A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Promising Initiatives to Improve Education in Your Community - February 2000

Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program

The Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration program is helping raise student achievement by assisting public schools across the country to implement effective, comprehensive school reforms that are based on reliable research and effective practices, and that include an emphasis on basic academics and parental involvement.

This year, in addition to continued funding for participating schools, approximately 1,200 new schools will be assisted from a $75 million increase in program funds.

The Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration program provides funding to states, which in turn make competitive discretionary grants to local school districts on behalf of individual schools that are ready to adopt comprehensive reforms. Comprehensive school reform focuses on making coherent schoolwide improvements that affect virtually all aspects of a school's operations, rather than using a piecemeal, fragmented approach to reform. The Comprehensive School Reform program assists schools in improving their entire educational operation through, for example, curriculum changes, sustained professional development and enhanced involvement of parents. Schools are encouraged to consider using successful, externally developed models in their comprehensive school reform efforts—research-based models that have evidence of effectiveness. Through the support of this start-up funding, participating schools are working to integrate curriculum and instruction, student assessment, professional development for teachers and staff, parental involvement and school management—all in a unified effort to help children achieve high standards.

Overview of Current Grantees

Funds Available in Fiscal Year 2000

Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program Contact Information:
Call (202) 205-4292
Program Web address: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/compreform
Program E-mail address: compreform@ed.gov
Database of Current CSRD grantees: http://www.sedl.org/csrd/awards.html


McCoy Elementary School, Kansas City, Missouri

McCoy Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri, is using a start-up grant from the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program to strengthen teaching and learning across the entire school, revolving around research-based, innovative literacy approaches. Building on school governance work the school already had underway with the Comer School Development Program, McCoy is using its Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration grant to partner with the Institute for Learning, a non-profit organization based at the University of Pittsburgh. Faculty meetings have been replaced with staff study groups addressing instructional issues and professional development has included observing and discussing effective teaching strategies with teachers at a New York City school using the Institute's literacy approach. Rubrics are used to assess both teacher practice and student progress. A new enthusiasm for reading and a love of books is evident throughout the entire school, from the lunchroom to the library to the classroom. The percentage of third graders scoring at or above the proficient level on the Missouri Assessment Program has increased from 9 percent to 27 percent, surpassing the district average. At McCoy Elementary School, a true learning community has been created.

Omaha Nation Public School, Macy, Nebraska

At the Omaha Nation Public School, a high-poverty K-12 school serving a predominantly Native American population in rural Macy, Nebraska, students in grades 8-12 are retracing the Buffalo Trail. In preparation, high school students conducted statistical studies of regional plant life by surveying local lands and generating and using computer spreadsheets. The school, which operates a Title I schoolwide program, is using a Comprehensive School Reform grant in combination with other federal, state, and local funds to implement an entire-school reform effort that includes Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, a reform model that features interdisciplinary curricula, cooperative learning, on-going assessment of student work, and team teaching. In the elementary grades, teachers are in their second year of implementing the Success for All program, which emphasizes early reading, intensive professional development in reading instruction, and family involvement. Through these efforts, teachers and school staff in grades K-12 are engaged in ongoing professional development and collaboration to improve teaching and learning throughout the school.

Students in the elementary grades, most of whom were reading below grade level, have shown significant gains in reading achievement, and, increasingly, families are reading with their children at home. Furthermore, while the school is still in the early stages of its reform effort, there has been a marked improvement in school climate, especially in the upper grades. Through the dedication of teachers and school staff, the expert assistance of its external partners, and the involvement of parents and the community, the Omaha Nation Public School is strengthening its curriculum and instruction to ensure that students learn the academic skills needed for success in the 21st century.

Delaware Academy, Syracuse, New York

The Delaware Academy, an elementary school in Syracuse, New York, was faced with the challenge of raising the reading levels of all its students. A high-poverty school, the Delaware Academy has a diverse student population, including a large percentage of limited English proficient Latino students. The school designed a comprehensive restructuring program that strengthens student learning, teaching and school management. The foundation of this improvement effort is the implementation of the Success for All program, a comprehensive reform model, which was adopted with overwhelming staff support. The teaching staff received extensive professional development in the effective instructional practices of Success For All and the district provided an on-site facilitator to assist the school in implementing the program. Family involvement is an important support to in-school learning. Parents are expected to read with their children each night, and understand the direct role they play in the success of their children. Using Success for All's eight-week assessments, results were quickly apparent. Students, including English Language Learners, have met and exceeded state standards. The school has supported these efforts through a grant from the Comprehensive School Reform program, which has acted as a catalyst for the school to coordinate funds from other sources including Title I schoolwide program funds, state and local funds, and considerable community support.


For more information on related publications please visit http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/compreform/resource.html


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