This evaluation report summarizes the evidence of the implementation and early impacts of the General Electric Foundation's (GEF) Demonstration Schools Initiative in the Erie Public School district (EPS) conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) during the 2012-2013 school year. The Demonstration Schools Initiative provided intensive support to four schools (two elementary, one middle, and one high) implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and English language arts. Concurrently during the 2012- 2013 school year, EPS also continued their implementation of another GEF-supported initiative -- the Coaching Initiative -- using a cadre of instructional coaches in mathematics, science, and ELA for the other schools in the district.
In both the Coaching and Demonstration School Initiatives, instructional coaches are key agents of change. Their function is to target and customize the support needed at the building, grade, and teacher levels to shift teachers' understanding and practice to align to the CCSS. For the Demonstration Schools Initiative, coaches also focused much of their time trying to develop professional learning communities (PLCs) within their schools.
This evaluation was designed to answer three overarching questions:
- Did teachers in the Demonstration Schools gain more knowledge of the CCSS as a result of their participation in the GEF-supported initiative?
- What were the impacts of the initiative for the teachers in the GEF- Foundation supported Demonstration Schools compared to the rest of the district?
- How did teachers perceive their respective coaches throughout the district?