Spotlight on Continuous Improvement: Extended Day Programming

Data Tools and PracticesGrade 9 SuccessNetwork Collaboration and Learning

As a network, we are committed to continuous improvement. Collectively, we seek to refine our efforts based on new data, learning, and needs. This month, we are sharing a blog series focused on continuous improvement through the lens of our Grade 9 and Postsecondary work. Here, we focus on Extended Day Programming, showcasing bright spots from Naugatuck and Maloney High School. 

In a blog post last spring, we introduced Extended Day Programming (EDP) as a powerful change idea and the continuous improvement focus of the RISE Freshman Success Team (FST) for 2022-23. This network-wide strategy proved so impactful that the FST opted to continue its focus on EDP for a second year.  

In 2022-23, the primary goal for continuous improvement in Grade 9 among RISE core partner schools was to spread awareness of EDP and encourage as many students to attend as possible. Now that a solid foundation and ideological alignment have been established, the focus for the 2023-24 academic year has shifted to using EDP as a tool to increase on-track rates for Grade 9 students. The main objective throughout the Network is to demonstrate a 75 percent improvement in the status of students who participate in at least one EDP session. This improvement could range from transitioning from “off-track” to “almost on-track” or from being “almost on-track” to “on-track.”

Students who attend EDP sign in to sessions using their name and student ID, which allows FST coaches to identify them and their on-track status using the RISE Data Hub. RISE coaches can then utilize an interactive tracker, which shows changes to on-track rates following EDP sessions, to drive conversations with administrators and during On-Track Data Team meetings.

One notable example of success was at Naugatuck High School, which, following two weeks of EDP sessions, saw overall on-track rates increase by 14 percent, with some subgroups increasing by as much as 25 percent.

Through the tracker, educators and coaches can also determine if students who attended multiple EDP sessions are seeing more academic improvement than those who attended only one, and if students who attended one session are faring better than those who did not attend at all. All of this rich data is crucially important as RISE and school teams work together to use this continuous improvement process to support student success. 

Another strategy employed by RISE is creating a platform for educators to come together across schools and districts to pursue shared goals and continuous improvement. This fall, the FST hosted a Freshman Success “Role-Alike” collaborative focused on EDP as a Network-wide change idea. During this session, coaches led school teams through an inter-relational digraph to pinpoint the root causes of their EDP challenges from the past year. 

Following the identification of what they deemed to be the most influential root cause, teams collaborated with RISE coaches to formulate change ideas, guiding their strategy for the initial EDP iteration in Q1 of the academic year. Post-Q1, teams will reassess this root cause and the corresponding change idea, making adjustments to their strategies as necessary. The aim of the role-alike was for school teams to depart with a well-constructed change idea and a prepared follow-up plan.

Cross-school collaboratives such as this also offer an opportunity for school teams to learn from, and with, each other. For example, during a role-alike in the 2022-23 academic year, Maloney High School shared with other school teams a new EDP concept they were piloting. After initially holding EDP sessions after school in the cafeteria, they noted several challenges, including transportation, extracurricular commitments, and off-task behavior, which warranted an adjustment in strategy. Thereafter, the implemented “Hammer Time” EDP sessions, which are held in a smaller, dedicated space during the school day. This new system has proven more successful, as most students have a study hall built into their schedule and educators can take advantage of those times to give students the help they need.

Dave Montemuro, Grade 9 Assistant Principal at Maloney, has cultivated a high level of engagement among educators around this new EDP program. His team has established a thoughtful system of organizing student work to maximize impact in the program and their planning and attention to detail have yielded excellent results. Owing to its proven success, Maloney’s “Hammer Time” concept has since been adopted in other Network schools and adapted to best suit their unique school communities.

“Hammer Time provides a variety of opportunities to our students,” said Montemuro. “Students can become proficient in key concepts, make up or retake assessments, and have a caring and trusted adult to support them with missing work and the executive functioning skills needed to succeed in high school.”

We believe that navigating the continuous improvement journey is a shared endeavor, and the improvement strategies that schools pursue are intended to complement existing efforts, allowing teams to have an additional layer of support for addressing key barriers to student success. By scaffolding RISE support through our cross-network learning opportunities, we are encouraging schools to be leaders of their own improvement.