Out-of-School Experiences
Afterschool and Summer Activities

  Research Tells Us...

Research documents the importance of using after school hours to build on and enhance what students learn in class, of sustaining school year gains over the summer months, and the huge cost of so-called “summer learning loss” among disadvantaged students when those are not achieved.


Yet the outdated structure of the US school day and year compounds barriers to low-income students’ success by widening disparities in their access to enriching activities during those out-of-school hours and months.

We Need a Broader, Bolder Approach

A Broader, Bolder Approach ensures all students opportunities for meaningful, enriching experiences all day and all year. Leveraging momentum around Expanded Learning Opportunities helps even the educational playing field by making them as a core part of the public education system, ensuring that options are equivalent across the socioeconomic spectrum, and aligning activities with school and district curriculum to complement class learning
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Commentaries on the importance of afterschool and summer learning opportunities

These commentaries offer a range of perspectives on the importance of afterschool and summer learning opportunities: As Erik Peterson of the Afterschool Alliance notes in Child nutrition policy proposals focus on afterschool and summer learning …


BBA case studies of high-quality afterschool and summer programs

Across the communities featured in BBA case studies, high-quality afterschool and summer options for enrichment are built into the school system. Several of these case studies are of community schools districts. In another such district, …


Meta-analysis of studies of high-quality afterschool programs

This meta-analysis of studies of high-quality afterschool programs across the country illustrates the academic, behavioral, and other gains for students and their families and explains the factors that advance their success. These infographics illustrate some …


Afterschool Alliance publication

This Afterschool Alliance publicationsets forth eight principles, derived from high-quality afterschool opportunities, that are key to developing successful expanded learning programs.


Afterschool infographics

These infographics illustrate some of these benefits, including providing greater equity in afterschool enrichment activities, reducing summer learning loss, and tax savings and other public benefits from these investments.      

The Time Collaborative

The Time Collaborative, a joint effort of the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time and Learning, advances a Broader, Bolder Approach through efforts in five states to demonstrate how expanding and redesigning …

An In-Depth Look at a Broader, Bolder Approach to Afterschool and Summer Activities

The outdated structure of the US school day and year poses further barriers to the success of low-income students. Continued reliance on a calendar that was designed to enable farmers’ children to help with the harvest not only has little relevance today, it further widens gaps by exacerbating disparities in students’ access to enriching activities during those out-of-school hours and months.

A Broader, Bolder Approach provides all children opportunities for meaningful, enriching experiences all day and all year. Attention in recent years to Expanded Learning Time (ELT) has begun to address out-of-school-time disparities in individual schools and in select districts. But for momentum toward ELT to fulfill its potential to even the educational playing field, three requirements must be met. First, afterschool and summer enrichment opportunities are available to all students as a core part of the public education system – whether through schools or organizations that partner with them – and not optional “extras,” which are particularly vulnerable to political vagaries and budget cuts. Second, options for enrichment are equivalent across socioeconomic classes. In addition to the tutoring and mentoring that low-income children may need more of, enrichment activities should broaden their experiences and world view. Indeed, it is particularly critical that students who are less likely to be exposed to organized sports, activities such as the fine arts, music, and trips to museums, and challenging games like chess, enjoy those opportunities as part of their schooling. Finally, those activities should be coordinated with the school and district curriculum, so that they complement classroom learning.

Additional Resources

Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success

The definitive compendium, Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, offers dozens of searchable research studies, reports, essays and commentaries by more than 100 scholars, policymakers, …

After-School All Stars

One example of such programs is After-School All Stars. In Chicago, participants had fewer suspensions (17% lower) and regular school-day absences (14%) and achievement gains in both reading and math of greater than half …

BBA Policy Areas

Out-of-School Experiences

Establishing an even educational playing field so that all children enter kindergarten prepared to learn and thrive requires supports for children, their parents, and their caregivers from birth. And ensuring equal opportunities to learn requires support for children’s physical and mental health. A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education advances enriching experiences with nurturing, knowledgeable adults throughout the day and all year, in order to promote children’s strong cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral development.


Early Childhood Education

Afterschool and Summer Activities

Physical and Mental Health


In-School Experiences

Schools and educators serving students with higher needs need the resources to do so effectively. A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education advances policies that establish strong standards and curriculum in all schools and ensure sufficient funding for high-needs schools to reach them. BBA promotes supports-based accountability systems focused on improving instruction and strategies to desegregate schools and deconcentrate poverty within them, so that educators and students have a strong context in which to teach and learn.


Equitable Funding

Holistic, Supports-Based Accountability Systems

Teacher and Principal Quality

Accountability for Charter Schools

School-Community Connections

Effective, sustainable school improvement efforts merge research-based evidence of effective ways to mitigate the impacts of poverty with community input regarding the district’s unique assets and needs. A Broader, Bolder Approach highlights the need for key community voices – including educators, parents, students, and faith and business leaders – to be at the center of developing and implementing education reforms.


Addressing Race, Segregation, and Concentrated Poverty

Using Community Input to Inform School Improvement