Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis

Education and Literacy;Human Rights and Civil Liberties;Race and Ethnicity

Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis

Examines the rise in school suspensions; their effectiveness; the widening racial/ethnic discipline gap, especially for African-American boys; and the impact of suspensions on academic success and likelihood of incarceration. Makes policy recommendations.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

AfterZones: Creating a Citywide System to Support and Sustain High-Quality After-School Programs

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

AfterZones: Creating a Citywide System to Support and Sustain High-Quality After-School Programs

This report presents P/PV's analysis of the implementation of the AfterZone initiative -- a citywide system-building effort in Providence, RI, that aims to provide high-quality, accessible out-of-school-time services to middle school youth. The AfterZone model is unique in that it is built on a network of "neighborhood campuses" (each campus includes multiple sites in a geographically clustered area), providing participants with the opportunity to travel to programs located outside of the main program facility, the middle school. Incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research findings, the report examines the implementation of the initiative's unique features and documents its operations. It also explores the challenges and successes of Providence's system-building efforts as well as the strategies used to sustain them. A final publication, which will focus on how youth participated in AfterZone programs and the relationship of various patterns of participation to youth outcomes, will be released in 2011.

Geographic Focus:

Testing the Impact of Higher Achievement's Year-Round Out-of-School-Time Program on Academic Outcomes

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Testing the Impact of Higher Achievement's Year-Round Out-of-School-Time Program on Academic Outcomes

Presents findings from a multiyear evaluation of an intensive long-term OST program's effect on low-income middle school students' academic performance, attitudes, and behaviors. Outlines implications for financially strapped districts.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland, North America-United States (Southern)-Virginia

Learning from Turnaround Middle Schools: Strategies for Success

Education and Literacy

Learning from Turnaround Middle Schools: Strategies for Success

In New York City and around the nation, there is intense interest in the question of what it takes to turn around a low-performing school. This study focused on two sets of initially low-performing NYC middle schools. The first group (the "turnaround schools") exhibited significant growth in academic performance between 2006 and 2010, while the other group saw minimal growth or remained stagnant during the same period. To gain an understanding of how the turnaround schools improved, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with principals and focus groups with teachers in both sets of schools.

This report presents a rich picture of the conditions and strategies that enabled the turnaround schools to boost student achievement. Specifically, it identifies three interrelated "essential conditions" that were largely principal driven: aligning needs with goals, creating a positive work environment, and addressing student discipline and safety. These essential conditions, in turn, set the stage for implementing specific strategies to improve teaching and learning: developing teachers internally, creating small learning communities, targeting student sub-populations, and using data to inform instruction. The report also describes several ongoing challenges faced by all the schools. Finally, it draws on the study's findings to make recommendations for improving the effectiveness of middle schools here in New York City and around the country. The study is part of an ongoing focus on the middle grades for the Research Alliance.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City

Lessons in Reading Reform: Finding What Works

Education and Literacy

Lessons in Reading Reform: Finding What Works

Evaluates elements of reforms designed to improve reading scores among students identified as lagging behind, including extended-length English classes and school years. Considers the role of teachers' experience, lessons learned, and policy implications.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California, North America-United States (Western)-California-San Diego County-San Diego

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