Art PictureExpanded Learning Opportunities:  summer learning, after-school, extended day and year programs

"Expanded Learning Opportunities" (ELOs) is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of initiatives to provide students structured opportunities for  academic support and enrichment; extra-curricular activities; mentoring; recreation; character education; and other developmental activities.  Ideally, ELOs ensure access to a diverse array of content-rich, high-quality opportunities and expand the time that students are engaged in learning.

ELOs include before-and after-school programs; Saturday, weekend, and summer programs; and extended day/year initiatives.

  • Before- and after-school programs: School or community-based programs that occur before the school day begins and from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. on weekday afternoons. They may 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: These 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, 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 matriculation 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 typically voluntary and often fee-based.
  • Extended day/year initiativesSuch 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 have been adopted to alleviate overcrowding but, more recently, these initiatives 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.

This site contains background information and state policy activities on all of the above areas.

NCSL's Supporting Student Success Project:

The goal of the Supporting Student Success initiative is to help state leadership teams support student success by ensuring that expanded learning opportunities (ELOs), such as afterschool, summer learning, and extended day programs, are an integral and effective part of state education systems.  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) provided six state leadership teams of state legislators, education chiefs, and governors’ policy advisors with grants and in-depth technical assistance through the 18-month grant period (June 2007 - November 2008).   The six grantee states are Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Rhode Island. An independent selection committee is currently reviewing proposals to fund a second round of state leadership teams from June 2009-November 2010. NCSL is the granting organization for this initiative, which is sponsored by the C. S. Mott Foundation.

NCSL's Membership in the After-school Technical Assistance Collaborative:

The National League of Cities, Council of Chief State School Officers, Finance Project, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors’ Association, the After-school Alliance and Terry Peterson of the College of Charleston, with the help of Learning Point Associates and Collaborative Communications Group provide technical assistance to the states around comprehensive state-wide policies on afterschool programs. Funded by the C.S. Mott Foundation, these organizations work together collaboratively with statewide after-school networks to provide the necessary technical assistance to help states create comprehensive policies that support quality Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) for children.



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