Location:
EDUCATION - FINANCE; SCHOOLS;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


November 14, 2011

 

2011-R-0378

EXTENDED SCHOOL TIME PROGRAMS IN CONNECTICUT

By: Judith Lohman, Assistant Director

You asked for information about extended school day, extended school year, and after-school programs in Connecticut, including state laws, state and federal grants, and school and school district practice.

SUMMARY

Connecticut state law establishes an annual minimum number of days and hours of instruction that public schools in the state must offer. Once they meet these minimum requirements, boards of education and charter and magnet school governing authorities have discretion to set school calendars and daily schedules.

Since 2003, the State Board of Education's (SBE) policy has been to encourage school districts to use various options to expand the amount of time students spend on academic activities, including through longer school days; after-school, weekend, and summer programs; and longer school years. Federal and state grants are available to fund extended school time programs, including after-school activities. These grants are targeted to low-performing, high-poverty schools and schools districts where students have the most need for academic support.

Despite SBE's policy and available federal and state funding, the statewide average number of public school instructional days per year has remained at 181 for the most recent seven years for which instructional time data is available. State Department of Education (SDE) data show that most school districts offer the minimum or near the minimum number of school days annually and that only a handful have average school days longer than seven and one-half hours. In addition, of the schools offering extended school days and years, most are charter or interdistrict magnet schools.

STATE LAWS

Local and regional boards of education and charter school governing boards have discretion over annual school calendars and daily school schedules. These authorities establish starting and ending dates for school years, schedule school vacations, and decide the starting and ending times for school days. But in doing so, they must comply with state statutory requirements.

State law requires public schools to provide at least 180 days of actual school sessions for kindergarten through grade 12. Schools must also provide a minimum of 900 hours of actual school work per year for a full-day kindergarten program through grade 12 and at least 450 hours per year for a half-day kindergarten program. Districts may count no more than seven hours per day towards these minimums (CGS 10-16).

If school sessions are cancelled because of bad weather or for other reasons, state law prohibits districts from rescheduling sessions on Saturday or Sunday, although supplemental programs for students may occur on those days. The law also authorizes SBE to allow a school board to shorten the school year on account of an unavoidable emergency, or to provide school according to an alternate schedule. But the alternate schedule must allow a student to attend school for at least an average of 180 days per year over 13 years (CGS 10-15).

Finally, state law also requires school districts to offer full-day students at least 20 minutes per day for lunch and, for students in grades K-5, a daily period of physical exercise of unspecified length (CGS 10-221o).

FEDERAL GRANTS

21st Century Learning Center Program

The major federal grant for extended school time and after-school programs is the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant. The grants are available to school districts and nonprofit and community-based organizations to support out-of-school-time academic enrichment programs for students attending low-performing schools. Grants are targeted to schools with high concentrations of poverty (schools where at least 40% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches). They must be used for programs that reinforce and complement participating students' regular academic programs, such as tutoring; art, music, and recreation programs; and technology education.

According to a 2009-10 evaluation report of Connecticut's 21st CCLCs, the state's aggregate grant for FY 10 was $8,857,873. In that year, 56 grant-funded programs served 7,074 students daily. The average grantee budget was $158,176, the average program had 125 students, and the average per-pupil allocation was $1,370.

According to SDE, Connecticut received federal grants totaling $7,418,577 in FY 11 for 21st CCLCs.

School Improvement Grants

Although not primarily focused on extended school time programs, federal School Improvement Grants (SIGs) are also available to fund extended time programs in certain schools. The grants are intended to improve student achievement in Title I schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under the Elementary and Secondary Education (“No Child Left Behind”) Act. To receive a grant, a school district must commit to reconstituting the identified schools using one of the four federally specified intervention models. Two of the models, Turnaround and Transformation, require schools to improve academic performance through extended learning time, among other strategies.

Connecticut received a total of $29.3 million in the first two SIG grant award phases in April and December of 2010. SDE, in turn, awarded SIG grants to eight districts for use in a total of 19 schools. All but two of the schools have chosen to use either the Turnaround or Transformation model, and will thus use the federal funds, in part, to implement extended learning time strategies to improve student achievement.

Table 1 shows the 17 schools using the Transformation and Turnaround models and their SIG grants.

TABLE 1: FEDERAL SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANTS

School

Intervention Model

Year 1

2010-11

Year 2

2011-2012

Year 3

2012-13

Bloomfield School District

Bloomfield High School

Transformation

$700,800

Not Available

Not Available

Bridgeport School District

Barnum School

Transformation

500,000

$500,000

$500,000

Bassick High School

Transformation

700,000

700,000

700,000

Roosevelt School

Turnaround

757,883

Not Available

Not Available

Hartford School District

Milner Core Knowledge School

Turnaround

430,569

400,000

400,000

Burns Latino Studies Academy

Turnaround

430,568

400,000

400,000

Sand School

Turnaround

400,000

400,000

400,000

Dr. Ramon E. Betances School

Turnaround

400,000

400,000

400,000

New Britain School District

Smalley Academy

Transformation

700,000

700,000

700,000

New Haven School District

Katherine Brennan School

Turnaround

590,000

500,000

500,000

Hill Central Music Academy

Turnaround

590,000

500,000

500,000

James Hillhouse High School

Transformation

700,000

700,000

700,000

Wilbur Cross High School

Transformation

700,000

700,000

700,000

New London School District

New London High School

Transformation

800,000

Not Available

Not Available

Stamford Academy

Stamford Academy

Transformation

400,000

400,000

400,000

Windham School District

Natchaug School

Transformation

700,000

700,000

700,000

Windham High School

Transformation

800,000

Not Available

Not Available

Source: State Department of Education

STATE GRANTS

The state provides several grants to support extended school hours and after-school programs, especially in school districts with low student achievement. These grant programs are briefly summarized below.

Priority School District Grants

The state provides grants to school districts that qualify as “priority districts” based on demographic, academic, and economic characteristics specified in state law (CGS 10-266p (a)). Priority district grants are available to fund various programs to improve educational achievement, including summer and after-school programs.

Table 2 shows the 15 priority districts and their FY 11 grants. PA 11-6 allocates $40,319,326 and $39,792,940, respectively for the grants for FY 12 and FY 13.

TABLE 2: FY 11 PRIORITY SCHOOL DISTRICT GRANTS

District

FY 11 Grant

Ansonia

$1,170,738

Bridgeport

6,851,635

Bristol

802,770

Danbury

2,307,294

East Hartford

1,201,409

Hartford

6,298,095

Meriden

1,386,576

New Britain

2,307,294

New Haven

6,298,095

New London

1,170,738

Norwalk

2,957,294

Norwich

1,170,737

Stamford

2,860,834

Waterbury

2,641,464

Windham

1,170,737

TOTAL

$40,595,710

Source: State Department of Education

Extended School Hours Grants

This state grant provides funds to priority districts for academic, enrichment, and recreational programs. Activities can take place before or after school, on weekends, and during school vacations (CGS 10-266t). Table 3 shows the FY 11 grants. PA 11-6 allocates the same amounts for for FYs 12 and 13.

TABLE 3: FY 11 EXTENDED SCHOOL HOURS GRANTS

District

FY 11 Grant

Ansonia

$54,044

Bridgeport

403,020

Danbury

191,824

East Hartford

149,888

Hartford

411,300

Meriden

179,547

New Britain

204,730

New Haven

342,164

New London

66,363

Norwalk

204,575

Norwich

105,597

Stamford

281,763

Waterbury

335,751

Windham

64,186

TOTAL

2,994,752

Source: State Department of Education

Summer School Grants

This grant goes to priority school districts for summer school programs for students in grades 1 to 3 who are substantially deficient in reading. Funds may also be used for summer school for kindergarten students and students in grades 4 to 6 who fail to improve their reading (CGS 10-265m). Table 4 shows the FY 11 grants. Under PA 11-6, grants remain the same for FYs 12 and 13.

TABLE 4: FY 11 SUMMER SCHOOL GRANTS

District

FY 11 Grant

Ansonia

$60,422

Bridgeport

442,920

Bristol

185,074

Danbury

215,949

East Hartford

168,741

Hartford

451,721

Meriden

194,748

New Britain

229,087

New Haven

373,843

New London

72,973

Norwalk

230,544

Norwich

115,977

Stamford

315,287

Waterbury

371,001

Windham

71,412

TOTAL

$3,499,699

Source: State Department of Education

After-School Programs

This competitive grant is available to school districts, community-based organizations, charter and magnet schools, and other entities for high-quality after-school programs that provide educational enrichment and recreational activities for students in grades K-12. To be funded, programs must include a parent involvement component.

Programs may be located in schools or other facilities. They can include tutoring and mentoring; homework help; hands-on science or technology programs; and art, music, sports, and cultural activities. In FY 10 and FY 11, the program provided grants to 40 programs operated by school districts, regional education service centers, and nonprofit organizations. A total of $4.32 million was distributed in FY 11. The program's budgeted appropriation for FY 12 and FY 13 is $4.5 million annually. Table 5 lists FY 11 grant recipients and amounts.

TABLE 5: FY 11 AFTER SCHOOL GRANTS

GRANT RECIPIENT

GRANT

GRANT RECIPIENT

GRANT

Bridgeport

$133,500

Education Connection

$133,500

Bridgeport

133,500

A C E S

133,500

East Hartford

44,500

LEARN

133,428

Enfield

133,500

E A S T C O N N

92,560

Hamden

83,286

Catholic Charities/Catholic Family Services – Hartford

133,145

Hartford

133,500

Village For Families

125,491

Montville

25,000

Bridges

133,500

New Britain

133,500

YWCA Of New Britain

26,700

New Haven

133,500

Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance Center Inc.

65,415

New Haven

133,500

Domus

124,155

Plainville

133,500

Padres Abriendo Puertas

71,491

Plainville

50,000

Boys & Girls Club of Hartford

65,087

Stafford

133,500

Environmental Learning Ctrs of CT

133,500

Stamford

133,500

Boys & Girls Club - Meriden

65,776

Stratford

133,500

Dwight Hall At Yale

133,500

Stratford

133,500

CT Puerto Rican Frm

133,500

Thompson

67,752

Organized Parents

133,500

Thompson

25,000

Organized Parents

133,500

Waterbury

89,896

Carver Foundation of Norwalk

133,500

Waterbury

96,411

   

Waterbury

131,407

   

Source: State Department of Education

A March 2011 report on the after-school grant program by the University of Connecticut's Center for Applied Research in Human Development, states that the 40 programs offered academic, enrichment, recreation, and wellness activities to 4,717 students at 60 sites in 26 school districts statewide. The report has additional details about the programs' operations and effectiveness.

SCHOOL AND SCHOOL DISTRICT PRACTICE

As already noted, as long as they comply with state laws, school districts have wide discretion to determine how many days of instruction and how many hours per day they provide. However, SDE data on instructional time shows most public schools offer close to the required minimum number of days per year. Charter and magnet schools are more likely to offer longer school days and years.

Average Annual Number of Instructional Days

According to SDE data, the average number of annual instructional days offered in Connecticut public schools in the 2009-10 school year (the most recent year available) was 181. This average has remained the same since 2002-03.

Over 81% of the 193 schools and school districts included in SDE's database provided between 180 and 182 instructional days in 2009-10, with nearly 40% providing the statutory minimum number of 180 days. Five schools offer more than 190 days of instruction. All are charter schools.

Table 5 shows the range of annual instructional days offered in Connecticut districts.

TABLE 5: NUMBER OF INSTRUCTIONAL DAYS OFFERED

2009-10 SCHOOL YEAR

Days Offered

Number of

Districts/ Schools

180

75

181

38

182

44

183-184

28

185

2

194

3

195

1

200

1

Source: Connecticut Education Data and Research, SDE

Daily Instructional Time

SDE data on school start and end times in the 2009-10 school year show that, of 1,040 public schools, only 13 provided more than seven and one half hours of daily instructional time. Of these, 10 are charter or interdistrict magnet schools. Table 6 lists the 13 schools and their starting and ending times.

TABLE 6: SCHOOLS WITH AVERAGE INSTRUCTIONAL DAYS OF 7.5 HOURS OR MORE

District/Type

School

Start Time

(AM)

End Time

(PM)

Hours

Hartford/Charter

Achievement First Hartford Academy

7:30

4:00

8.5

New Haven/Charter

Amistad Academy

7:15

4:00

8.75

Bridgeport/Charter

Bridgeport Achievement First Academy

7:15

4:00

8.75

CREC*/ Magnet

Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts – Full Time

7:30

4:15

8.75

CREC*/ Magnet

Greater Hartford Academy of Math & Science

7:30

4:00

8.5

EASTCONN**/Magnet

ACT Magnet School (Arts at the Capitol Theater) – Full Time

9:20

5:00

7 hours, 40 minutes

New Haven/Charter

Elm City College Preparatory School

7:15

4:15

9.0

Hartford/Magnet

Breakthrough II

8:15

3:55

7 hours, 40 minutes

Hartford/Magnet

Breakthrough Magnet School

8:30

4:00

7.5

Hartford/Magnet

Classical Magnet School

8:00

4:00

8.0

Hartford

High School, Inc.

8:45

4:25

7 hours, 40 minutes

Hartford

Journalism and Media High School

7:45

3:10

7 hours, 40 minutes

Hartford

OPPortunity High School

8:35

4:30

7 hours, 55 minutes

* Capitol Region Education Council

** Eastern Connecticut Regional Educational Service Center

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