Snow Day!

This is a guest post by Lisa Pryor, NCTL’s Senior Advisor for State & District Engagement.

Kids love them. But as an adult, sometimes weather can just get the best of us. Last week, my NCTL colleagues and I fell victim to Mother Nature in Denver and were unable to participate in a presentation of plans for 14 DPS schools to redesign and expand their school days. We were looking forward to the discussion on expanding opportunities, and consequently the time, available for core academic support, enrichment opportunities, and time for thoughtful and creative collaborative teacher planning. 
In lieu of the in-day session, those plans for expanding learning time will be presented electronically to the district for review, comment, and possible approval for the 2012-13 school year. There are many details still to be worked out, but one thing is quite clear, Superintendent Tom Boasberg has made a commitment to a group of Denver students and families to thoughtfully expand both the quantity and quality of time provided to narrow achievement gaps and accelerate learning. Rather than just adding time, DPS has asked its schools to explore the concepts of expanded learning time, allowing schools to create inclusive plans that meet the needs of their own students, and now the district has dedicated resources to support high quality plans for implementation. The DPS press release about the ELT plans is here.
It’s remarkable to look back and see how far we’ve come in the past six months since we started working with Denver Public Schools and the Colorado Legacy Foundation (CLF) on exploring the issue of expanding learning time. CLF is supporting our work in Denver as part of a larger pilot program that is working with Colorado districts as they consider time as a resource for teaching and learning. 
It’s funny – at NCTL, we spend so much time thinking about how time is used and allocated in schools. And when Mother Nature causes us to lose some valuable time in schools with teachers, it becomes even clearer just how precious a resource time really is.