The Board of Education (Board) recognizes that increased expectations of student achievement must be matched by increased supports, resources, and time engaged in learning. The Board also acknowledges that many students learn at a different pace, respond better under different learning environments and have varying degrees of success from differentiated instruction. To this end, the Board seeks to expand understandings of when and where learning occurs, maximize the use of time and other resources, utilize new and emergent technologies as tools to increase student learning and engagement, and work in partnership with agencies, communities, parents, and businesses to increase the quality and diversity of learning where regular classrooms are not practical or cost effective to benefit all students regardless of their learning abilities.

Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are activities and programs that provide safe and structured learning environments for students beyond the traditional classroom day or school year. Examples of ELOs include before- and after- school programs; weekend, intersession, and summer programs; extended day/year initiatives; online courses/distance learning; independent study, internships, community service, and apprenticeships. While ELOs vary in goals, duration, structure, and content, they typically offer additional time and/or differentiated learning experiences to engage students in academic enrichment, acceleration, and/or remediation, as well as personal, social, and leadership development. ELOs provide students with the extra time and assistance they need to demonstrate proficiency of grade level benchmarks, foster innovation and creativity, and challenge students to achieve beyond the minimum requirements for graduation.

The Department of Education (Department) shall provide strategic leadership and direction for all public schools in implementing extended learning opportunities that address student achievement, increase graduation rates, and prepare students with 21st century skills. The Department shall also provide statewide leadership and administrative assistance to schools by continuously developing and identifying ELOs that schools may adopt. The Department shall also leverage federal, state, county, and non-government resources to assist schools in implementing ELOs. The Department shall develop the rules, regulations, and guidelines needed to successfully implement diverse ELO initiatives.

Approved: 11/8/10