Comprehensive School Reform Quality Initiatives

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2005 - Abstracts

Category 1

The Education Alliance at Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
First-year Funding: $829,152

The Education Alliance at Brown University, partnering with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, will develop and implement a CSR Support and Capacity Building Program which will provide support and assistance to State education agencies (SEAs), local education agencies (LEAs), and schools in the use of systematic and data-based decision-making tools for the development of comprehensive school reform programs, including the selection of externally based reform providers. The CSR Support and Capacity Building Program will provide support to State education agencies across a 15 State region (New England, the East Coast, and Puerto Rico) and to a targeted number of districts within this region with high percentages of English language learners (ELLs).

The Education Alliance will work with all SEAs and targeted LEAs to provide Awareness and Planning Workshops to CSR eligible and identified schools to assist schools in the use of decision-making processes leading to the appropriate selection of an externally developed reform program or set of strategies. The Education Alliance will also provide Leadership Capacity Building support to a limited number of SEAs and a target set of LEAs to help them with coordination and alignment among different programs so that they can effectively help schools make informed decisions, leverage program resources, and ultimately improve student achievement. Also, the Education Alliance will work with the targeted districts to co-develop a set of CSR/ELL planning and decision-making tools that attend to the needs of ELLs.

Specific Goals of the Project:

  1. Provide direct technical assistance and support to SEAs, targeted LEAs, and identified schools based on the level and needs of the client.
  2. Develop, field-test, and disseminate new tools and resources such as targeted workshop modules, CSR model analysis, and additional resources that contribute to alignment in planning and decision-making processes.
  3. Incorporate evaluation activities designed to inform the progress and development of the overall project as well as to assess progress toward meeting required performance indicators.

Evaluation Plan:


The Education Alliance will undertake formative and outcome project evaluations for each task using appropriate data analysis tools and processes. The primary data collection tools will be participant focus groups and surveys. Three evaluation reports will be issued the first year: evaluation of Awareness and Planning Workshops, preliminary analysis of Leadership Capacity Building efforts, and the annual performance report addressing the performance indicators.

Contact Information:

Deborah Collins
Director, Research and Evaluation
222 Richmond Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
(401) 274-9548

Category 2

National Institute for Direct Instruction
Eugene, Oregon
Funding: $2,993,723

The National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) will build capacity to meet the needs of traditionally underserved students, especially students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency. The work will be centered in several States and territories including: American Samoa, California, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, and in select schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Two providers of the Direct Instruction (DI) model, NIFDI and the Center for Applied Research in Education (CARE), will collaborate with the University of Georgia and the University of Florida in the development and testing of specific strategies for successfully bringing students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency to State standards.

The objectives include aligning with State standards in 12 States, an improved progress monitoring system, two new instructional programs, specific research studies, and a comprehensive, longitudinal research study to determine whether the deleterious effects of uncontrollable within-student characteristics and environmental factors can be overcome with the highly effective and replicable DI model.

Specific Goals of the Project:

  1. Improve the implementation of DI programs in specific States to meet the needs of specific subgroups of students, especially students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency.
  2. Evaluate the importance of DI program design in enabling students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency to achieve important academic goals.
  3. Evaluate the importance of teacher training variables in enabling student with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency to achieve important academic goals.

Evaluation Plan:

The evaluation plan includes outcome measures to assess the impact of the project and benchmarks to monitor progress toward achieving the specific project objectives. The research design will focus on the following questions:

  1. Does teachers' greater fidelity to the model have a greater effect on student achievement?
  2. How do differences in teacher implementation strategies, both type and amount, impact student achievement?
  3. Can specific DI leadership training for principals improve student outcomes?

Contact Information:

Bonnie Grossen, Project Director
National Institute for Direct Instruction
536 NE 58th Ave
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
(541) 513-7816

New Mexico Education Network Center
Collaborative School Improvement
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Funding: $2,947,944

The New Mexico Education Network Center (NMENC), a regional center for the Coalition of Essential Schools, will operate a Collaborative School Improvement model (CSI) to help schools with high percentages of Hispanic and Native American students targeted for improvement or correction action. CSI will build the capacity of rural schools to integrate a framework for collective inquiry to address barriers to success for Limited English Proficient (LEP) students not meeting adequate yearly progress goals and develop appropriate research-based responses.

Initial efforts will target 10 rural school districts of K-8 schools with high dimensions of poverty located along the Mexican border in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, and Albuquerque metro schools with similar dimensions of student failure. Partners include the Arizona Department of Education's Title I Program, the El Paso Independent School District, the University of New Mexico, and New Mexico's Secretary of Public Education.

CSI will utilize a four-step framework to develop reflection building Professional Learning Communities to focus reform.

Specific Goals of the Project:

  1. Develop a model to help schools create benchmarked practices and protocols to help them meet student improvement targets.
  2. Improve the capacity of principals to create and manage an organizations context for collaborative work to improve instructional quality in their schools.
  3. Immerse teachers in reflective practices to ensure that all students reach proficiency in literacy and math.
  4. Facilitate the development of a shared set of beliefs and expectations that all students can and will succeed.

Evaluation Plan:

Evaluation of the CSI Program will focus both on the processes utilized by the team and outcomes in schools. Qualitative and quantitative methods will track the delivery of services in the schools including material selection, extent to which needs are met, and the strategies used for data analysis. School outcomes will be measured by each State's accountability system at the individual, class, grade, and school level. A baseline will be established at the beginning of the project and the annual data will demonstrate growth trends over three years. Formal reports will be issued on annual basis.

Contact Information:

Mary Lou Arguelles Anderson
Director of Collaborate School Improvement
PO Box 25285
Albuquerque, NM 87125
(505) 247-1052

Success for All
Baltimore, Maryland
Funding: $2,883,250

Success for All will create a technology-based design for small-group supplementary instruction in Success for All schools, for use in special education resource rooms, English as a second language (ESL) programs, and supplementary reading programs for grade 1-5 students. The design will build on the Alphie's Alley computer-based learning environment and the Reading Reels embedded multimedia materials. It will involve cooperative learning activities with and without computers and will provide content, assessments, and assistive technology tailored to each child's needs. Information on diagnostic assessments, student progress, and effective strategies will be shared between core and supplementary teachers.

Specific Goals of the Project:

  1. Develop a computer-assisted, small-group supplementary instruction model and other enhancements to the Success for All reading program to increase the reading achievement of students in special education, English language learners, and other at-risk students in grades 1-5.
  2. Use computer, DVD, and non-technology tools to completely align classroom, small group, and one-to-one instruction around the needs of at-risk children.
  3. Carry out a large-scale randomized evaluation in 40 rural and urban schools to determine the impact of the technology-based model on reading achievement.
  4. Increase the achievement of students in special education, English language learners, and other at-risk students, as measured by individually administered reading measures.
  5. Reduce placement of at-risk students in special education, particularly in the category of learning disabilities.
  6. Increase the number of schools meeting adequate yearly progress goals for all subgroups, especially students in special education and English language learners.
  7. Increase the scale-up of Success for All by demonstrating the program's ability to help schools meet adequate yearly progress goals for all subgroups, including students in special education and English language learners, in rural and urban schools.

Evaluation Plan:

A large-scale randomized experiment will evaluate outcomes of the small-group supplementary model. Forty rural and urban schools using Success for All will be randomly assigned to use the new supplementary model or continue current practices. Effects on achievement, assignments to special education, and other outcomes will be compared using hierarchical linear modeling. The small-group supplementary model will be disseminated among the 1,300 current Success for All schools nationally and will be useable in non-Success for All schools.

Contact Information:

Nancy Madden, Project Director
Success for All Foundation
200 W. Towsontown Boulevard
Baltimore, Maryland 21204
(410) 616-2330

Yale University
School Development Program
New Haven, Connecticut
Funding: $2,997,791

The School Development Program (SDP) at the Yale Child Study Center will work with school districts in rural and isolated areas in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Missouri and Puerto Rico to improve school organization, the quality of instruction, and curriculum content, along with support for student, staff and parent development all leading to improved student outcomes.

The SDP will a) expand systematic work to serve more districts that have schools with long-standing and seemingly intractable academic problems; b) expand, adapt and field-test instructional strategies to promote broader use in districts with limited resources; and c) establish child and adolescent development as the foundation for school restructuring, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

SDP will provide professional development and implementation support adapted to the unique characteristics and needs of each site. The project will expand, adapt and field-test strategies for teaching, student learning, and personal development in the following areas: Essentials of Literacy to improve reading achievement for struggling elementary readers, Teachers Helping Teachers, and the Balanced Curriculum to improve teacher professionalism and competency.

Specific Goals of the Project:

  1. Expand capacity of SDP to effectively and appropriately serve districts with rural and underserved populations, across States.
  2. Enhance the teaching and learning components of the SDP to better meet the needs of students who have been traditionally underserved.
  3. Strengthen the SDP's capacity to work with a larger number of schools in the application of the knowledge of cognitive and personal development to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and other areas of school functioning.

Evaluation Plan:

SDP will institute a comprehensive set of program evaluations and research studies that include contextual analysis, needs assessment, as well as formative and summative components. Yearly summative evaluations will be conducted to examine the extent to which annual goals and objectives have been met. At the end of the project, an independent evaluator will conduct a summative evaluation of the merits and impact of the project. Research studies include: quasi-experimental studies using a non-equivalent pretest-posttest control group design to assess the effectiveness of the Teachers Helping Teachers program and the Balanced Curriculum and an experimental study using a pretest-posttest control group design to assess the effectiveness of the Essentials of Literacy program.

Contact Information:

James Comer, Project Director
PO Box 207900
New Haven, Connecticut 06510
(203) 737-1006

2003 - Abstracts

Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) Quality Initiatives Program
American Institutes for Research
Washington, DC
First-year funding: $1,378,140

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) will operate a Comprehensive School Reform Quality (CSRQ) Center that provides tools and technical assistance to support urban and rural educators and education decision-makers in choosing the highest quality comprehensive school reform models and approaches to meet locally defined needs. AIR will conduct a three-year, nationwide initiative to produce and support the application of evidence reviews on the effectiveness and quality of a large number of CSR programs. These reviews will be based on rigorous standards that have been developed with the help of an advisory group composed of leading educators, researchers, and technical assistance providers.

In the first year of the grant, the CSRQ Center will launch a Website, create a network of CSR experts to share information on the quality of CSR models (the CSRQ network), and develop two reports on the quality of CSR programs and reform approaches, one focusing on elementary schools and a second on middle and high schools. Additionally, the CSRQ Center will develop a database, accessible through the Website, allowing users to conduct side-by-side comparisons of CSR models.

In the second year of the grant, the CSRQ Center will disseminate the findings of the reports on the quality of CSR models through the Website and the CSRQ network, as well as through national meetings and presentations. Also, the CSRQ Center will issue a report on the quality of Education Management Organizations (EMOs) and develop a Web-based registry for CSR programs that provides basic information to the public on all replicable models that are interested in being listed.

Final-year activities include updating reports on the quality of models in elementary, middle, and high schools, and evaluating CSRQ Center services and products.



Steve Fleischman
Principal Research Scientist, American Institute for Research
Director, CSRQ

Jennifer A. Harmon
Research Analyst, American Institutes for Research
Deputy Director, CSRQ Center

Mailing Address:

CSRQ Center
American Institutes for Research
C/O Jennifer Harmon
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007

Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) Quality Initiatives Program
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD
First-year funding: $3,126,705

Johns Hopkins University and two other organizations, the Institute for Research and Reform in Education (IRRE) and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), have joined together to form a consortium on secondary school comprehensive reform. The comprehensive school reform models that will be the focus of this work include First Things First, sponsored by IRRE; High Schools That Work, a part of the SREB; and Talent Development, at the Johns Hopkins University.

This consortium will serve low-performing middle and high schools and focus on five activities, including:

  1. transitions;
  2. content literacy;
  3. blended instruction;
  4. leadership; and
  5. strengthening consortium capacity.

The Transition activities focus on improving the movement of students between middle and high school and between high school and postsecondary education. These activities will strengthen student awareness of high school requirements and expectations, promote good attendance and classwork, develop the social skills and study skills needed for advanced learning tasks, and narrow the academic gap for students in the areas of reading comprehension and math reasoning.

The Content Literacy activities, in the subjects of history, math, and science, provide teachers with literacy assignments to accompany subject matter materials. English teachers will cover text recognition and reading strategies for different content course materials. In addition, content teachers themselves will receive extensive literacy training support.

The Blended Instruction activities also integrate career applications with core academic subjects, such as English and math. The Consortium will develop 60 new blended learning activities within a matrix of 4 career clusters.

The Leadership activities will build the capacity of district and site teams to improve and sustain comprehensive school reform. Workshops and networks will be established on selected topics of organizational and instructional change.

The Strengthening Consortium Capacity activities allow the three models that are participating in this consortium to provide intensive services to their most needy secondary schools, prepare expert teams to scale up in additional major districts, and sustain reforms after supplemental funding declines.


James McPartland
Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street

Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) Quality Initiatives Program
Co-nect Consortium
Cambridge, MA
First-year funding: $2,522,155

The Co-nect Consortium is a nationwide response to building capacity for continuous improvement in this changed landscape. We have set for ourselves the accomplishment of three general objectives:

  1. Building the capacity of CSR teams to target professional development to the specific and demonstrable needs of students and teachers in the schools and districts with which we work
  2. Building organizational and technological bridges between school-based reform and district-wide reform efforts.
  3. Scientifically-based research into the efficacy of the work

To achieve these objectives, the Consortium will develop and implement a "decision-support tool" coupled with professional development. The tool will enable CSR teams, schools, districts and states to effect timely and coherent changes in services provided to schools. It will enable teachers, principals, district personnel and professional development providers to make use of four kinds and sources of data:

  1. Student achievement data;
  2. professional development data;
  3. instructional practice data; and
  4. perceptual data.

This integrated set of data will allow end users to raise questions and make timely decisions about instruction and professional development. Employing web services technology, the technology infrastructure in which the data will be housed is designed to work with the any of the major databases a school, district or state might employ. CSR teams will learn how to better target the services they make available to schools and districts through a series of trainings on data-informed decision-making. This training will be provided to CSR teams working with the project schools and districts.

The Consortium will concentrate its initial efforts in elementary schools and focus attention on literacy practices through the use of "literacy logs." In Year 2 of the grant, the Consortium will expand its efforts to other subject areas and grade levels. It will seek and incorporate the advice of a select group of national organizations to better understand best practices in integrating school and district reforms. The results will be evaluated through a research evaluation design developed by the Consortium's university partners.

The Co-nect Consortium includes:

  • Five CSR teams: Atlas Communities, Accelerated Schools, Co-nect, Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound and Modern Red SchoolHouse;
  • Thirty treatment and thirty control schools in approximately thirteen districts and eight states where implementation efforts will occur;
  • TetraData, a K-12 data warehouse, data analysis, assessment and data reporting company who will be working with the Consortium on the development of the Decision Support Tool;
  • The University of Michigan and the University of Memphis who will be providing formative and summative evaluation;
  • TERC and Education for the Future Foundation who will provide the Consortium with data-informed decision making training especially designed for the project;
  • A National Advisory Board (including groups such as the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Staff Development Council and others) to provide guidance on the development and dissemination of "best practices" that result from the national Co-nect Consortium effort.




Bruce Goldberg, Project Director
The Co-nect Consortium
625 Mt. Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 995-3147

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Last Modified: 02/22/2006