Nonprofit Lengthens School Day to Improve Achievement

by Alia Fite

Students will be surprised to hear what’s in store for some of them this year: a longer school day.  In early September, Citizen Schools announced in a press release that it plans to partner with a handful of New York City schools to lengthen the school day for three hours.  The nonprofit, whose goal is to “expand the learning day for low income children across the country,” hopes to improve student achievement.

The plan is a kind of required tutoring program.  Citizen Schools offers a program after regular school hours to tutor students in math and English Language Arts.  Since the program focuses on eighth grade students, students in low income schools like Brooklyn School for Global Studies and Urban Assembly Academy for Arts & Letters will also prepare for transitioning to high school and college.  Some schools will even offer apprenticeships with professionals in New York City to learn about possible career choices.

The program is modeled after President Obama’s idea for expanded learning time (ELT) to improve student achievement nationwide.  Citizen Schools officials hope to implement such a system across the country, with seven locations in major cities.  Nitzan Pelman, Executive Director of Citizen Schools in New York, said, “We know that expanded learning time done right is an effective strategy for helping schools succeed.”  The organization is in the process of expanding schools starting this current academic year.



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