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Summer 2013 Vol. 20 No. 6 Focus on Expanded Learning Time

Building quality time

Photo: Charles Mostoller

Sulton Glass (right), 7, and Brandin Blue, 10, are learning how to take bikes apart and put them back together in a twice-weekly afterschool program at Neighborhood Bike Works in University City. A citywide effort is underway to improve access to quality afterschool programming. For more on Sulton and this effort, see p. 16.

By by Dale Mezzacappa

With the School District in crisis and relentlessly cutting back, it might seem the wrong moment to focus on expanded learning time.

But in exploring the need for more time, we find examples of how schools – and in some cases whole cities – have leveraged and maximized scarce resources to serve children better.

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More in this edition

Stalled on summer learning loss: District offerings dwindle

By by Connie Langland

Jennifer Graham says she’s well aware of what researchers and educators have come to call “summer learning loss,” but she’s not concerned. Graham has made sure her daughter is in camp.

When looking around for summer activities for her 9-year-old daughter Talitha Roberts, she chose the one with – as she put it – “the education piece.”

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Community schools bring services under one roof

By by Dale Mezzacappa

The idea of community schools, long discussed in Philadelphia but never quite a reality, takes to a whole different level the notion of maximizing time and optimizing resources for children.

More than just a place for students to have something stimulating to do in the afternoons, community schools integrate services for families right in the building. Other cities have developed the idea in ways that have been transformative, prompting a movement to bring community schools here.

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Trying to organize a big mash of programs

By by Bill Hangley Jr.

Sulton Glass is just 7 years old, but he can ride his bike in traffic. 

He’s learned to strap on his helmet, check his tires, and follow the rules of the road. That means he can join the other kids from the Neighborhood Bike Works for their weekly ride, a wobbly, giggling excursion through University City to the Woodlands Cemetery. There he’ll listen to a repair lesson, practice his hand signals, and swoop happily up and down the hilly, car-free roads that wind through the headstones. Finally he’ll follow the group down Chester Avenue, past Clark Park, up Locust Street, and safely back to his waiting mother.

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To get more and better programming, principals are instrumental

By by Dan Hardy

At South Philadelphia High School, under principal Otis Hackney’s leadership, students don’t all bolt for home the minute the bell rings.

That’s because partnerships between the school and the community are providing them with a wealth of opportunities, from new sports like boys’ and girls’ lacrosse to programs like video production that engage their minds in different and exciting ways. 

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