STEM inspiration and achievement gaps. Read more about what Citizen Schools and our allies are doing to transform STEM education.

Citizen Schools supports the inclusion of the following principles in STEM related legislation: Explicitly include middle school and middle school students as an eligible use of federal and state funds so that schools are engaging students in STEM at an earlier age Encourage partnerships between districts and community based organizations, industry experts, and institutions of higher education in order to better align the K-12 school day to college and careers. Allow high-performing nonprofit organizations, in addition to universities and local education agencies, to serve as lead applicants for grant programs

+ National Service

National service provides a cost-effective tool to help solve some of our country’s biggest challenges. Programs like Citizen Schools, City Year, Jumpstart, Habitat for Humanity International, Teach for America, YouthBuild USA and other nonprofits and community-based organizations are utilizing human capital, made possible by the Corporation for Community and National Service (CNCS), to educate students for the 21st Century, assist veterans and military families, help rebuild after disasters, and promote health and well being.

Despite its critical value to states and demand by communities, between 2010 and 2015, the U.S. Congress cut the CNCS budget by 13 percent, or $154 million. These cuts resulted in the elimination of service learning programs for 1.5 million students, the reduction of AmeriCorps by 18,000 positions, and the displacement of more than 113,500 Senior Corps members.

Citizen Schools advocates for an increased investment in CNCS that will engage millions in service, bolster civic and faith-based organization, support evidence-based solutions, and create pathways to opportunity for those who serve.

+ Middle School

The adolescent brain goes through a critical neurological transition during middle school years. Across the country, youth experience “achievement dips” during adolescence including drops in grades, test scores, attendance, and engagement. Despite the critical need for engaging students in middle school to get them on a path to success in high school and beyond, we see a lack of investment in proven interventions that support students during the middle schools years.

Citizen Schools focuses on the middle school years given how critical these years are to a child’s brain development, as well as to the development of necessary social-emotional skills. Citizen Schools aims to effectively set students’ sights on high school graduation and college matriculation, while building the 21st century skills, beliefs, and networks they will need to reach those goals.

Citizen Schools supports policies and programs that explicitly target funding and high-quality interventions for middle school students.