Although DCPS has made measurable progress over the past five years in terms of the goals laid out in the former Chancellor’s strategic plan, gains have not been evenly distributed among all student groups or across all of DC’s eight wards. To summarize the extent to which DCPS met its goals over the past five years and to highlight specific areas for continued improvement, AIR prepared a policy brief reflecting on DCPS’ progress.
1 Sep 2017
Meeting the needs of English learners (ELs) and students with disabilities (SWDs) is a critical yet challenging responsibility for all schools. This brief highlights four key strategies that emerged from the exploration of practices and systems in place in Massachusetts turnaround schools that successfully provide appropriate interventions to all of their ELs and SWDs.
28 Jul 2017
The Local Control Funding Formula has introduced positive and much-needed change to California’s approach to K-12 education funding, but received criticism for being archaic, cumbersome, difficult to complete, opaque, and incoherent. A new brief from the California Collaborative on District Reform and Pivot Learning, Fostering Innovation: How User-Centered Design Can Help Us Get the Local Control Funding Formula Right, describes an alternative approach to solving policy problems.
25 Jan 2017
Charter schools have become a widely used alternative to traditional public schools, and play an increasingly important role in state reform efforts. South Carolina stakeholders wanted to broaden their understanding of why some charter schools are more successful than others to inform their consideration of whether to expand this school choice option. This study identifies charter schools that are “beating the odds,” or performing better than expected in math and language arts, given the demographic characteristics of the students they serve.
30 Nov 2016
Charter school stakeholders in South Carolina expressed interest in understanding the leadership characteristics and practices of charter school leaders across the state. Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast helped develop an online survey of characteristics and practices that was administered by the South Carolina Department of Education to leaders of all charter schools in South Carolina. This report describes the process for developing the leadership survey and provides descriptive results of the survey.
24 Oct 2016
The Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes found that students attending network high schools with a mature and well-implemented approach to promoting deeper learning experienced different instructional strategies, greater opportunities, and better results on a range of outcomes than did their matched counterparts in comparison sites. This brief examines how teachers’ own beliefs about teaching, their assessment of their peers’ professional culture, and their assessment of the success of the principal in providing instructional leadership and program coherence are related to students’ reports of deeper learning opportunities in their classes.
21 Oct 2016
Social and emotional skills undergird student success—and mold better citizens. Results from the Collaborating Districts Initiative suggest that even modest investments can pay off for individuals, schools, and society. In this policy brief, Kimberly Kendziora and Nick Yoder share the results of the evaluation and offer policy six recommendations for states and districts implementing SEL initiatives.
19 Jul 2016
For decades, charter schools and district-run schools have been placed on opposing sides by advocates and policymakers. With support from the state and other partners, the Lawrence Public School District (LPS) state receiver brought these two seemingly opposing ideas together as a turnaround strategy for the district’s lowest performing schools. This policy brief examines the LPS use of charter operators as managers of district schools with a goal of providing recommendations for future district turnaround efforts, drawing from the expertise of charter operators.
12 Jul 2016
As they continue to implement the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), California educators find themselves struggling to communicate district plans to parents, teachers, and other members of the school community. This brief, the fourth in a series from the California Collaborative exploring key issues of LCFF implementation, identifies some guidelines for district leaders to make their plans more accessible.
7 Apr 2016
Many states are attempting to identify schools that perform better than schools with similar populations. Such “beating-the-odds” schools offer opportunities to identify promising practices that can be implemented by other schools serving similar populations. This study uses data from the Michigan Department of Education to demonstrate how methodological decisions affect which schools are identified as beating the odds.