The Quality Imperative: A State Guide to Achieving the Promise of Extended Learning Opportunities
Extended learning opportunities (ELOs) provide safe, structured learning environments for students outside the traditional school day. ELOs include afterschool and summer learning programs as well as before-school, evening, and weekend programs. ELOs come in many forms and can include tutoring, volunteering, academic support, community service, organized sports, home-work help, and art and music programs. ELOs are based in schools, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLCs), child care centers, and community-based organizations, such as 4-H Clubs and Boys and Girls Clubs. No matter where they are located, ELOs complement what children and youth learn during school in ways that support student success. For this reason, effective ELOs should be considered an integral part of state elementary and secondary (K-12) education systems. All ELOs, however, do not produce similar results. In fact, low quality ELOs fail to show positive impacts and can even have negative effects on children. Therefore, assertthe authors of this 44-page report, governors, chief state school officers, and other state leaders should act to support the development, sustainability, and availability of high quality ELOs. To improve ELO quality, state leaders have initiated efforts to develop program standards, create program self-assessment tools, and provide technical assistance to local programs. State leaders can build on and strengthen these efforts by integrating them into a broader state ELO quality system. State leaders can take the following actions to implement a comprehensive state ELO quality system: (1) establish an ELO quality team of key stakeholders to envision, develop, and administer a state ELO quality system; (2) identify federal and state funding sources to support ELO quality; (3) specify state goals for ELOs and set research-based ELO program standards; (4) measure the extent to which ELOs meet program standards and demonstrate expected results; (5) provide incentives to improve ELO quality; (6) support a strong ELO workforce; and (7) connect students with high quality ELOs. Furthermore, the authors discuss why high quality ELOs are important, the features of high quality ELOs and State actions to develop and ELO quality system. Modified Author Abstract.