Expanding the Day to Boost Learning
The staff at Pennington Elementary in Wheat Ridge launched an expanded learning time model in 2013. The new model increased the school day from seven hours to an eight-and-a-half-hour day; expanded core learning time in reading, writing, and math; introduced competency-based learning so students are grouped on ability rather than age; allowed daily professional learning and planning time for staff; and added popular enrichment classes for students in technology, life skills, art and culture, recreation and fitness, and community service (the school formed a partnership with the YMCA to offer the enrichments). Pennington saw big gains in student achievement, with an 18.8 percent increase on the State School Performance Framework, an 80 percent drop in suspensions, and an increase in parent attendance at family-teacher conferences from 50 to 89 percent.
Next Generation Learning Environments:
Spotlight on Pennington Elementary
See all five next generation learning environments together.
A Full-Service Community School
Having a school that provides all the services a child needs to be successful is one of Pennington’s main missions.
A Safe and Healthy Space
Cultivating a safe and healthy space for learning to occur is a priority for everyone on the Pennington team. If children don’t feel safe, if they are coming to school hungry or after a stressful evening, learning is not possible.
A Look Inside Enrichments
Sixth-grade student Yahari shares how expanded learning time and enrichments have impacted her experience at school.
Meeting Children Where They Are
Pennington groups children according to academic ability rather than age, giving teachers the flexibility to move students between classes based on skill levels.
What the Families Have to Say
Parent and family voices were instrumental in the design of Pennington’s model. Hear how one parent thinks about the school’s evolution and how her children have responded.
In its second year of implementation, the Expanded Learning Time model has already had a great deal of impact.