Expanded Learning, Expanded Opportunity

How Four Communities Are Working to Improve Education for Their Students

Expanded Learning, Expanded Opportunity: How Four Communities Are Working to Improve Education for Their Students analyzes case studies of “more and better learning time” efforts around the country.

With support from the Ford Foundation, America’s Promise Alliance looked in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn. and Rochester, N.Y. to see how time spent out of the classroom improved outcomes for students in low-income neighborhoods and low-performing schools.

Just as different names are used for the same concept in different communities – expanded learning, extended learning or out-of-school-time opportunities – there is no typical approach to effective programs. The report highlights the challenges, successes, variation and innovation present in each community profiled in the report.

  • Grand Rapids
    Through cross-sector collaboration, Grand Rapids went from a community with no school-based expanded learning opportunities to one with many, all fortified by a network of community and philanthropic support.
  • Louisville
    As part of an effort to increase high school graduation rates, Louisville leaders made a bet on out-of-school time programs run by community organizations. Louisville’s strategy called for increasing capacity, participation and quality – especially for older youth – and ensuring that parents and young people were aware of and could access local programs.
  • Memphis
    Too few Memphis students graduate from high school; even fewer graduate prepared for postsecondary education. Nonprofit organizations targeting poor and struggling students with expanded learning opportunities are proving to be effective partners, raising student achievement and aspirations.
  • Rochester
    Rochester’s “reimagined school day” is not merely an extension of classes in the afternoon. It’s an innovative effort that fully integrates community-based organizations into the school day – from planning to the measurement of success.

For a synthesis of lessons learned, go to the America’s Promise news story