Weekend Open Comments (SIG, UPK)

Weekend Open Comments (SIG, UPK)

Here are two stories to get the weekend going — though feel free to comment on anything you want — about the benefits of preschool (focusing on Educare) and the impact of SIG (which has funded/changed a bunch of CPS schools).  Check it out, let us know what’s on your mind.

The first is a Hechinger Report story about Educare — ” an extended-day, year-round preschool that accepts children as young as six weeks and keeps them until kindergarten.” — and the Obama universal preschool proposal (aka UPK) that might be of interest.  Does quality PK make a difference that you can see in your schools and classrooms, or not so much?

The other is the release of new information on the federal SIG program used to help turn around schools — to mixed results.  See Huffington Post here and Washington Post here.  USDE press release below. Previous posts on SIG:  Harper, SIG, & EmanuelPushing Smaller Schools On Bogan & OthersWhat’s New At Juarez?Comparing Turnaround Coverage [Tilden], What I Learned From Sharkey, Fraynd, Et Al. Turnaround Money From Washington.

USDE press release:

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202
November 21, 2013
Contact: Press Office
U.S. Department of Education Releases School Improvement Grant (SIG) Data Analysis
Improvement Continues for Disadvantaged Students and Communities
The U.S. Department of Education announced today the release of 2011-12 school and district-level state assessment data and a brief analysis of School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools. The Department’s analysis compares the average proficiency rates of SIGschools in the 2011-12 school year to rates in the year prior to receiving grants.
The SIG program is a key component of the Department’s strategy for helping states and districts turn around the nation’s lowest-performing schools. Under the Obama Administration, more than 1,500 schools have implemented comprehensive turnaround interventions aimed at drastically improving achievement. Cohort 1 schools began implementing SIG turnarounds during the 2010-11 school year and Cohort 2 schools began implementing turnarounds during the 2011-12 school year.
The brief analysis that accompanies today’s announcement shows continued progress across various SIG models, school levels and locations. Despite historically difficult learning environments, SIG schools have increased proficiency rates in math and reading, demonstrating the importance of targeted investments over time.
“The progress, while incremental, indicates that local leaders and educators are leading the way to raising standards and achievement and driving innovation over the next few years,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “To build on this success in our disadvantaged communities, we must expand the most effective practices to accelerate progress for students and prepare them for success in college and careers.”
Additional Highlights from the SIG Data release:
SIG schools are making gains – on average, proficiency rates have increased in both math and reading. Because of changes in state assessments and school structure, not all SIGschools could be compared over multiple years of data. For this reason, the analysis includes roughly half of SIG Cohort 1 schools and about two-thirds of Cohort 2 schools.
  • On average, Cohort 1 schools continued to improve in the second year of receiving SIG funds
  • When compared to all schools nationally, SIG Cohort 1 schools demonstrate larger increases in average proficiency rates in both math and reading, while Cohort 2 schools demonstrate larger increases in math, but similar increases in reading
  • On average, Cohort 1 and 2 SIG schools show gains across all SIG models
  • On average, Cohort 1 SIG schools show gains across all school levels, while Cohort 2 schools show small gains for some school levels, but not for others
  • On average, Cohort 1 SIG schools show gains across all localities, while Cohort 2 schools show small gains for some localities, but remain constant for others
  • On average, Cohort 1 and 2 SIG schools show larger gains in math than in reading
Examples from schools:
  • At Oak Hill Elementary School, in a high poverty area of Guilford County, N.C., the school day was extended by 45 minutes and the school year by 10 days to give struggling students extra one-on-one time with teachers. Kindergarten teachers conduct home visits, and other teachers touch base with parents monthly to talk about their child’s progress.  These efforts, among others, worked: student performance scores in math rose from 59 percent in SY 2009-10 to 86 percent in SY2011-12. In reading, scores rose from 34 to 50 percent, and science skyrocketed from 34 percent to 85 percent. The school, ranked last among elementary schools in Guilford County three years ago, is now 28th in the district.
  • At Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School, the second oldest historically integrated public high school in the United States, the dropout rate was cut in half and proficiency in English language arts jumped from 41 percent to 53 percent in the first year of the grant. Scores havecontinued to improve at the school with nearly 90 percent Free and Reduced Lunch enrollment. The school opened a night school where students can get tutoring or take credit recovery classes and added a recording and media production studio where career and technical students can train. The school also began offering students the chance to take dual enrollment classes at nearby Baltimore City Community College.
  • Findley Elementary School in Des Moines, IA, instituted a strong leadership focus, unwavering emphasis on Iowa Core academic standards, and an intense attention to data. Math proficiency rose from 59 percent in SY 2009-10 to 67 percent in SY2011-12. During the same timeframe, Findley improved its proficiency in reading from 54 to 72 percent.
This release continues the department’s commitment to transparency of school-level data to better inform parents, community members and the general public about changes in schools in their communities.
The data being released are reported to the Department under the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended, and are available atwww.data.gov, the administration’s online site providing public access to high-value, machine-readable datasets generated by the executive branch of the federal government. New tables are being published as part of this release and may be accessed by visitinghttp://explore.data.gov or by accessing the files directly:
Since the SIG program began three years ago, the Department has released national- and school-level data for SIG schools and SIG leading indicator data in June 2013. In addition, the Department has released full school-level assessment data for SY 2008-9 through SY 2010-11.

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