Learning Around the Clock: Benefits of Expanded Learning Opportunities for Older Youth
Learning Around the Clock: Benefits of Expanded Learning Opportunities for Older Youth identifies and describes Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) that improve academic performance, college and career preparation, social and emotional development, and health and wellness outcomes for underserved youth. The term “expanded learning opportunity” is used to describe the range of programs and activities available to young people that occur beyond regular school hours. ELOs include traditional afterschool activities with an academic focus, but also incorporate activities such as internships with employers, independent study in alternative settings, classes on college campuses for high school students, and wraparound support services. Expanded learning opportunities are an effective use of resources to prepare youth for the complexities that face them as adults. The underlying message drawn from our review of the evaluations is that expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) work. ELOs deserve ongoing and expanded support and to be fully viewed as a major contributor in the preparation of youth for postsecondary education, careers, and civic engagement.
Learning Around the Clock: Benefits of Expanded Learning Opportunities for Older Youth is an easy-to-read guide designed to help national, state, and local policymakers and practitioners better understand the wide-array of benefits ELOs provide and the programmatic and structural elements of successful ELOs. Included in Learning Around the Clock: Benefits of Expanded Learning Opportunities for Older Youth are profiles of 22 ELOs that have proven results for youth across a range of indicators.
Our analysis of the 22 included program evaluations demonstrates that ELOs leverage existing resources and contribute additional resources (including significant numbers of adult volunteers) to augment K-12 and community-based funding streams. ELOs provide positive youth development experiences and increased support for academic learning, and they can play a part in restructuring the learning environment for older youth, who live with more complex and demanding schedules. As such, ELOs should be viewed as a mainstream solution to help leverage scarce resources in the effort to ensure our youth are well-prepared for postsecondary education, careers, and civic engagement.