Can expanding learning time help students learn more and save money? Many budget-strapped states are considering altering academic calendars for longer teaching days.

Even as California, Hawaii, and other budget-strapped states consider cutting weeks out of the school year, some enterprising schools and districts are dramatically expanding the learning day for students as a strategy to improve results and spark innovation. Twenty-two of these schools from 11 diverse districts gathered in Boston in July at the inaugural Expanded Learning Time summit to build a community of ELT practitioners and share best practices. We believe lessons from the summit can help inform the current national debate on extended learning, addressing questions about how to use ELT as a school turnaround strategy, how to pay for ELT , how to staff ELT without burning out teachers, and how to make sure ELT drives whole-school change instead of simply adding more of the same.

Participants in the summit described three core arguments for expanded learning time. First, they said, ELT offers more time for academic practice—a no-shortcuts strategy for improving academic performance. Second, it offers the opportunity to provide a more well-rounded education, with opportunities for adding arts and sports, college exploration, and project-based apprenticeships taught by professionals. Third, we heard from a number of participants, including Massachusetts Secretary of Education S. Paul Reville and author Frederick M. Hess, that ELT can serve as an R&D lab for new learning and teaching models that can lead to what Reville called “a new delivery model for education.

Read more at: Education Week