This project relates to the following ED Priorities:

  • Turning around the lowest-performing schools
  • Identifying and scaling up innovative approaches to teaching and learning that significantly improve student outcomes

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Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council


Legislation passed during the 2013 regular Texas legislative session required the Commissioner of Education to establish a statewide council to study and make recommendations concerning expanded learning opportunities (ELO) for public school students. The ELO Council is statutorily required to meet three times per year and to submit a biennial statewide action plan to the governor and legislature with recommendations for improving expanded learning opportunities for public school students in Texas. TXCC will assist the Texas Education Agency staff with coordination of the council's work to inform policymakers and stakeholders about high-quality development and implementation of expanded learning opportunities for public school children, applying knowledge of research and best practices in this area.

Previous Work Updates

2016

July

In July, TXCC supported the Texas Education Agency (TEA) at the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (CCLC) Summer Institute in Phoenix. TXCC attended sessions, debriefed learning with TEA staff, and attended planning meetings with TEA and contractors. TXCC staff continued to provide support for the ELO Council meeting on August 2. Support activities included (1) interviewing and orienting new council members, (2) securing an outside facilitator for the meeting and co-planning consensus-building activities , (3) hosting two ELO staff planning meetings (one via conference call and one in-person meeting), and (4) planning for the meeting supports.

June

In June, the TXCC conducted two workgroup staff planning meetings. Staff from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), American Institutes for Research (AIR), RMC, Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST), and Westat met to discuss workgroup progress, council member recommendations, timelines, and plans for the August 2 Expanded Learning Opportunities Council meeting. In addition, TXCC staff conducted interviews with two council members and facilitated a meeting for the Scope, Access, and Policy workgroup.

May

TXCC staff worked with TEA to support the development of ELO council recommendations. In collaboration with TEA, TXCC worked to refine the charge and scope of ELO workgroups, develop meeting facilitation guidelines, schedule and conduct meetings and interviews with council members, and plan for the next ELO council meeting on August 2. TXCC also developed a scan of ELO policies in Texas and submitted the report to TEA.

April

TXCC staff developed guidance for the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council workgroups, drafted a proposed timeline, and identified next steps for moving forward with initial recommendations. Staff also conducted a scan of state extended learning opportunity policies in Texas to help inform the work of the Scope, Access, and Policy workgroup.

March

TXCC staff facilitated a meeting with the full planning team during the Beyond School Hours Conference in Dallas. The team agreed on a strategy for council members to generate recommendations for the 2017-18 Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Statewide Plan through four work groups, which will address the topics of Communication Strategy, Funding, Sustainability, and Geographic Reach (Equity), Data and Evaluation, and Scope, Access, and Policy.

February

TEA worked with TXCC to finalize arrangements for the March ELO Council meeting, which is planned in conjunction with the Beyond School Hours Conference in Dallas, Texas. TXCC staff agreed to outline a process by which council members will complete work on the 2017-18 Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) State Plan over the next eight months.

January

TXCC staff completed a review of all recommendations generated to date by the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council in the current state plan and at two council meetings in 2015. The review identified the source of each recommendation (i.e., the plan or the specific council meeting), the nature of the recommendation (support, guidance, advocacy, education, policy, funding, and evaluation), and the organization or agency best positioned to carry out the recommendation. The ELO planning team discussed the document at its monthly meeting and suggested forming working groups of council members to review subsets of the recommendations. The team also set the date for the next council meeting in March in conjunction with the Beyond School Hours Conference, which will allow council members the opportunity to attend this event and the Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers directors’ meeting as well.

2015

December

The Texas Education Agency lead for the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council requested assistance from TXCC to identify all recommendations generated by the council to date for consideration at the next team meeting. The goal for this project will be to provide a roadmap to help council members determine the most viable recommendations for incorporation into the next ELO state plan, work on which will commence in the spring to ensure successful completion by the November 1 deadline.

November

The Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council met to learn about Texas’ graduation requirements and performance reporting system from TEA staff, hear an update on the Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, and refine the initial recommendations for the 2016 statewide plan that were generated at the July meeting. TXCC staff contributed by facilitating a robust discussion on statutory education requirements and the ways in which ELO can support districts and campuses in meeting those requirements. Council members were particularly interested in the connections between ELO and the high school endorsements required by House Bill 5 and how ELO programming could best support learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

October

The project planning team met to finalize the agenda for the November 4 Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council meeting and confirm presentations and discussion items. In particular, TXCC agreed to facilitate a discussion with council members on how state-funded ELO programming could address the career pathways required by House Bill 5, support the state’s performance indicators, and reinforce science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming.

September

In response to a request from TEA for the Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program, TXCC analyzed current federal and state grantee requirements, routine administrative supports, and unique needs that could be addressed through targeted technical assistance. TEA staff will use the information to review contracted services in support of the program and identify potential changes to provide more differentiated services to grantees. TXCC staff also met with the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council planning team to draft an agenda for the November council meeting and discuss strategies for developing recommendations related to the council’s four priority areas (HB 5 and ELO, ELO metrics, extended day blueprints, and unmet needs for ELO programming). TXCC agreed to facilitate part of the meeting and present information researched by staff on each of the priority areas.