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Maryland 2010 Validation Grant Abstracts


Johns Hopkins University

PR Award Number:


Project Title:

Validating the Talent Development-Diplomas Now Secondary School Turnaround Model (TD-DH)

Project Director:

Robert Balfanz

Amount of Award:


Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP4: Persistently Low-Performing Schools

List of Partners (with states for each):

School Districts
Chicago Public Schools (IL)
Detroit Public Schools (MI)
District of Columbia Public Schools (DC)
Los Angeles Unified School District (CA)
Miami-Dade Public Schools (FL)
New York City Department of Education (NY)
Northeast Independent School District (TX)
Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (CA)
Recovery School District (LA)
Richland County School District One (SC)
School District of Philadelphia (PA)
Seattle Public Schools (WA)
Southwest Independent School District (TX)
Whitehall City School District (OH)

City Year (MA)
Communities in Schools (VA)

Project Website:

Description of Project:

The Talent Development (TD) secondary program at Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with 14 school districts, City Year and Communities in Schools, will validate a whole-school reform and student support model designed to turn around Absolute Priority 4 schools with low graduation rates, and their feeder middle schools. These are the secondary schools that drive the nation's dropout crisis. TD meets Competitive Preference Priorities 6 and 7 by supporting special education students and English language learners and ensuring that students receive the support needed for college readiness, access and success.

The grant will (1) bring the grantee's most advised version of TD, known as the Talent Development-Diplomas Now Secondary School Turnaround Model (TD-DN) – designed to enable the successful turnaround, restart or transformation of the nation's lowest-performing schools – to 60 middle and high schools in 14 districts, serving 57,000 students; and (2) support an independent third-party randomized study by MDRC to estimate the impacts of TD-DN. TD-DN will provide the management, operations, external evaluation and sustainability required to serve students effectively. TD-DN has secured the full 20 percent match from the PepsiCo Foundation, as well as significant in-kind donations from other partners. The infrastructure and financial wherewithal is in place to scale the turnaround model beyond the schools involved in the study.

Using an early warning indicators system and tiered interventions provided by the partners, TD-DN envisions turning around high schools with graduation rates of 30 percent to 60 percent so that they will graduate at least 80 percent of their students and reduce by two-thirds the number of middle school students sent to high school off-track and behind grade level.

Description of Evaluation:

Contracting with independent, third-party evaluators MDRC and ICF, TD-DN will engage in a randomized, experimental study to estimate the impacts of the transformation model and show under what conditions this combination of reforms can enable high schools with low graduation rates to achieve at least an 80 percent graduation rate, and to reduce by two-thirds the number of middle school students sent to high school off-track or behind grade level. The study will match 40 TD-DN schools with 40 schools not using the model.

Project Evaluator:

William Corrin



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Last Modified: 05/19/2011