New York Moves Forward with Expanding Learning Time

There is exciting news regarding expanding learning time in New York. In 2013, Governor Cuomo and the Legislature announced an Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative. With that announcement, the NY State Education Department (NYSED) began working on the parameters of the ELT Initiative and they recently announced the first cohort of districts and schools to be selected to plan for and implement expanded learning time through the state’s competitive grant process. Syracuse is implementing the new school designs after a year of planning and Yonkers and New York City are among the districts with schools involved in a planning process this year for implementation of 300 additional hours next school year. 

With additional time, these schools will be able to provide their students with more time for core academics, targeted intervention and support, and engaging enrichment classes as well as more time for teachers to collaborate and plan.

We applaud Governor Cuomo, legislative leaders, Commissioner John King and the New York State Education Department for their investment in expanding opportunities for students and teachers and for putting New York at the forefront of the movement to redesign and expand learning time. For students, particularly in our neediest communities, the current school calendar of 180 six-and-a-half-hour days is simply not enough, and these schools are taking an important step forward by designing a modern school schedule. We look forward to supporting the schools and districts as they begin this important work.

In addition to the statewide activity, just this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new program that will designate 94 of the city’s most troubled schools as “Renewal Schools”. Students at those schools will receive an extra hour of instructional time each day, teachers will have extra professional training, and the schools will be encouraged to offer summer school.

This week’s news follows the announcement over the summer that the New York City Department of Education selected 63 schools to move forward with the new PROSE program - Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence - which gives flexibility to schools to innovate their school schedules, among other changes. Mayor de Blasio has said the program would allow schools to “reinvent themselves,” while United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said it would “move education forward not just in New York, but around the country.” Finally, Mayor DiBlasio has committed $145 million in new funding to significantly expand after-school programming for middle school students across the city.