Expanded Learning Time
The premise of any expanded learning time program is that more quality time in more quality programs and learning opportunities will yield more positive results in academic and social outcomes for youth. These programs vary from expanding the school day to expanding the school year to Saturday academies and supplemental instructional time during the traditional school day or afterschool and summer programs. What these methods share is a commitment to more and better learning time.
The first part of that goal is easy to understand: more time enables not just more math and more English, but also more science, more social studies, more arts, more music, more physical activity, and more social and emotional learning.But more in itself is not sufficient — it must also be better. Classes must be stimulating, and all programs must have clear, measurable goals.
Those who study youth development look to both external factors that affect youth (environment) and internal factors within the youth (personal attributes) that contribute to their positive growth. Richard Lerner and his colleagues have also emphasized the importance of examining the interaction of person and environment to understand more completely how youth develop.
The aptly named Division Avenue remains a demarcation line between predominantly white and predominantly black neighborhoods—and a stark reminder of the city’s segregated past.
In the beginning of the 21st century, approximately 73 percent of children and youth in Parramore, Orlando’s historically African American neighborhood, lived below the poverty line, with alarmingly high rates for child abuse and neglect. The neighborhood’s high school had received five consecutive Fs on its performance, and only 66 percent of youth graduated from it during the 2007-08 academic year. Teen girls were more likely than girls in the rest of the city to become mothers, and the juvenile arrest rate in Parramore was 250 percent higher than the rate for Orlando overall.
After School Matters is an apprenticeship program available to high school students in Chicago, IL. The program was created to help them gain career-readiness skills. In this evaluation, 535 high school students were evaluated to see the impacts of the apprenticeship experience on a number of measurable outcomes related to career-readiness. Of these outcomes, students in the intervention group were shown to significantly differ on self-regulation, attitudes about school, and fewer specific problem behaviors.
The East Lake community in Atlanta faced high rates of violence and unemployment and low graduation rates. Now, more than 20 years after its decline, the neighborhood — and life for its young people — has dramatically improved.