Envisioning a Different School Day: How Boston and New York Are Using Expanded Learning Time

Envisioning a Different School Day: How Boston and New York Are Using Expanded Learning Time
Envisioning a Different School Day: How Boston and New York Are Using Expanded Learning Time



As we seek to prepare students for college and career success in the 21st Century, there has been a great deal of discussion around modernizing the traditional school schedule and creating a different school day. This forum showcased two innovative models implemented in Massachusetts and New York City that provide more instruction time for students by lengthening the school day. The Expanded Learning Time Initiative in Massachusetts adds 300 hours to the school year for more enrichment opportunities, increased instruction time, and more time for teacher planning and professional development. Expanded Learning Time/New York City expands learning time by at least 30% for participating schools by creating partnerships with community organizations to redesign the traditional school day and structure.





Corbett Coutts began his career in a Special Education classroom working with students who have learning disabilities at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. He accepted his first administrative position as Director of Education at the Condon Community Center in Boston’s South Boston neighborhood and was then promoted to Programs Director. Mr. Coutts rejoined Boston Public Schools (BPS) working in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional practices, helping to manage the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Initiative, coordinating the district’s Bridging the Gap professional development system, and co-creating the BPS Department of Extended Learning Time, Afterschool, and Services (DELTAS). While working for DELTAS, Mr. Coutts supported the district and individual BPS schools to put forth a competitive application for consideration to be included in the first cohort of Expanded Learning Time (ELT) schools by the Massachusetts Department of Education. He was then hired by one of the three BPS schools granted the opportunity to experiment with the amount of time students spend in school, the Mario Umana Middle School Academy, to manage the implementation of the ELT model. Mr. Coutts is currently an Assistant Principal at the Umana Middle School in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, and was recently named Principal of the William Barton Rogers Middle School in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood for the 2010-2011 school year.


For the last twenty years, Jennifer Davis has held numerous positions at the federal, state and local levels focused on improving educational opportunities for children across the U.S.  Jennifer Davis’s previous positions have included U.S. Department of Education Deputy Assistant Secretary; Special Assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley; Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the National Governors’ Association; and the Executive Director of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s after-school learning initiative.

In 2000, Jennifer became the Co-founder and President of Massachusetts 2020, an education organization dedicated to expanding learning opportunities for children across Massachusetts. Over the last eight years, Massachusetts 2020 has lead eight strategic initiatives impacting over 25,000 children.  In 2004, in partnership with the Governor’s office, legislature and state Department of Education, the organization launched the Expanded Learning Time Initiative (ELT) – a research, policy, and technical assistance effort to redesign public schools to extend their day and year to include at least 300 additional hours of learning and enrichment time.  On October 2, 2007, Jennifer became the President & CEO of the National Center on Time & Learning, a new organization to advance the issue of time and learning nationally.


Valerie Sawinski was appointed principal of Edward Bleeker JHS 185 in January, 2000.  Prior to being appointed principal, Mrs. Sawinski served as an assistant principal at Dyker Height Intermediate School 201 in Brooklyn, New York.  Before receiving a degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from St. John’s University in 1993, Mrs. Sawinski was a science teacher and the dean of discipline at IS 73.

Mrs. Sawinski was recognized for her instructional leadership at JHS 185 by her selection as a Cahn Fellow for Distinguished New York City Principals at Teachers College in June 2007.





Saskia Traill is the Director of Policy at The After-School Corporation (TASC), dedicated to giving all kids opportunities to grow through after-school and summer programs that support, educate and inspire them. She is currently leading policy efforts surrounding TASC’s 10-site pilot for expanded learning time, ELT/NYC, and a planning project to align high school out-of-school time with high school reform. She has co-authored articles for peer-reviewed journals and books, as well as written policy briefs and reports on a range of issues, including family economics and after-school programming. Prior to working at TASC, Saskia was a Program Manager for the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, working to build state systems for early care and education.

Dr. Traill currently serves on the Public Policy Committee of the Society for Research on Adolescence and is co-leader of the National Science Foundation’s Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) Policy Study Inquiry Group. She received her B.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in research psychology from Stanford University.



Corbett Coutts
Assistant Principal
Mario Umana Middle School Academy
312 Border St.
East Boston, MA 02128

Jennifer Davis
Massachusetts 2020
One Beacon St.
34th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Valerie Sawinski
JHS 185 Edward Bleeker
14726 25th Drive
Flushing, NY 11354-1420
(718) 445-3232

Saskia Traill
Policy Director
The After-School Corporation (TASC) 
1440 Broadway
16th Floor
New York, NY 10018


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.