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During 2018 and 2019, a working group of district and charter school leaders and other education stakeholders from urban and rural locations across the state met to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of principals leading Massachusetts schools. The Barr Foundation engaged Attuned Education Partners to facilitate this group and lead implementation of the learning agendas developed by its members. Together, they prioritized key challenges and identified solutions that research suggests are most likely to strengthen principalship and drive better outcomes for students—especially the students of color and English learners that the state is currently serving least well. This summary highlights their findings and insights. See the full report for more on the challenges and solutions—plus case studies and recommended action steps for state policymakers, school system leaders, principal preparation program providers, and funders.
The NBDCK (National Book Development Council of Kenya) project aims to raise reading outcomes by offering extracurricular reading opportunities to public school children in the Kisii area of western Kenya. This is a micro level incremental innovation which originally included comparison to a control group, but this is no longer the case. Grade six students ('mentors') are trained to read with grade 1 and 2 students ('buddies') during informal small group sessions supervised by teachers trained to this end.
This research, driven in partnership by the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), looks at the reasons why some national governments invest in supporting outward mobility scholarship programmes. The study aims to improve our understanding of why governments sponsor these programmes; how they are designed, administered, and funded; who participates and where they study; and what impact the programmes are having.
The report contains detailed case studies of 11 countries and their approaches to national outward mobility scholarship programmes, with comparative case study analysis and recommendations for countries looking to establish or develop outward mobility scholarship programmes.
American Insitutes for Research;
This report shares findings from an impact evaluation of the GMS program and reflects on findings from implementation evaluations conducted on the program since its inaugural year. It discusses the extent to which the program has made an impact, and offers concluding thoughts on how the Foundation can maximize its investment in the higher education arena. A central argument of this report is that philanthropic activities like the GMS program can indeed play a crucial role in improving academic outcomes for high-achieving, disadvantaged students for at least three reasons.
Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center;
On April 26, 2019, CDP and Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project (Flanbwayan) released "Left Out: The struggle of newly arrived Haitian immigrant youth enrolling in New York City high schools through Family Welcome Centers." When immigrant high school students arrive in New York City, their high school admissions are processed through Family Welcome Centers, offices set up by the Department of Education to provide transition services for immigrants and others who are new to New York City. This process is fraught with challenges, and often gives young people little, if any, choice in what school they attend. The report, based on over 150 surveys conducted by Flanbwayan, details the experiences of Haitian youth who enrolled in high schools though Family Welcome Centers. The research reveals significant barriers to education for Haitian immigrant students in New York City. Findings from the report include that Haitian students enrolling in school through Family Welcome Centers are not being asked about their academic preferences and interests, are being placed in schools that are incompatible with their needs and are faced with a lack of information to make informed choices about their academic futures. The report offers policy recommendations and reforms to address the systemic challenges faced by immigrant students enrolling through Family Welcome Centers.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
This project examines the politics motivating the expansion and institutionalization of the fields of foreign language study and American studies in the United States and internationally during the Cold War. Both fields were considered to be ancillary to the United States's assumption of an international leadership role in the postwar years, and were mobilized as front lines in the Cold War. American studies faculty taught other scholars, students, and members of the public about the nation so that they would, in turn, convey their knowledge about it to colleagues and compatriots. Language scholars, in turn, championed foreign language study as a means of resisting political isolationism. By demonstrating the myriad ways that scholars in these fields used their teaching, scholarship, and administrative efforts to complement official U.S. efforts to win "hearts and minds" around the world, I reveal how these fields functioned, in effect, as vehicles for soft power from the 1950s through the 1970s, even as they expanded the practical reach and prominence of the humanities both domestically and abroad.
What Are We Doing to Middle School English Learners: Research ReportEXECUTIVE SUMMARYMiddle school students who are English Learners (ELs) quickly run out of time to develop the academic uses of English and the critical skills that will enable them to succeed in the 21st century. What are schools doing during these crucial years to promote ELs' accelerated access to academic language and grade-level, standards-based instruction? How will these students catch up and be able to compete in high school, in college, and on the job market? This study concludes that middle school programs for English Learners in California are failing students and limiting their futures in profound ways. Conducted by researchers in the Quality Teaching for English Learners program at WestEd, the study was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Interviews with 13 school districts with the highest concentration of English Learners in the state and 64 middle schools in those districts found incoherent EL programs across districts and from school to school within districts. The use of below-grade-level materials was found to be widespread in English Learner programs, remediation rather than acceleration was common, and some schools purposely decelerated students' progress through already below-grade-level materials. On California's five-level assessment of English Learners, the California English Language Development Test (CELDT), most students (56 percent) do not progress a single level in a year's time and some even regress (California Department of Education, 2008). School districts in the study identified inadequate teacher preparation for working with English Learners as the primary challenge to these students' academic success. Yet most districts did not provide professional development that would even begin to address teachers' needs. The study also found that schools did not have mechanisms for addressing challenges that they identified. Schools identified teachers of ELs' and EL students' lack of motivation as primary challenges, yet, only six schools reported a focus on student engagement as a support they offered; none reported having a focus on teacher engagement and motivation. Similarly, lack of parental involvement was identified as a major challenge by school interviewees, but only two schools reported having a focus on involving parents. Case studies were developed from classroom observations and interviews in five middle schools that were selected by triangulation of student data (substantially higher than average EL performance on standardized measures), survey responses, and district nominations. These case studies contextualize the study findings— the major challenges schools still face and the promising practices that were found. Practices in one school especially were notable, a small, autonomous district school organized with a focus on targeted grade-level support for students, concerted outreach to parents, and ongoing collegial professional development for teachers.
This report examines the assessment and course placement practices across California's community colleges for incoming students and recommends strategies for overall improvement.
Community colleges have processes in place for new student orientation, counseling, assessment, and course placement. Nonetheless, students, by and large, view their matriculation process as a one-shot deal—an isolated event that happens one day with minimal to no advance information.
Yet the assessment and placement process involves very high stakes for students and can negatively impact their future success. Course placement affects not only how quickly students can earn a certificate or degree—a factor affecting the cost of their program of study—but also their likelihood of completing a credential at all.
Drawing from quantitative analyses and interviews with counselors and students, the authors uncover substantial variance in assessment and placement policies statewide, as well as confusion among both students and counselors about the policies. The authors provide recommendations directed toward making assessment and placement part of overall diagnostic and learning processes that span high school and college.
Meaningful participation among students occurs when contributions to the school and classroom environment are facilitated, rather than directed, by adults; and when learning is connected to students' personal interests and applicable to their lives. Meaningful participation at school cultivates students' autonomy; decision-making and leadership skills; and personal talents and strengths.
This What Works Brief, cowritten by Meagan O'Malley, former Research Associate at WestEd, provides teachers and other school staff strategies for supporting students' meaningful participation in school, including:
Volunteering to be the advisor to a student-led initiative or interest group
Facilitating an after-school, extracurricular project in a particular content area
Having students collaborate to set class and school norms, as well as learning goals
Adding student-selected, project-based assignments to curricula
Note: Developed by the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) Technical Assistance Center, What Works Briefs summarize state-of-the-art practices, strategies, and programs for improving school climate.
Based on the most current research, each of the ten briefs provides practical recommendations for school staff, parents, and community members and can be used separately to target specific issues (e.g., family engagement) or grouped together to address more complex, systemwide issues. What Works Briefs are organized into three sections:
Quick Wins: What Teachers and Adults Can Do Right Now
Universal Supports: Schoolwide Policies, Practices, and Programs
Targeted Supports: Intensive Supports for At-Risk Youth
One of the benefits to California schools participating in CalSCHLS is that a district/school can compare local results with those from other districts/schools and to county and state norms. Such comparisons can help in interpreting trends and guiding program decisions by placing the results in a larger context of what is happening elsewhere. By participating you also contribute to a statewide dataset that can be analyzed to provide insight into broad factors affecting student success that benefit all schools.
Standard district student and staff reports are produced in less than three weeks for 90% of districts when the survey is administered online. When the survey is administered in paper-and-pencil format, reports are produced in less than seven weeks after print answer forms are received at WestEd. Reports based on custom survey configurations can take longer. District reports are publicly posted to this website by the end of November of the year following administration. Parent survey results are not posted on the website.
Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd;
Produced by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd, this 13th annual report on the California teacher workforce takes an extended look at principals in our Golden State and their vital role in supporting teacher effectiveness.
The Center provides new information on budget cutbacks to teacher professional development, declining enrollment in preparation programs, drops in the rate of newly credentialed teachers, and escalating educator retirements.
The report also looks at how California's school principals perceive their role and how well-prepared they are in helping their teachers become more effective educators.
In addition to research and analyses, this report offers useful recommendations. How can we improve the state's system of teacher development and evaluation in ways that strengthen the quality of classroom practice? How can we help educators prepare for the challenge of implementing the Common Core State Standards?
Rockefeller Archive Center;
Paul Monroe was a pioneering leader of international and comparative education. His greatest contribution to comparative education came from his leadership of the International Institute of Teachers College during 1923-1938, where he led and practiced the teaching and research on comparative education with dynamic international outreach and engagement in investigation of educational systems and conditions of many countries. Monroe played a key role in shaping the development of comparative education as an academic field during its formative years. He and his colleagues trained the first generation of comparative educators in North America and elsewhere. Paul Monroe was also significantly involved in the modernization of education in countries of Asia and the Middle East, when the influence of the United States expanded in these regions primarily via the work of private institutions in the first half of the 20th century.