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New report says a stretched out school day helps arts programs

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Longer school days are a key component of improving arts education and academics in schools with low-income students, according to a new report.

The National Center on Time & Learning, a non-profit organization based in Boston, released the report, "Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day: Lessons from Five Schools" earlier this month.

The report,  sponsored by the children's philanthropy group The Wallace Foundation, outlines the expanded-day arts models used by five public schools around the U.S., including Technology Charter High School in San Francisco.

Besides longer school days, the schools also extended the calendar, brought in artists in residence and incorporated arts instruction into core subjects. 

"With the right structure and supports and, significantly, the time to innovate and implement approaches that best meet the needs of all students, schools can indeed create meaningful arts education programs," according to the report.

It's key findings include:

  1. Educators at the profiled schools consider arts classes to be a core feature of their comprehensive educational program.
  2. Educators organize their school days and staffing to reflect the central role of the arts and dedicate sufficient time to their practice.
  3. Educators value how the arts leverage engagement and achievement in school.

“The schools featured in this report are proving that a strong focus on literacy, math, and science and a high quality, well-rounded education can coexist when schools are given more time,” Jennifer Davis, the nonprofit's cofounder and president, said in a written statement.

The report featured Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School (Adams, MA); Clarence Edwards Middle School (Boston, MA); Metropolitan Arts and Technology Charter High School (San Francisco, CA);  Cole Arts and Sciences Academy (Denver, CO); and the Roger Williams Middle School (Providence, RI).

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