Voices From the Field: Parents' Perspectives on ELT

Lindsay Cyr is a coordinator for the TIME Collaborative at NCTL. 

Earlier this year, parents gathered at A.C. Whelan Elementary School in Revere, MA to discuss the impact of expanded learning time. Schools considering adding learning time will find the video of this discussion a great resource to share with their parents. The parents on the panel represented students from both A.C. Whelan Elementary School and Garfield Middle School in Revere. Both schools expanded time in 2008 through the Massachusetts expanded learning time initiative. Some of their children had been a part of A.C. Whelan during the initial transition from a traditional school day to expand learning time, while others started kindergarten with an expanded day. Here’s part one of the discussion:

All of the parents were clear on how much their children benefitted from the extra time to build close relationships with their teachers. One parent, Jeannie LaRosa, commented how an expanded day helped her child because she could participate in more hands-on learning, such as his participation in weekly Fun Science programming.

Adrienne Sacco-Maguire, the parent of a Garfield Middle School student, highlighted how additional time allows students to work with adult role models from their school and community. Students are exposed to positive role models from the community during enrichment blocks focused on banking, athletics, drama, and creative writing, allowing them to develop stronger ties to their neighborhood while staying engaged in their school day.

Sacco-Maguire also commented on the benefits of providing teachers with dedicated, collaborative planning time to establish best practices. She has noticed a demonstrable improvement in the cohesion among staff members and positive impacts on the school culture overall. Here is part two of these parents sharing their experience in an expanded time school: