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School/Community Collaborations will Expand Learning Opportunities

A new grant program will help schools in five regions explore ways to provide expanded learning opportunities for students - both in and out of school, and in partnership with community organizations. Under the Ready by 21 Expanded Learning Opportunities Challenge, announced this week by AASA, the districts will get $25,000 each to work with community-based organizations to expand out-of-school time offerings, share data, train staff and assess program quality.
Information Update
November 22, 2013
 

A new grant program will help schools in five regions increase expanded learning opportunities for students – both in and out of school, and in partnership with community organizations.

Under the Ready by 21 Expanded Learning Opportunities Challenge, announced this week by AASA, the School Superintendents Association, each region will receive $25,000 to work with community-based organizations to expand out-of-school time offerings, share data, train staff and assess program quality.

AASA chose these sites through its partnership with the Forum for Youth Investment’s Ready by 21® initiative:

  • District of Columbia Public Schools (Washington, D.C.)
  • Boone County Schools (Florence, Ky.)
  • Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, Ky.)
  • Goochland County Public Schools (Va.), with Richmond Public Schools
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (Tenn.)

Each project builds on the concept of expanding not just the amount of time spent learning, but also the what, when, where and how youth learn. “A quality education is more than what takes place inside the classroom,” said Forum CEO Karen Pittman. “Schools need support from the entire community to ensure our children and young adults are ready for college, work and life.”

What They Will Do

AASA and the Forum will help teams from the communities analyze the current state of their learning opportunities, then set goals for expanding those opportunities. AASA will provide technical assistance through the 2013-14 school year to help them achieve their goals.

Here is how the school districts plan to use the funds:

  • The District of Columbia, working with community-based organizations, will design and model extended day programs for two middle schools.
  • Boone County will examine gaps in services and opportunities, and realign funding, staffing, programming and community partner resources to fill those gaps. This will include a publication with information for the public about expanded learning opportunities.
  • Jefferson County will focus on how to use expanded learning in the summer to combat the slide of academic skills during the long break. This will include a Summer Learning Summit.
  • Goochland and Richmond schools will partner with the community to take a regional approach to expanding learning opportunities for middle school students. This will include professional development for schools and community partners.
  • Metro Nashville will develop an enhanced data system to inventory expanded learning and out-of-school time offerings and to facilitate data sharing between the district and community partners. It will also encourage programs to adopt the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality’s Youth Program Quality Assessment to establish benchmarks and improvement plans.

AASA is a signature partner in the Ready by 21® National Partnership. “Our partnership with the Forum for Youth Investment is an illustration of how we are working together to grow stronger school systems and, more importantly, help the students they serve,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA. For more information about the grants, see the AASA news release and grant summary page.

Funding for the grant was made possible through the Forum’s partnership with Altria, a Fortune 200 company based in Henrico County, Va.

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