Congratulations to Gwinnett County Public Schools and Orange County Schools of Orlando (FL) who were named co-winners of the Broad Prize, splitting the winnings of $1 million dollars to support college scholarships for their high school seniors. The prize rewards districts for improving achievement among disadvantaged students.

Just last week, a good friend of NCTL, Eric Schwarz, the co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools, published, The Opportunity Equation, a book about his long experiences providing incredible learning experiences to school children in Boston and around the country. What makes this book so remarkable in my view is that Eric masterfully weaves together his own personal story of growing up together with the much broader story of educational opportunity in America.

A few weeks ago, a graduate student at Stanford Graduate School of Education, Eric Taylor, published a study of a program in Miami that had expanded time in mathematics for a select group of sixth graders. (The extra time came in the form of a required second math class). Following in a long line of research that indicates that more time spent learning yields a higher degree of learning, Mr. Taylor’s research also found a large positive effect of this extra time devoted to math.

As schools across the country struggle to find time to provide their students with engaging hands-on lessons in science, five schools and their science partners have received grants from NCTL and the Noyce Foundation to introduce a new STEM education program to their students. 

Kathleen Megan of the Hartford Courant wrote a great article last week on the Casimir Pulaski Elementary School in Meriden, CT, one of our TIME Collaborative schools beginning their third year with an expanded school schedule.

At NCTL, we spend a lot of time thinking about alternative school schedules and helping schools and districts plan new schedules that meet their students’ learning needs. As students across the country are returning to school this week, a new twist on school scheduling is very much in the news. 

There is plenty of evidence demonstrating that more time in school can help students learn a broader set of skills and subjects. If you want the hard facts, check out our ELT research section. Not only does more learning time play a pivotal role in enabling a well-rounded education,  we know that expanding learning time can lead to accelerated student achievement.

An intriguing poll by Education Next was released this week that shows declining support for the Common Core. While a majority still support the math and literacy standards now in place in 43 states, the size of that majority has definitely shrunk from a year ago (65 percent support in 2013 vs. 53 percent support in 2014).  Interestingly, the decline in support seems largely a case of the Common Core as “a tainted brand,” to use the term of the survey authors.

Today’s blog post is written by our summer intern, Talia Mercado. 

Growing up with a mother as a teacher taught me the importance of education at an early age. I grew up going into school with my mother and sitting in on the elementary school classes she taught.

Nearly everyone in my family works or used to work in education, so it’s only natural that I have an interest in the field as well. Throughout my experience I have worked in many schools in my college town of Lewiston, Maine, and have felt frustrated by some of what I see in those classrooms - run down facilities with insufficient resources, failed grades on standardized tests, and projects left unfinished as teachers work hard to keep up with curriculum requirements. I know that expanded learning time could help these struggling schools.