ESEA Flexibility-Related Opportunities to Support Expanded Learning Time in Select Massachusetts Schools
Expanded Learning Time (ELT) in Massachusetts refers to schools that significantly expand and restructure their school day and/or year, adding at least 300 hours to the school day and/or year for all students in the school. ELT provides significantly more time for the following:
- Instruction in English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and other core subjects;
- Targeted data-driven and embedded professional development that includes, but is not limited to, daily common planning time;
- Intentional daily use of enrichment opportunities; and
- Integration of project-based learning and service-learning as teaching and learning strategies to meet content goals aligned with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks to develop college, career, and civic readiness in all students.
The goal of ELT is to leverage additional time to improve student engagement and achievement, and to help all students gain the knowledge, skills and experiences needed for college and career success.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the most recent authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is the principal federal law affecting education from kindergarten through high school. In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Education invited states to request flexibility from certain NCLB requirements in order to better allow districts and schools to focus on improving student learning and increasing the quality of instruction. Massachusetts' flexibility request was granted in February 2012.
Related to some of the newly allowed flexibility under NCLB Titles IA, IIA, and IVB, the Department is alerting schools and districts to the following anticipated ELT-related plans and potential opportunities likely to occur over the next few years, subject to appropriation and continued ESEA-allowed flexibility.
- Level 2-5 districts are now allowed to use their Title I, Part A reservation funds (formerly supplemental educational services (SES) and public school choice set-aside funding) to support district/student needs as assessed in relation to the Conditions for School Effectiveness. This means that a district can choose to direct up to 20-25% of its Title I, Part A allocation (which could also include Title II, Part A funds flexed into Title I, Part A) to support ELT in one or more schools, if the district determines that will best meet district/student needs.
- The Department anticipates that in FY2014 (September 2013-August 2014), a portion* of available 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) funding will be awarded through a competitive grant program that supports ELT in a limited number of selected schools (at a projected maximum of $500/pupil). It is also anticipated that awarded grantees in FY2014 could receive continuation grant funding for two additional years (FY2015 and FY2016), if all grant requirements are met. The 21st CCLC funded efforts will likely have some limitations and legislatively required components regarding use of funds and evaluation, with details that would be included in Funding Opportunity documents and announcements. *NOTE: The Department also anticipates directing a portion of available FY2014 21st CCLC funding to competitive grant programs for new and exemplary out-of-school time programs.
- The Department recognizes that significant planning at the local level is needed in order to successfully implement ELT, and encourages districts and schools to be thoughtful in considering whether, and how, to newly implement ELT in schools. One possibility to receive support through the planning process is to apply to participate in a technical assistance opportunity during this FY2013 school year, available through the National Center for Time and Learning's (NCTL) TIME Collaborative Initiative, with funding by the Ford Foundation. See the NCTL web page http://www.timeandlearning.org/files/MACollabOverview.pdf for details on eligibility as well as time sensitive information about webinars and Expression of Interest document due dates. PLEASE NOTE: participation in the NCTL technical assistance and planning would not guarantee any competitively awarded funding from the Department in FY2014, although those eligible entities could apply. Also, entities that do not receive technical assistance and support through NCTL's Time Collaborative Initiative would also be eligible to apply for the Department's FY2014 competitive grants.
Additional information will be disseminated when confirmed. In the interim, you may contact the Learning Support Services Unit via firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.