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Marisa Saunders
AISR Principal Associate
(213) 280-3235 (cell)


PROVIDENCEBrown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) was awarded a two-year, $200,000 research grant from The James Irvine Foundation to examine the intellectual and
equity-focused underpinnings of expanded learning time, it was announced today.

The goals of the research are to review, interpret, and synthesize data that explore the relationship between learning time and school outcomes, and to illuminate models that are effectively reorganizing work and time in secondary schools. 

The project will explore how expanded learning time can be used to make schools more equitable places by providing a range of learning opportunities that can cultivate the academic competence, skills, and commitment to learning that will prepare them personally and socially for responsible adulthood. 

“We are very pleased that The James Irvine Foundation has awarded AISR this research grant to study an educational approach that, if implemented properly, can meaningfully address some of the fundamental challenges facing high schools and their students,” said Warren Simmons, AISR’s executive director. “We look forward to working with our funders and partners on this critical project.”

In collaboration with the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University, and with additional funding provided by the Ford Foundation, the project will commission a set of papers that will provide an evidence-based exploration of: (a) the need for expanded learning opportunities; (b) the key issues that can further develop and promote the relationship between students’ learning and achievement, and access to diverse learning opportunities; and (c) the promise and challenges of providing expanded learning time that promote more equitable outcomes in American secondary schools. 

Papers will also explore emerging school/community approaches or instances that support expanded learning time – called “Linked Learning” – that are demonstrably breaking patterns of inequality in American education and serving as vehicles for achieving equity and opportunity. 

The “Linked Learning” approach, which is particularly gaining momentum in California and in other cities nationwide, transforms the traditional high school experience by merging strong academics, a demanding technical education, and real-world experience to give students an advantage in high school, postsecondary education, and careers. Students can choose among industry-themed pathways in fields such as engineering, biomedicine, healthcare, the arts, and media.

“Many traditional high school academic programs seem irrelevant to students’ lives and aspirations,” explained AISR Principal Associate Marisa Saunders. “Moreover, conventional career and technical education often lacks the academic rigor needed for access to and success in college. ‘Linked Learning’ provides students of all levels and abilities with the best possible chance to excel in college and beyond.” 

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About The James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grant-making foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful, and inclusive society.  The Foundation’s grant making focuses on three program areas: Arts, California Democracy, and Youth. Since 1937, the Foundation has provided over $1.3 billion in grants to more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations throughout California. With about $1.8 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $69 million in 2013 for the people of California.