ELO Program Design

ELO Program Design

What does an ELO program look like?

ELOs can be available to students for varying amounts of credit – from a multi-disciplinary, multi-credit opportunity to a focused one targeting specific competencies as part of a traditional classroom course. Different schools in NH have varying policies around ELOs and are also at different points of implementation within those policies.

Develop a plan that fits your school 

There are tools available to help you develop your program.

The New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunity Handbook (PDF, 311 pages, 2016) is a comprehensive manual by Sheila Ward, Bonnie Robinson and Doug Cullen.  It covers all aspects of ELO program development and implementation – a rich resource!

The ELO Program Development Process Chart (PDF, 5 pages) is a planning tool shared by Sheila Ward and Pittsfield High School. It leads you through the important questions and decisions.

The NH DOE Extended Learning Opportunities webpage contains New Hampshire Department of Education guidelines and links to multiple resources including:

Sample program designs

To give you an idea of how schools set up their programs:

First steps for educators

If you are the person trying to get ELOs started in your school, start with questions like these:

  • Who are your allies in starting ELOs?
  • Where does your school already have “almost ELOs?”
  • What’s going to get in your way? What are the barriers?
  • What are you worried about?
  • What is your school/district policy about ELOs?
  • Who needs to be on board?
  • Who is already on board?
  • How will you explain and promote your ELO to students and faculty?

The Program Development Readiness Checklist (PDF) provides a straightforward way to evaluate your school’s readiness.

The Almost ELO chart (PDF) helps you see where you are already providing learning opportunities that are almost high quality ELOs.

Promotional Materials

Download a brochure your school can use to introduce parents to ELOs. It’s a PDF with an editable space on the front to add your school’s information.



Reaching Higher NH, a non-partisan public education policy resource, has promotional videos, articles and brochures on ELOs.

ELO webinars from Next Steps NH

Next Steps NH has developed three two-hour workshops for our New Hampshire project schools on various aspects of ELOs. Materials include how-to-use instructions and PowerPoint with presenter notes. Workshop overviews

Professional development on ELOs

The SW Center at Keene State College can arrange customized workshops or graduate courses to assist your school’s implementation of ELOs.

Learn from the experience of the ELO Initiative high schools

The Final Report of Evaluation Findings (May 2011) from New Hampshire’s ELO Initiative addresses eight research questions:

  1. What is the context for ELO implementation?
  2. How are ELOs developed and implemented?
  3. Who is served by ELOs?
  4. What are the characteristics of ELOs?
  5. How are ELOs assessed for credit?
  6. What is the quality of ELOs?
  7. What are the Initiative’s effects and short-term outcomes?
  8. What have we learned about supporting ELO implmentation, impact and sustainability?

Key findings include:

  • An ELO Coordinator is central to ELO system development, implementation and quality assurance.
  • There is fluidity in the roles of ELO coordinator, community partner and overseeing educator.
  • School have adopted different models for implementation, particularly regarding the role and time for teachers to support ELOs.

An ELO coordinator

  • is a leader for the ELO initiative in the school
  • acts as a liaison between the school and the larger community
  • develops and maintains the quality of the specific ELOs in the school
  • coordinates the “moving parts” of an ELO
  • maintains records and data for the purpose of continually assessing and improving the ELO process

Example: ELO Coordinator job description from Lebanon High School (PDF)

Who is eligible to do ELOs?

A key principle of ELOs is that all students have access to them including students who:

  • don’t attend school
  • are on the honor roll
  • have failed classes
  • have diverse learning needs
  • are gifted learners
  • are non-responsive to traditional teaching methods
  • are home-schooled
  • have IEPs or Section 504 plans

When schools decide to pilot ELOs, it is important to include diverse populations from the beginning.