Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)

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 Office of Innovation and Improvement Home
Pennsylvania 2010 Validation Grant Abstracts


Grantee:

Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching (ASSET)

PR Award Number:

U396B100045

Project Title:

ASSET Regional Professional Development Centers for Advancing STEM Education

Project Director:

Cynthia Pulkowski
412-481-7320, ext. 202

Amount of Award:

$20,230,572

Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP3: High Standards and High-Quality Assessments

List of Partners (with states for each):

All projects are in Pennsylvania

School Districts
Aliquippa Elementary School
Aliquippa Junior- High School
Bedford Area School District
Berlin Elementary School
Blossburg Elementary School
Borough of Morrsiville SD
Brookville Area School District
C.M Musser Elementary School
Cambria Elementary School
Catasauqua Area School District
East Forest Elementary School
East Pennsboro Elementary School
Farrell Area Elementary School
Forbes Road School District
Francis H. Sheckler Elementary School
Hickory Grove Elementary School
Homer-Center School District
The School District of Jenkintown
John S. Clarke Elementary Center
Kerr Elementary School

MAST Community Charter School
Meyersdale Area Elementary School
Mountain View Elementary School
Penns Valley Area SD
Pottsville Area SD
Propel Charter School
Rush Elementary School
Saint Clair Area Elementary/Middle School
Schuykill Haven Area SD
Shamokin Area SD
St. Mary's Area SD
Tamaqua Elementary School
Waynesboro Area SD
West Branch Elementary School
West Creek Hills Elementary School
West Forest Elementary School
The Westmont Hilltop SD
Wyomissing Area SD

State
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Project Website:

www.assetinc.org/i3.html

Description of Project:

Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching (ASSET) will replicate, expand and sustain its proven K-6 standards-aligned STEM education program statewide through the establishment of strategically placed comprehensive Regional Professional Development (PD) Centers and Satellite Sites across Pennsylvania, targeting teachers in high-needs and rural schools.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of jobs requiring science degrees is growing at three times the rate of other jobs. Yet the number of university students majoring in engineering and physical sciences declined by 25 percent between 1980 and 2004. Research indicates improved K-12 science education leads to more students who choose and succeed at higher-level high school courses and leads to more college-bound students selecting science and engineering majors and improved overall performance. By age 11, students in ASSET schools have received 7 years of science instruction from teachers who are adept at utilizing hands-on, inquiry-based materials, aligned with state and national standards, that spark and sustain students’ natural interest in science. ASSET recognizes that many rural and socioeconomically challenged schools face unique challenges: isolation, lack of curriculum, and the inability to attract and retain highly effective teachers who can be developed as coaches. ASSET can begin to break down these barriers to improving science education through the establishment of Regional PD Centers and Satellite Sites. To sustain professional development, the development of professional learning communities will be supported.

The PD Centers, replicating ASSET's professional development center in Pittsburgh, will be located in the western, eastern and central parts of the state, and corresponding satellite sites will provide regional access to ASSET's comprehensive advanced PD offerings; 5-day Institutes for Inquiry, Assessment, Science & Literacy and Foundations for Teaching Inquiry-Based Math; and a leadership development pathway for teachers and ASSET's Coaching Pathway to provide schools with the option of developing their own science coach(es). The development of rubrics, training materials and online courses will enable the program to scale to new sites. The fully funded Advanced PD Program will impact 400 elementary teachers and 48,000 students.

Anticipated outcomes include curriculum alignment to science standards, increased pedagogical and STEM content knowledge, improved teacher effectiveness, student self-efficacy, student achievement, and professional learning communities to sustain growth in participating schools.

Description of Evaluation:

Evaluators will use a mixed-methods approach, incorporating a quasi-experimental design and the constant comparative method for qualitative aspects, focusing on six areas: (1) aligned science curriculum, via the Pennsylvania Department of Education rubric; (2) impact of professional development on teachers' pedagogical practice, via observations, interviews and questionnaires; (3) impact of professional development on content knowledge by science teachers and conceptual learning processes by math teachers, via observations, interviews and questionnaires; (4) impact on student achievement in science and math, via student data; (5) increase in student self-efficacy in science and math curriculum studies, via questionnaires; and (6) development of professional learning communities, via case studies using an annotated rubric. Participants will be sampled based on the intended purpose for the specific evaluation component.

Project Evaluator:

Charles Fox
412-391-4100

Organization:

Point Park University


Grantee:

Children's Literacy Initiative

PR Award Number:

U396B100030

Project Title:

Children's Literacy Initiative's Model Classroom Innovation for Raising Teaching Quality and Increasing Student Literacy Achievement

Project Director:

Kelly Hunter
215-561-4676, ext. 141

Amount of Award:

$21,726,296

Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP1: Effective Teachers and Principals

List of Partners (with states for each):

Camden City Public Schools (NJ)
Chicago Public Schools (IL)
Newark Public Schools (NJ)
School District of Philadelphia (PA)

Project Website:

www.childrensliteracyinitiative.org

Description of Project:

The CLI Model Classroom Modeling Exemplary Literacy Instruction (MELI) project raises student literacy achievement by investing in teachers' instructional skills and by developing grade-level teams of teachers into collaborative professional learning communities. These teachers have access to the tools, training and support they need to effectively teach children from low-income neighborhoods how to read and write.

In implementing the Model Classrooms, the Children's Literacy Initiative (CLI) will work with 456 kindergarten through third-grade teachers in 39 randomly selected public schools in four states. Model Classrooms will reach 45,600 students over the 5-year grant period. The goal is to increase the number of K-3 teachers who have the content knowledge and instructional skill needed to teach students to read on grade level by the end of third grade.

Statistics show that teacher quality is the factor that has the highest impact on student achievement; therefore, CLI sees the teacher as the most powerful tool in the classroom. For this reason, through Model Classroom, CLI identifies, recruits and develops one Model Classroom teacher per grade in every school. This teacher then receives intensive coaching and support to prepare him or her to help colleagues use best practices in literacy long after CLI’s intervention is complete. Model Classroom teachers raise expectations, standardize practices, and serve as mentors and resources to other district teachers. CLI also collaborates with school leaders to ensure that they know how to leverage their Model Classrooms to sustain and expand excellent literacy instruction.

Each region where the i3 grant will be applied has been separated into two groups: Phase 1 (39 treatment schools) and Phase 2 (38 control schools). Phase 1 schools begin receiving services in the first 3 years of the i3 grant, and Phase 2 schools begin receiving services in the final 2 years of the grant. Phase 2 schools will serve as a control group for comparison to mark the progress of Phase 1 schools during the research study. Phase 1 schools are separated into three cohorts: Cohort 1 consists of third-grade teachers across the treatment schools, cohort 2 consists of kindergarten and first-grade teachers, and cohort 3 consists of second-grade teachers. Training events, coaching and materials will be delivered to these three cohorts over a 3-year implementation period for each cohort.

Description of Evaluation:

The results of the Model Classroom project will be externally evaluated by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), which will conduct a randomized controlled trial to measure the impact of Model Classrooms on student achievement and teacher instruction. The primary research questions are as follows: (1) What impact did the CLI Model Classroom treatment have on student achievement in early literacy? (2) What cumulative impact did providing multiple years of the CLI Model Classroom treatment have on student achievement in early literacy? (3) What impact did the CLI Model Classroom treatment have on teacher instruction in early literacy?

Project Evaluator:

Terry Salinger
202-403-5387

Organization:

American Institutes for Research


 
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Last Modified: 03/22/2011