Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)

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Massachusetts 2010 Development Grant Abstracts


Grantee:

Bay State Reading Institute

PR Award Number:

U396C100623

Project Title:

The Data-Driven School Transformation Partnership

Project Director:

Britt Ruhe
413-230-8146

Amount of Award:

$4,997,493

Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP2: Use of Data

List of Partners (with states for each):

Brockton Public Schools (MA)
Fitchburg Public Schools (MA)
Gloucester Public Schools (MA)
Malden Public Schools (MA)
Pittsfield Public Schools (MA)
Taunton Public Schools (MA)

Project Website:

http://www.baystatereading.org/

Description of Project:

The Bay State Reading Institute (BSRI) has partnered with 12 high-needs Massachusetts elementary schools that have an established record of poor performance despite long-term efforts to improve the literacy of their students. Each is on the path to transforming into a high-performing school driven by the assessment, analysis and use of student achievement data. The BSRI model is characterized by robust, long-term support; effective use of data; research-based pedagogy; reorganization and alignment of resources; small-group differentiated instruction; and professional development coordinated with embedded coaching that leads to teacher mastery and outstanding principal leadership. The result is lasting change that is embraced by teachers and driven by data, and that dramatically improves student outcomes.

BSRI is conducting a study that examines the relationship between student achievement, the implementation of the BSRI model, and interventions used by turnaround coaches to help schools transform their practice. The study will make explicit, for purposes of replication and scaling, the competencies required of successful turnaround coaches and the organizations that support them. The project represents a 66 percent increase in the number of schools partnering with BSRI. During the 5-year grant period, BSRI will continue to add new school partners funded by other sources. Thus, the lessons learned from the BSRI i3 project will guide the scaling of this model even before the grant period ends.

Among students in the i3 partner elementary schools, 63 percent are low income, 49 percent are non-white and 25 percent are English language learners. Also, 55 percent of third-graders scored below proficient on the 2009 Massachusetts standardized literacy test, 12 percentage points more than the state average of 47 percent. These scores are representative of many years of past performance.

BSRI will assist each school to use data and focus on literacy instruction to transform its leadership, teaching and culture. The most important measure of BSRI's success is improved student achievement: the goal is that the language arts proficiency of more than 6,800 students will improve by at least 20 percent each year during 4 years of implementation. This goal is consistent with the performance of previous BSRI partner schools. The percentages of proficient readers in these schools more than doubled in the first 2 years of partnership and have continued on a similar trajectory. A statistical analysis of student achievement showed effect sizes comparable to or better than the strongest comprehensive school reforms studied by Borman and colleagues in 2003. The cost of this comprehensive reform is only $13 per student each year.

Description of Evaluation:

The evaluation is a quasi-experimental design with a set of 12 treatment schools and 6 comparison schools. The main evaluation questions to be answered are (1) What impact on student achievement does the implementation of each aspect of the BSRI model have? and (2) What skills, practices and competencies do the BSRI coaches effectively use to help schools adopt the BSRI model?

The evaluation will measure fidelity of implementation through surveys, interviews and observations, with results reported in an index score. Achievement growth in treatment and comparison schools will be compared using statistical methods including t tests and analysis of covariance.

Project Evaluator:

Robin Coyne-Hull
978-921-1674

Organization:

SchoolWorks


Grantee:

Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools Foundation

PR Award Number:

U396C101038

Project Title:

Boston Teacher Residency — Preparing and Supporting Effective Teachers In and For Boston's Turnaround Schools

Project Director:

Jesse Solomon
617-277-8055, ext. 342

Amount of Award:

$4,827,975

Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP1: Effective Teachers and Principals

List of Partners (with states for each):

Boston Public Schools (MA)

Project Website:

www.bostonteacherresidency.org

Description of Project:

One of the first teacher residency programs in the country, the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) was started in 2003 with a mission to recruit, prepare and support teachers in the areas of highest need for Boston Public Schools (BPS). With the ultimate goal of driving significant gains in student achievement, BTR is rooted in an intensive preparation year, joining theory and practice through intensive field- and coursework. Since its creation, BTR has prepared and supported more than 280 graduates who work with 16,000 BPS students annually, one-third of whom are English language learners or students with disabilities.

Like many districts across the nation, BPS has been working to address the crisis of its underperforming schools. In partnership with strong and proven school leaders, BTR now proposes to direct its teacher pipeline to BPS turnaround schools, creating a replicable and sustainable strategy for improved student achievement through the development and retention of highly effective teachers in these schools. Through this initiative, the program will serve 8,935 students over a 4-year period. Anticipated outcomes are as follows:

  • BTR will prepare and place a total of 130 teachers for BPS turnaround schools.
  • BTR will retain graduates in turnaround schools at a rate of 82 percent after 3 years (with a 93 percent 1-year retention rate and an 87 percent 2-year retention rate).
  • BTR graduates teaching in turnaround schools will make at least 1 year's worth of academic growth with at least 80 percent of their students.
  • Eighty percent of BTR graduates will earn a rating of "proficient" or higher on classroom observational assessments of teacher effectiveness.
  • BTR will identify and partner formally with 12 new turnaround schools each year.

Description of Evaluation:

Through a database designed to capture formative assessment data for students of BTR residents and graduates, an observational teacher classroom evaluation, the continuation of BTR's value-added student achievement study with Harvard and a qualitative turnaround school study, BTR's evaluations seek to answer three questions:

  • Do BTR graduates produce better student achievement gains than comparable colleagues?
  • Are BTR graduates rated higher on measures of effective classroom teaching?
  • In what ways do clusters of BTR graduates impact school turnaround efforts?

BTR has hired a director of student learning to oversee these efforts and to ensure that evaluation results and feedback are incorporated into the program.

Project Evaluator:

Martin West
617-496-4803

Organization:

Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University


Grantee:

Plymouth Public Schools

PR Award Number:

U396C100242

Project Title:

The New England Network for Personalization and Performance (NETWORK)

Project Director:

Chris Campbell
508-245-9909

Amount of Award:

$4,992,945

Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP3: High Standards and High-Quality Assessments

List of Partners (with states for each):

School Districts:
Kearsarge High School (NH)
Laconia High School (NH)
Manchester West High School (NH)
Mount Abraham Union Middle High School (VT)
Nashua North High School (NH)
Nashua South High School (NH)
Newfound High School (NH)
Noble High School (ME)
Nute Middle High School (NH)
Pittsfield Middle High School (NH)
Plymouth North High School (MA)
Plymouth South High School (MA)
Raymond High School (NH)

Other:
The Center for Secondary School Redesign, Inc. (RI)

Project Website:

TBD

Description of Project:

The New England Network for Personalization and Performance (NETWORK) is an innovative approach to preparing and motivating students for postsecondary success. NETWORK organizers envision its redesigned high schools as places where learning can happen anytime, anyplace; places where students demonstrate learning through complex and rigorous performance assessments. In such schools, teachers function more as facilitators and coaches of learning rather than as lecturers and dispensers of knowledge. The hypothesis underlying NETWORK is this: A network of schools working together to create authentic tasks and common rubrics to measure uncommon assessment tasks, will foster personalized learning resulting in higher student achievement, as demonstrated by lower dropout rates, higher graduation rates, and demonstrable success after high school. The challenge (and the innovation) is to reckon how to transform existing comprehensive high schools into schools where learning is personalized for all students in a replicable, cost-effective way. NETWORK builds on the promising work and proven results of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, applying that work to new settings and with new populations.

NETWORK defines personalized learning as inquiry-based learning experiences that are under the control of the student, with guidance from adults. "Common rubrics to measure uncommon assessment tasks" encourage students to demonstrate learning in a wide variety of ways, while ensuring that they meet (or exceed) the state standards in each content area. For example, a common science rubric may require students to properly describe variables in an experiment, though the experiment itself may take virtually any form (i.e., may constitute an uncommon assessment task).

NETWORK is made up of 13 high schools serving nearly 11,000 students across four New England states: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Description of Evaluation:

The UCLA School Management Program will evaluate NETWORK by collecting and analyzing valid and reliable data for specified Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) performance indicators and project performance measures, thereby providing regular feedback to and assistance with refining the program to meet its implementation goals. The evaluator will submit reports with findings relative to measures of progress on goals, indicators of and feedback on program implementation progress, and evidenced needs for improvement. A final evaluation at the end of Year 5 will summarize overall findings with regard to the success of program implementation and the impact on student achievement.

Project Evaluator:

Laureen Cervone
203-365-8914

Organization:

UCLA School Management Program


Grantee:

The Achievement Network LTD (ANet)

PR Award Number:

U396C100771

Project Title:

Improving Data Use in Schools: Expanding the Achievement Network Model

Project Director:

Amie Sugarman
617-725-0000, ext.718

Amount of Award:

$4,999,987

Length of Award:

4 years

Absolute Priority:

AP2: Use of Data

List of Partners (with states for each):

School Districts
Chelsea Public Schools (MA)
Chicago Public Schools Areas 4 and 13 (IL)
District of Columbia Public Schools (DC)
Jefferson Parish (LA)
Springfield Public Schools (MA)

Project Website:

www.achievementnetwork.org

Description of Project:

ANet builds the capacity of school leaders and teachers, currently in 169 schools serving nearly 45,000 students, to identify and close gaps in student learning through the use of effective, research-based data-driven strategies. Through the Improving Data Use in Schools project, ANet will provide significant subsidies to serve an additional 120 schools with more than 1,000 teachers and 25,200 students. The approach to be used will embed data tools and practices into the daily work of schools to drive increases in high-needs student achievement. It combines high-quality assessments and tools, professional services for educators and school leaders, and collaborative peer networks of schools. ANet coaches work directly with schools to teach them how to analyze assessment results based on ANet's state-aligned assessments, identify gaps in student learning, create action plans to address these gaps and assess action plan effectiveness. ANet also provides leadership and teacher professional development to schools in its collaborative peer networks, in addition to comparative performance data on an ongoing basis.

This project will expand four school networks in Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Louisiana and Illinois. Expanding these existing networks rather than building new ones avoids the high fixed costs associated with network start-ups. ANet will target schools in a manner consistent with past network member selection to maximize the potential for increasing achievement among high-needs students. ANet targets schools with the following characteristics: (a) a large percentage of high-needs students; (b) school leadership committed to dramatically raising student achievement and open to sharing performance data; (c) preliminary support structures in place, such as resources for intervention efforts, an annual calendar for PD, and scheduled time for planning and follow-up meetings; and (d) commitment to aligning curriculum to state standards.

This grant allows ANet to encourage and facilitate the evaluation, analysis, and use of student achievement and growth data by educators to inform decision making and improve student achievement. Outcomes that would indicate success at the end of the Improving Data Use in Schools project include the following:

  • Increased student achievement for high-needs students through the expansion of ANet's data-driven model to new schools within four current ANet networks.
  • Validation of the impact of ANet's model on achievement through a formal external evaluation.
  • Shared effective practices in the use of data to increase student achievement through a system that enables data aggregation, analysis and research.

Description of Evaluation:

ANet aims to quantify the impact of its Improving Data Use in Schools program through a large, school-level, independent randomized control study conducted by Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research. Through the study, ANet will codify and share effective practices in the use of data to increase student achievement and will enable data aggregation, analysis and research. Each of the 120 new schools that join ANet's networks will be randomly assigned to treatment or control status. Treatment schools will begin receiving ANet services in the 2010-11 school year, while control schools will receive ANet services in the 2012-13 school year.

Project Evaluator:

Martin West
617-496-4803

Organization:

Harvard University, Center for Education Policy Research


 
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Last Modified: 03/22/2011