In a few weeks, we will be releasing an update of our policy trends report called Learning Time in America. As a preview, I can tell you that we have, once again, found momentum continuing to build with more and more schools and districts redesigning and increasing school time to support student achievement and teacher development. 

Did you watch NBC Nightly News last night? In case you missed it, they highlighted how Boston Public Schools are planning to add an additional forty minutes to their school day next year. Watch here.

We are excited to hear over our holiday break, leaders in Boston announced a tentative agreement with the Boston Teachers Union to lengthen the school day at 60 Boston Public Schools. 

How schools using a longer day are raising instructional efficiency through a faculty’s joint planning and sharing of student data

Greg Fox could not contain his enthusiasm. As principal of Dr. Thomas S. O’Connell Elementary School West in East Hartford, Conn., for the last three years, Fox led a school redesign that, beginning in September 2013, added 300 more scheduled hours to the school year for his 315 students.

With this agreement, Boston is emerging as one of the country’s leaders as it embarks on a plan to expand learning time for both teachers and students. 

At NCTL, we believe it’s important that we recognize this day and honor the obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. The theme for this year’s Human Rights celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times, is entitled to the full range of human rights

I recall President Bill Clinton saying that, next to president, the toughest office to hold in the United States is member of the local school board. And you can see his point. Political decisions that directly affect the lives of children are always tough. 

It is exciting that in New York State, six of nine school districts that won the award are choosing to move forward with planning for redesigned and expanded school days with the state grant.

Only four years ago, Disrupting Class introduced many of us to blended learning—defined generally as a student learning environment which combines online digital content with teacher-led instruction.

I always say that the best part of my work at NCTL is when I visit schools. There is no better feeling—for me, anyhow—than to walk into a school and see students and teachers engaged in active learning. Those moments when you can see kids’ gears turning, when you sense that everyone in the room wants to do their best, is what those of us who advocate for stronger schools imagine is our core objective.