Want smarter students? Expand their opportunities to learn

Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are high-quality afterschool or summer educational experiences that take place outside the context of the regular school day. These hands-on, experiential, enriching chances to learn that build on, but don’t duplicate, what students are learning during the school day, and allow new and exciting ways to interact with the subject matter.

Past blog posts have already discussed how ELOs close the achievement gap, keeps students safe, and reduce crime in communities. But did you know that high-quality ELOs help participants do better across the board during the school day?

Annual teacher-reported performance data from nationwide afterschool/summer learning programs demonstrate that students participating in programs targeting these academic areas raise their math grades by 37% and English grades by 38%. They also improved homework completion and class participation by 72% and their positive behaviors in class by 67%. (Learning Point Associates, 2011)


An analysis of 68 afterschool studies concluded that students participating in a high-quality afterschool program went to school more, behaved better, received better grades and did better on tests compared to non-participating students.
(Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, 2010)

These enhanced skills don’t stop at the classroom door.

Research shows that afterschool programs can help prepare
young people for the 21st Century workplace. Hands-on learning projects help youth develop critical thinking, leadership and team-building skills—skills we need to be competitive in the global marketplace. (Afterschool Alliance, 2013)

Youth who participate in afterschool programs show significant improvement in their feelings and attitudes, as well in their ability to self-regulate their behavior. (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, 2007)

So much good comes from an investment in Expanded Learning Opportunities.


Nebraska Children's mission is to maximize the potential of Nebraska’s children, youth, and families through collaboration and community-centered impact.

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Posted in Middle Childhood

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