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Literacy

Monica Ingkavet
Learn more about MS ExTRA and book clubs.
Email Monica Ingkavet
Vice President, Expanded Learning Schools
or call (646) 943-8767

MS ExTRA

At the start of the 2013-14 school year, we began collaborating with the New York City Department of Education’s Middle School Quality Initiative, NYC City Council, Robin Hood and Harvard EdLabs to bring struggling readers up to grade level through Middle School ExTRA—Middle School Expanded Day + Tutoring = Reading Achievement—a pioneering initiative to expand the school day in 20 New York City middle schools.

"It is especially critical that we are getting the arts into more middle schools—this is a time when students are developing their academic and creative passions, and they should have exposure to the joy of arts. A great education has to prepare students for life and provide them with real-world, critical-thinking skills—and this just cannot be done without the arts."

— Chancellor Carmen Fariña
Each school, together with a community partner, adds two-and-a-half hours of hands-on learning in such disciplines as the arts, STEM and physical fitness. Targeted students also meet in small groups with a trained literacy tutor for daily book clubs. Book clubs read high-interest books together, discuss the text and draw connections to their own lives. The small groups allow students to feel safe in expressing their thoughts, and they support each other as they build vocabulary and gain exposure to new ideas and perspectives.

This school transformation strategy is built on evidence of student progress in ExpandED Schools and in Denver and Houston public schools, where Harvard EdLabs has seen promising results among students tutored in math.

ABC 7 reports on the middle school expanded learning time pilot: