Schools in Three Connecticut Districts Adding 300 Hours to School Year

Nov 15, 2013

The TIME Collaborative hopes to fill empty classrooms like this one with enriching after-school programs for disadvantaged children.
Credit mahlness / Creative Commons

Several schools in Connecticut will expand their school days under a new initiative. The goal is to improve student achievement, and offer poor children access to enriching after school activities.

It's called the TIME Collaborative. This year, 9,000 students in so-called high poverty schools in five states will add 300 hours of learning to the school year. Jennifer Davis is the president of the National Center on Time and Learning, which initiated the TIME Collaborative. She said the extra time will be used in three important ways. "First," she said, "is more time for individualized academic support for students. Secondly, more time for enrichment programming. The third area has to do with teacher professional development and collaboration."

An article in The Atlantic touted the many benefits for children who engage in after-school activities like soccer and dance lessons. Davis said poorer families often can't afford this luxury. "What we're trying to do is to ensure that every child has access to these broader opportunities," Davis said, "that include healthy physical education opportunities, and exposure to science projects, and robotics, and karate, and the arts."

The project is funded through a mix of state, federal, and local sources, and a grant from the Ford Foundation. This year schools in Meriden, New London, and East Hartford are participating in the TIME Collaborative. Bridgeport and Windham join the project next year.