Highlights of progress through November 2010
Strategy 1: Early School Success
- Nine implementation grants were awarded, with participation from each of the initiative’s four target districts. Each site has prioritized its first-year activities according to an assessment of local needs and opportunities. Sites have hired additional staff, planned joint trainings, and communicated with families about ways to support a child’s learning.
- These teams (with elementary school, pre-K program, service provider, and parent representation) have met to determine local needs and created action plans to implement a PreK-3 program.
- Research is being conducted focusing on school readiness by kindergarten students, including teacher observations, prior experiences in out-of-school learning, parent attitudes and behaviors, and how expectations by kindergarten teachers, preschool teachers, and parents affect school readiness.
- Community-based preschool partners and elementary kindergarten teachers have begun shared trainings using the Guided Language Acquisition and Development (GLAD) approach, which is a set of best practice strategies and models for promoting English language acquisition.
- Head Start is developing a document which will show how the state preschool standards align with the kindergarten standards. PreK and K teachers will use this as a guide to forge common expectations for students, and to ensure that needed skills are acquired and supported in this critical transition stage.
To measure the effectiveness of this strategy, MCF commissioned a study about the readiness of students to enter kindergarten in order to inform ongoing efforts to ensure smooth transitions from preschool to kindergarten.
Strategy 2: Accessing Post-Secondary Education
- We are in the early stages of integrating our grantees and target districts into the ConnectEDU student tracking system. ConnectEDU maintains a widely-used data platform system that has the ability to track student data for funders and institutions, while also providing user-friendly online navigation and college application tools for school counselors, youth workers, students, and parents. Progress is being made by ConnectEDU to ascertain baseline data from our grantees. Each grantee will report on their respective target number of middle and/or high school students who receive after-school and/or summer academic support, personal readiness, and college awareness support as well as the variety and quality of services they receive.
- The college access network (MarinCAN) has transitioned to a project of CVNL, with a work plan, steering committee, and a paid staff coordinator. Grantees are serving more students than they did in the past due to funding provided under this strategy.
Strategy 3: Improving Low-performing Schools
- Schools involved in this effort have agreed to track increases on standardized test scores for target students, teacher certifications, and staff trainings; decreases in student discipline referrals and suspensions; teacher usage of student data systems for monitoring; and parent engagement. Agreements are also in place with districts to track progress in closing the achievement gap for target students, including annual school level API point increases for target populations and API scores for target schools.
- Teachers at Loma Verde Elementary School are developing more individualized academic interventions for targeted students. Similarly, strong pilot efforts involving data-driven instruction in English and science at Davidson have broadened to all grade levels in English, math, science, and social studies.
- A newly hired social worker at Martin Luther King Academy staffs a Parent Center at the school and has initiated a year-long series of workshops designed to engage parents in their children’s education.