The California Department of Education has issued a set of Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs that include giving youth opportunities “to play a meaningful role in program design and implementation.”
That approach is similar to a Common Core State Standards strategy that encourages students to be in charge of their own learning. Another expanded learning standard – giving students an opportunity to collaborate with each other – also echoes a Common Core theme.
Other standards are more familiar, such as providing a safe environment, promoting physical activities and good nutrition, and embracing diversity and equity.
The standards come on the heels of a strategic plan for expanded learning recently released by the department, A Vision for Expanded Learning in California, which emphasizes the role of after-school and summer programs in supporting students’ academic work during the regular school year.
The vision reflects a movement among educators and policy makers across the state and nation, who are looking to expanded learning programs as a way to keep students engaged and involved through the hands-on, project-based learning emphasized by Common Core.