NCSL Education Program
New Publication: Year-round learning initiatives allow students to have access to quality expanded learning opportunities that support and reinforce regular school-day and school-year learning. These programs also engage families and youths in learning, allow educational partners to share resources, help prevent summer learning loss, and create coordinated data tracking systems. NCSL collaborated with Harvard Family Research Project on a new brief on the year round learning approach to ELOs. More
New Expanded Learning Opportunities Briefs: Expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) offer students safe, structured, and engaged learning environments outside of the traditional school day that support and complement what students are learning during the day. With support from the Wallace Foundation, NCSL has created a series of three briefs to keep state legislatures informed of current ELO policies and trends across the country. More
Rethinking "Seat Time": State Approaches to Earning Credit in Out-of-School Time: To lower high school dropout rates and prepare students for jobs, more state policymakers are rethinking traditional ways of earning high school credit and instead are considering proficiency-based learning. Some states are allowing credits to be earned through expanded learning opportunities (ELOs), such as afterschool programs. NCSL’s Education Standing Committee held a session called "Rethinking Seat Time" at NCSL’s 2012 Fall Forum in Washington, D.C., during which panelists discussed different approaches to earning credit in out-of-school time and the legislative policy implications. More
Expanded Learning Opportunities: Summer Learning, After-School, and Extended Day and Year Programs
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"Expanded Learning Opportunities" (ELOs) is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of initiatives to provide students additional opportunities for academic support and enrichment, mentoring, recreation, character education and other developmental activities. ELOs include before-and after-school programs, Saturday, weekend, and summer programs, and extended day and year initiatives. For ELOs to affect student achievement, it is important that they're high quality. Such programs provide a break from traditional classroom instruction and feature a mix of academic and enrichment activities that boost both academic and important nonacademic (e.g., leadership, social, emotional) skills.
Before- and after-school programs occur before the school day begins and from 3–6 p.m. on weekday afternoons. They can offer a range of diverse programming including academic support, homework help, mentoring, field trips, physical education and arts and cultural enrichment.
Saturday and weekend programs offer the potential to engage students and families whose work-related commitments constrain their ability to participate in programs during the school week. Weekend programming may include service learning projects, internships, English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, parent literacy programs, and family-oriented activities.
Summer programs fall into two major categories:
School-based remediation and credit-recovery programs that provide supplemental instruction and supports for students not performing at grade level. In some instances, participation in these programs is mandatory and tied to advancement to the next grade level or to graduation.
Extracurricular, recreational and enrichment programs--which may also offer an academic component--offered by schools, community-based providers, youth-serving organizations, and for-profit companies. Participation in these programs is usually voluntary and often fee-based.
Extended day and year initiatives explicitly modify the traditional school calendar by adding time to the school day, lengthening the school year, or otherwise modifying the school schedule. Extended day/year calendars had previously been adopted to alleviate overcrowding but, more recently, have been designed as part of an overall approach to meeting student academic needs. These initiatives may provide more time for core academic instruction, community-based enrichment activities, and teacher professional development.
More Information on Key ELO and School Calendar Issues