Summit to Support Expanding Learning Opportunities for Middle School Kids Kicks-off in Washington, DC


Features D.C. Mayor Bowser, Congressman Honda (CA-17), School & District Leaders

(APRIL 21, 2015, WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Education thought leaders from the public and private sectors convene in Washington, D.C. today for “Meet in the Middle: A Summit on Expanded Learning,” a daylong event hosted by Citizen Schools and Higher Achievement. The event is in partnership with other leading organizations seeking to increase student access to high-quality learning opportunities, especially for middle school students. The timing of this Summit is fitting as the U.S. Congress works to reauthorize the nation’s most prominent K-12 education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).”Expanded learning opportunities are essential for all students-particularly for students in middle school, who are often overlooked during these critical years in their education,” says Steven M. Rothstein, CEO of Citizen Schools. “High-quality expanded learning programs provide middle school students with important real-world learning opportunities and mentorship that help them excel in the later grades and beyond, regardless of their income or background.”

Speakers such as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser; Congressman Mike Honda, US Representative (CA-17); and Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National & Community Service, are but a few who will share their voices on the value of expanded learning at the event. Expanded learning programs enrich education for students by enhancing their classroom experiences through mentorships, apprenticeships and additional academic and social-emotional supports. The Summit unites a powerful community of champions to elevate the importance of these supports to advance student learning. It leverages the collective voice of this community to demonstrate the value of expanded learning and grow impactful, sustainable programming.

“At Higher Achievement, we know that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not,” says Lynsey Wood Jeffries, Chief Executive Officer of Higher Achievement. “Expanded learning opportunities that combine caring mentors and rigorous academic lessons should be available to all students. Working to secure sustainable resources for expanded learning benefits every child and every school.”

The Summit will include the release and discussion of the report, Putting the Pieces Together: Sustainable Funding for Expanded Learning Time in Public Schools on sustainable funding for expanded learning time by Education Resource Strategies (ERS) and Citizen Schools. ERS is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming how school systems organize resources so every school succeeds for every student. The report findings reveal pathways and policy solutions for how districts and schools with high-need students could sustainably fund a portion of expanded learning time by reallocating existing resources.

To this end, the Expanded Learning Summit brings together community leaders dedicated to supporting the growth and on-going impact of expanded learning opportunities and high-quality programs at local, state and national levels. To learn more about the Expanded Learning Summit, visit

About Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams. For more information, please

About Higher Achievement
Higher Achievement’s rigorous afterschool and summer academic program closes the opportunity gap for middle school youth in at-risk communities. The program’s proven model provides a rigorous, year-round learning environment, caring role models, and a culture of high expectations, resulting in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed. On average, 95% of scholars who complete Higher Achievement graduate from high school on time. For more information, please




AACTE Applauds Committee Passage of Every Child Achieves Act


(April 20, 2015, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) applauds the leadership of U.S. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) on the unanimous, bipartisan passage of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECA). AACTE is pleased with the committee’s progress on the long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


The bill moves away from the “test and punish” strategy that evolved from the implementation of the current version of ESEA, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While the bill retains the requirement for annual assessments disaggregated by subgroups, it leaves states, schools, teachers and parents to determine what to do about the results of those assessments. AACTE believes students would benefit from stronger accountability for subgroup results, but overall, the bill makes important bipartisan progress toward fixing a broken law.


AACTE is pleased with the focus of Title II of the bill, which authorizes funding for professional development for educators. The rewrite of this title incorporates several positive changes:

  • It builds a bridge to Title II of the Higher Education Act by supporting an expansion of the robust preparation of teachers and leaders authorized in the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) program. This program, which prioritizes clinical preparation and induction programs for new teachers, also promotes residency programs where candidates work hand in hand with master teachers to learn how to be profession ready. The Title II of ECA would enable the scaling up of TQP-type programs so that these innovations and reforms become systemic across the nation.
  • It focuses on the career continuum for educators, including teacher leadership.
  • It supports strengthening teacher preparation programs and the role of teacher performance assessments for candidates.

AACTE and multiple other education organizations shared their opposition to an amendment, proposed by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), to include the GREAT Act in the Every Child Achieves Act. AACTE was pleased that the amendment was not offered during the committee markup and will remain vigilant as the bill moves on to consideration on the Senate floor.


AACTE looks forward to working with Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray as the Senate bill moves through the legislative process.




AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator Preparation


The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners on Day 1. Its over 800 member institutions represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE seeks to lead the field in advocacy and capacity building by promoting innovation and effective practices as critical to reforming educator preparation. For more information, visit