Extending Learning Time for Disadvantaged Students - Volume 1 Summary of Promising Practices - 1995

A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

A Well-Defined Organization And Management Structure

Organization and management structures vary across extended-time programs. As programs evolve, planners must develop structures for hiring and supervising, selecting students, monitoring performance, and generally overseeing the program. The shape of these structures depends on whether programs are developed by schools, by districts, or in partnership with outside agencies or organizations.

Hiring and Supervision

For extended-time programs developed by schools and/or districts, hiring and supervision practices may resemble those used for schools: Non-teaching administrators (sometimes principals, but often other coordinators) supervise the overall operations; regular teachers provide the educational services, and in some cases, aides or assistants work with the teachers. For example, the Summer Enhancement Program in the Charleston, South Carolina, public schools is managed by a district coordinator. A site coordinator oversees each of the six school sites; each site also has five teachers, a media specialist, a computer lab proctor, and a bus driver for field trips.

In many school- or district-developed programs, teachers apply to serve in the extended-time sessions and are selected on the basis of their experience with at-risk students and their desire to participate in the extended-time program. In most cases, program administrators or coordinators receive payment. Teachers often receive extended contracts, bonuses, or stipends. Among the programs discussed here, school-affiliated programs infrequently use volunteers.

Partnerships between outside agencies and schools may rely on a nonteaching administrator to coordinate overall management of extended-time programs, but they also may rely on volunteers instead of paid teaching staffs. For example, teachers do not receive extra pay in the Teen Outreach Program in Sonora, California; the program consists of a course taught during regular school hours and a one-hour-per-week commitment to work with students after school on community service projects.

Partnership programs that rely heavily on volunteers should provide training. In the Teen Outreach Program, staff from the sponsoring Association of Junior Leagues International visit each new site to provide facilitators with two days of intensive training on the program curriculum. Through role playing, trainers focus on ways to encourage student participation and self-reflection and build assertiveness and communication skills. Volunteers for extended-time programs typically include retired teachers, community professionals, students from local colleges and universities, and high school students who serve as peer counselors or tutors.

At Raising Hispanic Academic Achievement, tutors receive two training sessions a year from teacher volunteers. Topics include techniques for teaching math, English, and reading to students of differing abilities and a review of the state math test, curriculum, and course objectives. Tutors also receive a summary of issues affecting Hispanic academic achievement and research on teaching math to language-minority children. Tutors and trainers explore problem solving through role playing.

Student Selection

The programs described in this idea book all serve heavily disadvantaged populations. However, programs supported by public categorical funding--whether educational or related to a social service agency--must select participants from a pool of students eligible to receive services under the funding category. For example, the Title I Summer Program for Private School Children, the extended-day kindergarten program in Florence, and the Summer Enhancement Program profiled here all select participants who are eligible for Title I services. Similarly, participants in the TAP Summer Youth Employment Program must be eligible to receive services under the Job Training Partnership Act, and students attending the Omaha Public Housing Project After-school Study Centers must live in Omaha public housing developments.

Still, many extended-time programs cannot serve all students who may be eligible to participate and could benefit from the program. The generally accepted practice--and often a legislative requirement for categorical programs--is to serve the neediest students first. The extended-time programs profiled here demonstrate a variety of methods, often used in combination, for determining student need:

Privately funded programs, although usually not required to select the neediest students, may depend on teachers or other school personnel to encourage students considered at high risk of school failure to attend the extended-time programs.

Performance Monitoring

Thorough evaluation and effective programming generally require projects to monitor student performance and assess whether needs are met and students are progressing. Successful programs set academic, personal, or social goals for participants and establish systems for monitoring how well students meet these goals. Extended-time programs described here rely on various performance measures, including portfolio assessment; longitudinal case studies; student journals; surveys of parents, students, tutors, and regular classroom teachers; and attendance, discipline, and dropout records.

Typically, teachers or tutors working directly with students meet regularly to review student needs and progress. At the Yuk Yau Child Development Center in Oakland, California, teachers from the Center and the local school talk daily about students' needs for special assistance or any problems that develop.

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