Table of Contents

Title page

Gil G. Noam, Editor-in-Chief

Harvard University and McLean Hospital

Editorial Board

K. Anthony Appiah

Princeton University

Princeton, N.J.

Peter Benson

Search Institute

Minneapolis, Minn.

Dale A. Blyth

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minn.

Dante Cicchetti

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minn.

William Damon

Stanford University

Palo Alto, Calif.

Goéry Delacôte

At-Bristol Science Museum

Bristol, England

Felton Earls

Harvard Medical School

Boston, Mass.

Jacquelynne S. Eccles

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Wolfgang Edelstein

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Berlin, Germany

Kurt Fischer

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Cambridge, Mass.

Carol Gilligan

New York University Law School

New York, N.Y.

Robert Granger

W. T. Grant Foundation

New York, N.Y.

Ira Harkavy

University of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Penn.

Reed Larson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

Richard Lerner

Tufts University

Medford, Mass.

Milbrey W. McLaughlin

Stanford University

Stanford, Calif.

Pedro Noguera

New York University

New York, N.Y.

Fritz Oser

University of Fribourg

Fribourg, Switzerland

Karen Pittman

The Forum for Youth Investment

Washington, D.C.

Jane Quinn

The Children’s Aid Society

New York, N.Y.

Jean Rhodes

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Boston, Mass.

Rainer Silbereisen

University of Jena

Jena, Germany

Elizabeth Stage

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley, Calif.

Hans Steiner

Stanford Medical School

Stanford, Calif.

Carola Suárez-Orozco

New York University

New York, N.Y.

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco

New York University

New York, N.Y.

Erin Cooney, Editorial Manager

Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR)

Issue Editor’s Notes

MOMENTUM IS BUILDING within K–12 education to redesign the traditional school day as a viable school reform strategy. There is growing support within education circles to use time as an important resource for improving student learning outcomes in high-poverty schools. Although there is no one uniform way schools use the extra hours, the most common models extend time devoted to the academic core subjects; expand learning time for all students in a grade level or across the grades, balancing academics, electives, and supplemental services; infuse enrichment and experiential learning via community partnerships throughout a longer learning day; or expand the school year, offering structured summer programs.

The choice of one approach over another is context dependent, with each school selecting a set of strategies that most adequately meet students’ learning needs. However, all expanded learning strategies share a set of underlying beliefs: (1) a traditional school schedule is insufficient to prepare students for their postsecondary futures, (2) high-poverty students benefit from additional learning supports, and (3) time alone is not enough to change student learning outcomes; it is how that time is used that makes a meaningful difference in students’ lives.

The purpose of this issue is to concentrate specifically on school–community partnerships through a blended construct, expanded learning time and opportunities (ELTO), whereby expanded learning time (ELT) schools work with community organizations offering expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) as equal partners to provide a seamless, longer learning day that best meet both the academic and developmental needs of students in resource-poor communities.


ELTO speaks to the centrality of school–community partnerships as a strategy to maximize staff talents and existing resources in a way that both addresses the learning barriers and opens students to engaging learning experiences.


ELTO strategy promotes a balance among core academic subjects, electives, and developmental enrichment experiences. As a school reform approach, ELTO is designed to support closing of the achievement gap by expanding instructional time and elective offerings, and providing individualized tutoring and homework assistance, all of which have been demonstrated to result in higher scores on standardized tests and improved overall school performance. As a youth development strategy, ELTO affords schools an opportunity to level the playing field for high-poverty students by exposing children and adolescents to enrichment and developmental opportunities routinely experienced by their wealthier counterparts, including music, arts and sciences, college preparation, field trips, service learning, internships, apprenticeships, recreational clubs, and interest-specific activities.

ELTO partnerships bring together schools and quality community partners to join in programmatic planning and decision-making, service coordination, and knowledge-, data-, and resource-sharing. The ELTO partnerships thus often result in a shared vision, aligned goals, and joint delivery structures that provide students with enriching and engaging activities throughout a well-rounded learning day.

Although the school reform debate is often situated within the academic elements provided within expanded time schools, it is the “O” in ELTO that offers new learning opportunities for students, opportunities that complement cognitive knowledge, build noncognitive skills, and support students’ individual goals. These opportunities are often provided by quality community partners with a history of after-school and summer programs on local, state, or national levels. Although both schools and ELOs must agree to the contours of their partnership and how to sustain their joint efforts, the presence of community organizations within schools ultimately supports both partners and benefits students. Teachers gain flexibility in their schedules, extra help in their classrooms, and more time for professional development and common planning periods, and the ELO providers gain space, access to participants and to data systems, funding, and other resources that might not be readily accessible outside of the school context.

Contours of this issue

This issue makes the case for meaningful ELTO partnerships. The first half of the issue draws attention to the importance of ELOs in the expanded learning debate and offers contours of ELTO. The issue begins with two chapters devoted to making the case for the relevance of community partners in the expanded learning debate. The first chapter, “Expanded Learning Time and Opportunities: Key Principles, Driving Perspectives, and Major Challenges,” by Dale A. Blyth and Laura LaCroix-Dalluhn, offers a theoretical basis for respecting and including nonformal learning opportunities in the expanded learning debate. Robert M. Stonehill, Sherri C. Lauver, Tara Donahue, Neil Naftzger, Carol K. McElvain, and Jaime Stephanidis present a policy case for the ELOs in “From After-School to Expanded Learning: A Decade of Progress,” arguing that ELOs have for over a decade shown the value they add to student learning and achievement, and as such, should be elevated as integral features of school reform and improvement efforts.

The next two chapters focus on the school side of ELTO partnerships. In Chapter Three, “The Emergence of Time as a Lever for Learning,” Christopher Gabrieli argues that ELT schools are an effective vehicle to help high-poverty students reach their academic potential and meet their developmental needs. Gabrieli suggests that ELT schools are a promising delivery mechanism for addressing whole-child needs in conjunction with teacher- and community-led enrichment services. The theoretical, first half of the issue ends with Chapter Four, “Expanding the Learning Day: An Essential Component of the Community Schools Strategy,” in which Reuben Jacobson and Martin J. Blank compare and contrast the ELT schools with the community schools. The authors argue for the centrality of community schools strategy in the expanded learning discourse and offer a broader perspective on the importance of school-community partnerships.

The second half of the issue is dedicated to ELTO in practice, featuring a spectrum of ELT–ELO partnerships, ranging from less integrated (e.g., LA’s BEST) to fully integrated (e.g., Citizen Schools) models. All models are designed to operate within an expanded learning time, to align with student learning needs, and to serve resource-poor, high-poverty neighborhoods. However, type of activities, uniformity of experiences, and the mandatory versus voluntary nature of ELOs in a given space vary and are based on the agreement with an individual school, school’s learning goals and desired outcomes, stakeholder interests (principals, teachers, families, and students), and the available resources. The less integrated models offer out-of-school time, student-guided programs that meet a range of cognitive and noncognitive goals and maximize students’ nonformal learning. Such partnerships offer participating students a variety of activities to choose from before or after school, on the weekends and/or in the summer, so there is no one uniform set of programs or experiences all students receive in a given school. The more integrated models, on the other hand, offer their services as course subjects during a longer school schedule, mandatory to students in a particular grade level or across an entire school.

The first example of a promising ELTO practice comes from Carla Sanger and Paul E. Heckman in “Expanded Learning the LA’s BEST Way.” Chapter Five offers a less-integrated ELTO model, LA’s BEST, a values-based program-delivery system designed to meet children’s developmental needs. LA’s BEST partners with schools and offers experiential and enrichment opportunities outside of school hours, ranging from homework support to sports and interest-focused activities designed to encourage engagement in learning and noncognitive development.

The second model, ELT/NYC, is featured in Chapter Six, “The After-School Corporation’s Approach to Expanded Learning.” Anne-Marie E. Hoxie, Lisa DeBellis, and Saskia K. Traill make the case for ELT-ELO partnerships by guiding the reader through the development, refinement, and growth of ELT/NYC as a citywide expanded learning strategy designed to support schools’ academic goals by utilizing the community organization’s expertise in delivering innovative learning experiences to students as part of a longer school day. The seventh chapter features a fully integrated ELTO example, “Citizen Schools’ Partner-Dependent Expanded Learning Model.” Eric Schwarz and Emily McCann show how Citizen Schools, an ELO, has partnered with ELT schools across the country to work in concert with teachers and principals to offer students an engaging, academically focused learning day that produces improved student results.

The practice-oriented section concludes with Chapter Eight, “Building an Expanded Learning Time and Opportunities School: Principals’ Perspectives,” by the issue’s editor, Helen Janc Malone. The piece is based on interviews with four ELT school principals across the country, who make the case for and offer the core features of their partnerships with ELOs. The issue concludes with Chapter Nine, “Next Steps in the Expanded Learning Discourse,” by Helen Janc Malone and Gil G. Noam, who review the crosscutting themes, conceptual and practical challenges, and macrolevel steps to situate ELTO within the emerging education-reform debate on the use of expanded time as a viable youth learning and development strategy.


Improving high-poverty student educational outcomes and meeting developmental needs requires a whole-child approach to learning. Closing the achievement and opportunities gaps and helping students graduate from high school and go on to college or enter the workforce requires that stakeholder groups work collaboratively to create positive learning environments.

The expanded learning platform reimagines the school schedule, reshapes the roles and responsibilities schools have in resource-poor, high-poverty neighborhoods, and rethinks the relationship between schools and community partners. This issue illustrates one dimension of expanded learning strategy—the value community organizations bring to the school reform table, and the importance of committed ELT and ELO partners to create quality learning experiences for students. Because of the nascent nature of ELTO, data on the effectiveness of such partnerships and their link to student learning are still emerging; however, available evidence suggests that ELTO, when done with high fidelity, quality content delivery, and thoughtful implementation, can yield positive learning and developmental changes in students, which is the ultimate, desired goal of both stakeholders.



See National Center on Time & Learning and Education Commission of the States. (2011). Learning time in America: Trends to reform the American school calendar—A snapshot of federal, state, and local action. Boston, MA, and Denver, CO: Authors. Retrieved from .

In 2011, there have been several bipartisan legislative opportunities to fund expanded learning strategies in K–12 schools, among them the Time for Innovation Matters in Education Act of 2011 (TIME), the School Turnaround and Rewards (STAR) Act, and the School Improvement Grants. There are also proposals on the Hill to expand the use of the 21st Century Community Learning Center program funds to include expanded learning time schools and full-service community schools.

Farbman, D. A. (2009). Tracking an emerging movement: A report on expanded-time schools in America. Boston: National Center on Time & Learning; Rocha, E. (2007). Choosing more time for students: The what, why, and how of expanded learning. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress; Remarks by the President of the United States to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on a Complete and Competitive American Education. (2009). Retrieved from .

School is defined in this issue as a K–12 traditional or charter institution, employing a number of strategies designed to boost student achievement and success, such as expanding the learning day and offering full-service community wraparound services, among a plethora of other strategies.

ELOs are defined in this issue as national, state, or local community-based organizations, intermediaries, or agencies that offer before-school, during school, after-school, weekend, summer, or year-round programs and/or services in partnership with a school, a cluster of schools, a school district, or in a community. ELOs offer nonformal learning programs that support a wide range of cognitive and noncognitive skill-building dimensions. ELOs could be voluntary or mandatory, depending on an agreement with a given education partner.

Although creating strong, quality education entails other dimensions—excellent teaching staff, strong principal leadership, sound curriculum, focus on instruction, and a data-driven culture—this issue is focused on the importance of including quality community partners in a longer school day to offer enrichment opportunities that enhance learning and development in students.

Frazier, J. A., & Morrison, F. J. (1998). The influence of extended-year schooling on growth of achievement and perceived competence in early elementary school. Child Development, 69(2), 495–497; The National Center on Time and Learning. (2011, Summer). Learning time in America: Trends to reform the American school calendar. Boston, MA: Author. Fountain, A. R., & Gamse, B. (2011, July 16). Evaluation of Citizen Schools’ expanded learning time initiative. Presentation given at the Expanded Learning Time Summit. Boston, MA: Citizen Schools. Also see .

See, for example: Black, A. R., Doolittle, F., Zhu, P., Unterman, R., & Grossman, J. B. (2008). The evaluation of enhanced academic instruction in after-school programs: Findings after the first year of implementation (NCEE 2008–4022). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education; Lauer, P. A., Akiba, M., Wilkerson, S. B., Apthorp, H. A., Snow, D., & Martin-Glenn, M. (2006). Out-of-school-time programs: A meta-analysis of effects for at-risk students. Review of Educational Research, 76(2), 275–313; Vandell, D. L., Reisner, E. R., & Pierce, K. M. (2007, October). Outcomes linked to high-quality afterschool programs: Longitudinal findings from the study of promising afterschool programs. Irvine, CA, Madison, WI, and Washington, DC: University of California, Irvine, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Policy Studies Associates, Inc.

Bowles, A., & Brand, B. (2009). Learning around the clock: Benefits of expanding learning opportunities for older youth. Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum; Traphagen, K., & Johnson-Staub, C. (2010, February). Expanded time, enriching experiences: Expanded learning time schools and community organization partnerships. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.

is an advanced doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education focusing on youth development and education policy research.