Pennington Elementary School: Expanding the Day to Boost Learning

“We went to our whole staff, our parent and family community, and our kids, and we started with the question: ‘What would be the perfect school day?'” – Sandy Craig, Principal at Pennington Elementary School


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Find out how Pennington Elementary expanded the school day to tackle the exhausting realities of poverty — staying within the bounds of educators’ contracts. This next generation learning approach has led to a boost in student learning, excitement, and school culture.

In just one year, third- and fourth-grade student achievement is up in language arts and math; out-of-school suspensions are down by 80 percent; and nearly all parents attend family-teacher conferences, compared to only half the previous year.

The Expanded Learning Time model provides the structure to improve student achievement, close the opportunity gap, and meet the needs of the whole child, says Principal Sandy Craig. “Now we have enough time to flexibly group our kids,” she says. “We have enough time to give solid core instruction. We have enough time to collaborate.”

Pennington moved from a seven-hour school day to an eight-and-a-half-hour day. It now offers over 90 enrichment choices and is a full-service community school with an in-house food, clothing and hygiene bank; adult learning classes; and budget resources.

With the support of The Colorado Education Initiative, Pennington became a pilot school with the National Center on Time & Learning’s (NCTL) TIME Collaborative sponsored by the Ford Foundation.

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