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letters | extending the school day

Innovation calls for new ways to use time for learning

The inclusion of an extended school day in Governor Patrick’s budget and the work the Time to Succeed coalition is doing on behalf of the initiative are critical steps forward in education reform. But the central issue is not just about more time, it’s how we use it — specifically, to support new, equitable, and innovative approaches to learning (“For a longer school day, who sacrifices?” Op-ed, Aug. 18).

More personalized, student-centered approaches are sprouting up in school districts across the country, including tailored learning opportunities in environments that expand learning beyond the confines of school walls and school calendars; blended learning that makes the most of new educational technologies; and performance assessments that measure progress based on mastery of complex, real-world skills and knowledge. Not all of these efforts require more time, but they all do require time to be used differently.

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We are proud to support this effort toward a richer learning environment, and we admire the hard work of leaders who continue to champion the cause.

As these initiatives take root in Massachusetts and around the nation, let’s consider using time to ensure that teachers are supported and well-trained in new practices and that extended time opens doors to more equitable and accessible routes to excellence in education.

Nicholas C. Donohue

President and CEO

The Nellie Mae

Education Foundation

Quincy

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