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星期四, 12月 08, 2016

BPS Announces Major Investment to Expand Extended Learning Time to Additional 39 Schools Next Year

BPS Announces Major Investment to Expand Extended Learning Time to Additional 39 Schools Next Year
District will provide Extended Learning Time to majority of students;
BPS budget for Fiscal Year 2018 maintains school funding formula
BOSTON - Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 - The Boston Public Schools (BPS), through additional funding from the City of Boston, will make a $14 million investment in its Fiscal Year 2018 budget that will allow more than 15,000 additional students in 39 schools to benefit from Extended Learning Time (ELT) next school year -- an effort that is proven to close opportunity gaps for students. With this added investment, BPS will have implemented extended learning time in 57 schools serving over 23,000 students in only three years.

"I am proud that Boston will soon provide more time for enrichment, intervention and personalized learning opportunities to a majority of our students," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has made expanding learning time a major focus of his administration. "Our children need and deserve more time for high-quality instruction. Research tells us that there is a real positive connection between a longer school day and stronger student growth."

Under the leadership of BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang and with support from Mayor Walsh, BPS is making the creation of a longer school day a cornerstone of the district's budget for the coming fiscal year, appropriating approximately $14 million for Boston's schools to fund the 40 minutes of added classroom time to more than 15,000 additional students.

"I want to commend Mayor Walsh for his ongoing support to expand learning time for our students, who traditionally have received fewer classroom hours than the national average," Dr. Chang said. "This is a critical component in our effort to close opportunity and achievement gaps."

According to a statewide study in Massachusetts published in 2012, schools with extended learning showed a "statistically significant" positive effect in 5th grade science, 6th grade math, 8th grade science and 7th grade English Language Arts. Students in ELT schools also outperformed their peers in non-ELT schools in growth measurements on all MCAS tests.

"It is clear that a longer school day can contribute to improving student gains," Dr. Chang said. "However, those gains are not achieved simply by providing more instructional hours to students. ELT also provides our educators additional time each week to collaborate as a team to improve instruction and student growth. Our teachers have given us overwhelmingly positive feedback that this is important in creating a culture of quality teaching."

By prioritizing long-term financial planning, Dr. Chang has also taken steps to ensure that there will be no changes to the school funding formula in the budget that he will present to the School Committee on February 1st.  BPS uses a weighted student funding formula that allocates money for school budgets based on student need.

Despite continuing uncertainties around state funding and other fiscal pressures, BPS is committed to maintaining student weights to provide principals with the confidence needed to start planning for next school year. In FY18, funding directed to schools will increase by three percent, even before employee collective bargaining increases are negotiated.

"We have been working hard to identify greater operational efficiencies within BPS and to further streamline our Central Office operations. I am very excited to announce that we are prepared to balance the FY18 budget without any changes to the way schools are funded through student weights," Dr. Chang said, referring to the funding mechanism for schools.

"We believe in allowing families to choose the school that's the best fit for their children. To make school choice possible, dollars follow students," Superintendent Chang explained, noting that individual school budgets will be driven by their enrollments and student populations.

Eleanor Laurans, Chief Financial Officer for BPS, said the district is developing ways to address the pressures on its budget through a Long Term Financial Plan. The district has kicked off a series of community events to get input on potential ways to unlock dollars to be re-invested in classrooms.

"That work has already begun paying off this year," Laurans said. "BPS remains committed to our long term planning effort, which will allow us to maximize dollars that go to school budgets while also identifying additional resources for investment. One of those critical investments will roll out next year as we implement extended learning time."

BPS has provided extended learning time to approximately 13,500 students attending more than 30 non-traditional schools, including innovation, pilot, turnaround and Horace Mann in-district charter schools, as well as early education centers.

In 2015-16, as part of an agreement with the Boston Teachers Union, BPS implemented extended learning time at an additional 18 elementary, middle and K-8 schools with 600 teachers serving 7,500 students. Combined with the group of schools that will provide extended learning time next school year, a total of more than 23,000 students in 57 schools with 1,700 teachers will benefit from extended learning time.

Under Mayor Walsh, the Boston Public Schools has continued to make other key strategic investments aimed at increasing student achievements, closing opportunity and achievement gaps, and putting the most effective teachers in its classrooms. In the past year alone, BPS has invested:

  • $3 million to continue expanding the district's nationally recognized early education programming by adding more than 200 additional pre-K seats at five schools, including the first dual-language K1 class in East Boston. Previously, $1 million had been invested in both FY15 and FY16 for an additional 100 seats each year.

  • $1.2 million to launch Excellence for All, a pilot program designed to provide students starting in the fourth grade the same rigorous instruction and enriched learning opportunities offered to those enrolled in the district's "Advanced Work Class," which is open to only those students who score high enough in standardized tests.

  • $8 million for the Early Hiring Initiative to ensure that BPS schools can better compete with charter schools and suburban districts for the most talented and diverse teacher candidates earlier in the hiring season.

"The children of Boston are the city's greatest resource," Mayor Walsh said. "We are deeply committed to ensuring that our students have access to high-quality early educational experiences, expanded learning opportunities and topnotch teachers to help them succeed in college, career and life."

For more information on expanded learning in BPS, visit http://bostonpublicschools.org/elt/research.