Early intervention for toddlers with autism works well

Significant gains seen in IQ, communication and social interaction

A novel early intervention program for very young children with autism – some as young as 18 months – is effective for improving IQ, language ability, and social interaction, a comprehensive new study has found.

"This is the first controlled study of an intensive early intervention that is appropriate for children with autism who are less than 2½ years of age. Given that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all 18- and 24-month-old children be screened for autism, it is crucial that we can offer parents effective therapies for children in this age range," said Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., chief science officer of Autism Speaks and the study's lead author. "By starting as soon as the toddler is diagnosed, we hope to maximize the positive impact of the intervention."

The study, published online today in the journal Pediatrics, examined an intervention called the Early Start Denver Model, which combines applied behavioral analysis (ABA) teaching methods with developmental 'relationship-based' approaches. This approach was novel because it blended the rigor of ABA with play-based routines that focused on building a relationship with the child. While the youngest children in the study were 18 months old, the intervention is designed to be appropriate for children with autism as young as 12 months of age. Although previous studies have found that early intervention can be helpful for preschool-aged children, interventions for children who are toddlers are just now being tested. Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors and impairment in verbal communication and social interaction. It is reported to affect one in 100 children in the United States.

"Infant brains are quite malleable so with this therapy we're trying to capitalize on the potential of learning that an infant brain has in order to limit autism's deleterious effects, to help children lead better lives," said Sally Rogers, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, a study co-author and a researcher at the UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif. Rogers and Dawson developed the intervention.

The five-year study took place at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle and was led by Dawson, then a professor of psychology and director of the university's Autism Center, in partnership with Rogers. It involved therapy for 48 diverse, 18- to 30-month-old children with autism and no other health problems. Milani Smith, who oversees the UW Autism Center's clinical programs, provided day-to-day oversight.

The children were separated into two groups, one that received 20 hours a week of the intervention – two two-hour sessions five days a week – from UW specialists. They also received five hours a week of parent-delivered therapy. Children in the second group were referred to community-based programs for therapy. Both groups' progress was monitored by UW researchers. At the beginning of the study there was no substantial difference in functioning between the two groups.

At the conclusion of the study, the IQs of the children in the intervention group had improved by an average of approximately 18 points, compared to a little more than four points in the comparison group. The intervention group also had a nearly 18-point improvement in receptive language (listening and understanding) compared to approximately 10 points in the comparison group. Seven of the children in the intervention group had enough improvement in overall skills to warrant a change in diagnosis from autism to the milder condition known as 'pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified,' or PDD-NOS. Only one child in the community-based intervention group had an improved diagnosis.

"We believe that the ESDM group made much more progress because it involved carefully structured teaching and a relationship-based approach to learning with many, many learning opportunities embedded in the play," Rogers said.

"Parental involvement and use of these strategies at home during routine and daily activities are likely important ingredients of the success of the outcomes and their child's progress. The study strongly affirms the positive outcomes of early intervention and the need for the earliest possible start," Dawson said.

In this study, the intervention was provided in a toddler's natural environment (their home) and delivered by trained therapists and parents who received instruction and training as part of the model.

"Parents and therapists both carried out the intervention toward individualized goals for each child, and worked collaboratively to improve how the children were responding socially, playing with toys, and communicating," said Milani Smith, associate director of the UW Autism Center and a study co-author. "Parents are taught strategies for capturing their children's attention and promoting communication. By using these strategies throughout the day, the children were offered many opportunities to learn to interact with others."

You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/early-intervention-for-toddlers-with.html. Thanks!

State Response to Intervention Initiatives

The report documents the results of a search of state education agency web sites in the nine jurisdictions for publicly available information related to RTI (response to intervention).

It finds that seven jurisdictions have developed state documents on RTI that address core features of RTI identified by the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities: high quality classroom instruction, research-based instruction, classroom performance, universal screening, continuous progress monitoring, research-based interventions, progress monitoring during interventions, and fidelity measures.

Six of these jurisdictions had documents addressing all eight core features (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont), and one (Rhode Island) had documents addressing seven.

Documents are also categorized by theme: whether the state education agency required RTI as a component of the special education eligibility process, whether the state education agency used or encouraged a three-tiered RTI model, whether a self-assessment or local plan was required before implementing RTI at the local level, and whether the state education agency supported or funded RTI pilot sites.

The seven jurisdictions used or promoted RTI as an approach to supporting struggling students in general education or for determining eligibility for special education at the local level. The most commonly found document types were nonregulatory guidance (six states), followed by regulations (four states). The document review could not shed light on the extent of RTI use at the local level. While there was no evidence of RTI policies or procedures on the public state education agency web sites for two jurisdictions (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), that cannot be taken as evidence that the two jurisdictions do not allow RTI.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/state-response-to-intervention.html. Thanks!

Seattle Public Schools should change policies

to more effectively attract and retain effective teachers

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) issued a report on the ability of the Seattle Public Schools to attract, develop, retain and evaluate teachers, concluding that many SPS and Washington State teacher policies hinder improved student achievement.

The report was undertaken at the request of the Alliance for Education, an independent nonprofit focused on increasing student achievement and supporting effective programs in Seattle public schools.

“The Alliance for Education is interested in creating a community conversation around policies that foster effective teaching,” noted George Griffin III, Alliance for Education Board Chair. “We hope people will take a close look at the current policies and NCTQ's recommendations to see what works and what doesn’t. This will take time; it’s a complex issue.”

The report includes the first in-depth look at the new Seattle Education

Association/Seattle Public Schools contract, which sets many of the policies that govern teachers' work lives.

To reach its conclusions, NCTQ spent four months analyzing the rules and regulations governing Seattle teachers, including the most recent teacher contracts. It also talked with local stakeholders, examined personnel data and trends, and compared what it found with other public school districts both in the Puget Sound area and in the nation.

“Working to staff every classroom with an effective teacher is the most important function of any school district,” said Kate Walsh, NCTQ President. “That means putting in place smart policies that work relentlessly towards that goal.”

The 81-page report only focuses on the four areas governing the profession that can be transformed by better local and state policies, including: 1) compensation; 2) transfer and assignment; 3) the teacher work day and year, and 4) developing effective teachers and exiting ineffective teachers.

Among the primary findings:

• In nearly every respect, Seattle students are shortchanged on learning time, receiving fewer school days this year than state law requires and suffering high teacher absentee rates (an average of 16 days per teacher). Seattle elementary students have the shortest school day in the region and theirs is among the shortest in the nation.

• After a number of significant recent pay raises, Seattle's teacher salaries are now largely competitive with other Puget Sound districts, but only if teachers agree to take a lot more advanced coursework than what is typically required of teachers. In fact Seattle spends 22 percent of its annual teacher payroll to incentivize teachers to take more courses, despite research that requiring teachers to do so does not necessarily improve student learning.

• When teachers receive their annual pay raises, the biggest pay raises are reserved for the longest serving teachers, an inequitable system that works against retention of newer teachers and which is a practice not found in most other large districts in the nation.

• Seattle does better than other districts across the nation in attracting teachers with stronger academic backgrounds but does not do enough to aggressively recruit teachers early enough in the year, especially in shortage areas.

• In spite of a policy that gives principals final say over who can teach in their buildings, principals are often forced to take teachers they have not chosen or approved. • Seattle is not doing a thorough job evaluating teachers’ performance, giving short shrift to teachers’ impact on student learning and identifying 99.5 percent of the workforce as satisfactory in the most recent school year.

NCTQ's recommendations for specific action by both the district and Washington State include:

• Guarantee students 180 days of instruction. The state should not waive this requirement absent unforeseen emergency.

• Immediately lengthen the elementary school day for teachers to 7.5 hours and work towards an 8 hour on-site work day for all teachers.

• As other districts are doing, rethink teacher pay by gradually eliminating more pay for any coursework and experimenting with pay outside the traditional salary schedule. The state should abandon its own failed efforts to equalize pay across districts, such as the TRI pay structure.

• Reform teachers’ traditional seniority rights so that no school is forced to accept a teacher who may not be a good fit and so the district can factor in teachers’ performance when layoffs must occur.

• More closely monitor teacher absentee patterns at each school and hold principals accountable for improving teachers' attendance.

• Make teacher evaluations a meaningful process that requires principals to differentiate the levels of talent in their buildings, rewards the highest performing teachers and generates support and real consequences for under performers. Meaningful evaluation will also require that the Washington State legislature rewrites its burdensome and costly laws on teacher dismissal, and that both the state and district lift existing prohibitions on pay for performance.

“The research is clear: an effective teacher is the most important school-based factor in raising student achievement,” noted Patrick D’Amelio, Alliance for Education President & CEO. “With that knowledge, it is our hope this report creates a community conversation focused on strengthening teaching and increasing student achievement.”
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/seattle-public-schools-should-change.html. Thanks!

Students' Use of Tutoring Services

This Statistics in Brief reports on the use of tutoring services among public school students enrolled in grades K-12 in 2007.

"Students' Use of Tutoring Services, by Adequate Yearly Progress Status of School," released by the National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences, compares tutoring of students in schools that had not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for three or more years and would be required to provide such services with that of students who attended other public schools. Findings include:

* Sixty percent of students attending schools that did not make AYP for three or more years had parents who received information about free tutoring from their child's school or district, compared to 43 percent of students in other public schools.

* Twenty-two percent of students attending schools that did not make AYP for three or more years received free tutoring, compared to 13 percent of students in other public schools.

* Within schools that missed AYP targets for three or more years, the parents of 63 percent of the students who received free tutoring were very satisfied with the tutoring their child received.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/students-use-of-tutoring-services.html. Thanks!

Progress Report on State Data Systems

The 2009 Annual Progress Report on State Data Systems is a Data Quality Campaign
publication that reports on states’ progress in building the 10 Essential Elements in their statewide longitudinal data systems. States are making progress; however, many states lack critical Elements essential for addressing college and career readiness and the impact that teachers have on student achievement (Elements 5, 6 and 7).
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/progress-report-on-state-data-systems.html. Thanks!

Teacher Quality – Reading and Writing

Publications Emerging From Research Funded through the National Center for Education Research as of September 30, 2009

This document contains a list of publications (as of September 30, 2009) that have resulted from the more than 400 research grants funded through IES/NCER since 2002.

The publications, intended for both the scientific community as well the general public, are on topics spanning from basic translational research to the evaluation of state education policies. The list will be updated regularly to include new articles as they are published, so please check our website periodically for updated material.

The document would be a lot more valuable with abstracts and links included

For example, here is one section of the report, with abstracts and/or links to full text added for several articles:

Teacher Quality – Reading and Writing

FY 2003

Institution: Haskins Laboratories
Principal Investigator: Susan Brady
Project Title: Mastering Reading Instruction: A Professional Development Project for First Grade Teachers
Grant: R305M030099
Brady, S., Gillis, M., Smith, T., Lavalette, M., Liss-Bronstein, L., Lowe, E., North, W., Russo, E., and Wilder, T.D. (2009). First Grade Teachers' Knowledge of Phonological Awareness and Code Concepts: Examining Gains From an Intensive Form of Professional Development. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22(4): 425-455.

The study examined the efficacy of an intensive form of professional development (PD) for building the knowledge of first-grade teachers in the areas of phonological awareness and phonics. The PD featured frequent in-class support from highly knowledgeable mentors for one school year, in addition to an introductory two-day summer institute and monthly workshops. Pre- and post-assessment of participants on a Teacher Knowledge Survey (TKS) indicated weak knowledge of phonological awareness and phonics concepts prior to PD and large, significant gains in each area by year-end. In addition, to investigate factors potentially associated with teachers’ responses to training, a Teacher Attitude Survey (TAS) was administered before and after the PD. The TAS measured teachers’ attitudes regarding PD, external and internal motivation to participate, intentions to actively engage in learning and implementing new instructional methods, sense of self-efficacy as reading instructors, and premises about reading instruction (e.g., about whole language). Attitudes on a subset of these factors, teachers’ initial knowledge scores on the TKS, and years of teaching experience (estimated by age) accounted for significant portions of the variance in performance on the TKS after training.


Institution: Instructional Research Group
Principal Investigator: Gersten, Russell
Project Title: Teacher Quality Study: An Investigation of the Impact of Teacher Study Groups as a Means to Enhance the Quality of Reading Instruction for First Graders in High Poverty Schools in Two States
Grant: R305M030052

Dimino, J., and Taylor, M.J. (in press). Learning How to Improve Vocabulary Instruction through Teacher Study Groups. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
Gersten, R., Dimino, J., and Jayanthi, M. (2007). Towards the Development of a Nuanced Classroom Observational System for Studying Comprehension and Vocabulary Instruction. In B. Taylor and J. Ysseldyke (Eds.), Educational Interventions for Struggling Readers (pp. 381-425). New York: Teachers College Press.


Institution: University of Michigan
Principal Investigator: Joanne Carlisle
Project Title: Identifying Key Components of Effective Professional Development in Reading for First-Grade Teachers and Their Students
Grant: R305M030090

Carlisle, J.F., Cortina, K.S., and Katz, L.A. (in press). First-Grade Teachers Response to Three Models of Professional Development in Reading. Reading and Writing Quarterly.

FY 2004

Institution: Florida State University
Principal Investigator: Douglas Harris
Project Title: Assessing Teacher Effectiveness: How Can We Predict Who Will Be a High Quality Teacher?
Grant: R305M040121

Harris, D., and Rutledge, S. (forthcoming).Models and Predictors of Teacher Effectiveness: A Review of the Evidence With Lessons From (and For) Other Occupations. Teachers College Record.
Rutledge, S., and Harris, D. (2008). Certify, Blink, Hire: An Examination of the Process and Tools of Teacher Selection. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 7(3): 237-263.
While much has been written about the process of employee selection in other occupations, there has been little discussion on the process and tools of teacher selection and why it occurs as it does. To understand this question, we conduct an extensive literature review in which we compare teacher hiring with hiring in other occupations. We also present findings from a study of school principals and district administrators in a midsized Florida school district. Our results suggest that the screening and selection process in teaching is not much different from occupations that have similar levels of job complexity. A theory emerges from the review and analysis that explains the process and reliance on certain tools in teacher hiring. The theory focuses especially on the costs of various tools and processes, the types and quality of information that come from them, and the distinctive features of teaching as an occupation and schools as organizations.
Harris, D. (2008). The Policy Uses and Policy Validity of Value-Added and Other Teacher Quality Measures. In D.H. Gitomer (Ed.), Measurement Issues and the Assessment of Teacher Quality. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Harris, D., and Sass, T. (2007). Teacher Training, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement. National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER). Working Paper #3. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.


Institution: Purdue University
Principal Investigator: Douglas Powell
Project Title: Professional Development in Early Reading (Classroom Links to Early Literacy)
Grant: R305M040167

Diamond, K.E., Gerde, H.K., and Powell, D.R. (2008). Development in Early Literacy Skills During the Pre-Kindergarten Year in Head Start: Relations Between Growth in Children’s Writing and Understanding of Letters. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23: 467-478.
Powell, D.R., Diamond, K.E., Bojczyk, K.E., and Gerde, H.K. (2008). Head Start Teachers’ Perspectives on Early Literacy. Journal of Literacy Research, 40: 422-460.
Gerde, H.K., and Powell, D.R. (in press). Teacher Education, Book-Reading Practices, and Children’s Language Growth Across One Year of Head Start. Early Education and Development.

Institution: RAND
Principal Investigator: Richard Buddin
Project Title: Teacher Licensure Tests and Student Achievement
Grant: R305M040186

Buddin, R., and Zamaro, G. Teacher Quality, Teacher Licensure Tests, and Student Achievement (WR-555-IES). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Education Working Paper.
Le, Vi-Nhuan, and Buddin, R. (2005). Examining the Validity Evidence for California Teacher Licensure Exams (WR 334-EDU). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Education.

FY 2005

Institution: Florida State University
Principal Investigator: Alysia Roehrig
Project Title: Identifying the Conditions Under Which Large Scale Professional Development Policy Initiatives Are Related to Teacher Knowledge, Instructional Practices, and Student Reading Outcomes
Grant: R305M050122
Roehrig, A.D., Turner, J.E., Grove, C.M., Schneider, N., and Liu, Z. (in press). Degree of Alignment Between Beginning Teachers' Practices and Beliefs About Effective Classroom Practices. The Teacher Educator .
Roehrig, A.D., Duggar, S.W., Moats, L., Glover, M., and Mincey, B. (2008). When Teachers Work to Use Progress Monitoring Data to Inform Literacy Instruction: Identifying Potential Supports and Challenges. Remedial and Special Educatio, 29: 364-382.
Roehrig, A.D., Bohnb, C.M., Turner, J.E., and Pressley, M. (2008). Mentoring Beginning Primary Teachers for Exemplary Teaching Practices. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24: 684-702.


Institution: University of Michigan
Principal Investigator: Joanne Carlisle
Project Title: Assesssment of Pedagogical Knowledge of Teachers of Reading
Grant: R305M050087

Carlisle, J.F., Cortina, K.S., and Katz, L.A. (in press). First-Grade Teachers’ Response to Three Models of Professional Development in Reading. Reading and Writing Quarterly.

Institution: University of Texas, San Antonio
Principal Investigator: Misty Sailors
Project Title: Teaching Teachers to Teach Critical Reading Strategies (CREST).through an Intensive Professional Development
Grant: R305M050021
Sailors, M. (2007). Supporting Teachers Through an Intensive Professional Development Model. In Supporting Student Success. Corpus Christi, TX: CEDER Yearbook.
Sailors, M. (in press). Improving Comprehension Instruction through Quality Professional Development. In S.E. Israel and G.G. Duffy (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Reading Comprehension. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

FY 2008

Institution: National Bureau of Economic Research
Principal Investigator: Jesse Rothstein
Project Title: Value-Added Models and the Measurement of Teacher Quality: Tracking or Causal Effects?
Grant: R305A080560

Rothstein, Jesse (2008). Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement. National Bureau of Economic Reasearch Working Paper 14442.


Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Principal Investigators: Linda Kucan and Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar
Project Title: The Iterative Design of Modules to Support Reading Comprehension Instruction
Grant: R305A080005

Kucan, L., Palincsar, A.S., Khasnabis, D., and Chang, C. (in press). The Video Viewing Task: a Source of Information for Assessing and Addressing Teacher Understanding of Text-Based Discussion. Teaching and Teacher Education.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/teacher-quality-reading-and-writing.html. Thanks!

Teacher Quality – Mathematics and Science

Publications Emerging From Research Funded through the National Center for Education Research as of September 30, 2009

This document contains a list of publications (as of September 30, 2009) that have resulted from the more than 400 research grants funded through IES/NCER since 2002.

The publications, intended for both the scientific community as well the general public, are on topics spanning from basic translational research to the evaluation of state education policies. The list will be updated regularly to include new articles as they are published, so please check our website periodically for updated material.

The document would be a lot more valuable if merged with the ERIC database.

For example, here is one section of the report, with abstracts and links to full text added for two articles:

Teacher Quality – Mathematics and Science

FY 2003

Institution: LessonLab Research Institute
Principal Investigator: James Stigler
Project Title: Algebra Learning for All
Grant: R305M030154

Santagata, R. (2009). Designing Video-Based Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers in Low-Performing Schools. Journal of Teacher Education, Theme Issue: Innovative Uses of Technology in Teacher Education, 60(1): 38-51.

This article describes the theoretical framework, research base, structure, and content of a video-based professional development program implemented during 2 consecutive years with sixth-grade mathematics teachers from five low-performing schools. First, difficulties teachers encountered in responding to video-based prompts during the 1st year are summarized. Problematic questions deal with teachers' (a) basic understanding of target mathematics topics, (b) knowledge of their students' understanding, and (c) ability to analyze students' work and reasoning beyond classification into right and wrong answers. Changes that were made to the program to address teachers' needs in the 2nd year are then described. These are structured around three principles for designing video-based professional development: (a) attending to content-specific understanding, (b) scaffolding analysis of student thinking, and (c) modeling a discourse of inquiry and reflection on the teaching and learning process.


FY 2005

Institution: University of Cincinnati
Principal Investigator: Carla Johnson
Project Title: Utah’s Improving Science Teacher Quality Initiative
Grant: R305M050005

Johnson, Carla C., and Sherry Marx (in press).Transformative Professional Development: a Model for Urban Science Education Reform. Journal of Science Teacher Education.
Johnson, C.C. (in press). Transformative Professional Development for In-Service Teachers: Enabling Change in Science Teaching to Better Meet the Needs of Hispanic ELL Students. In Sunal, D.W., Sunal, D.S., Mantero, M., and Wright, E. (Eds.), Teaching Science With Hispanic ELLs in K-16 Classrooms. Information Age Publishing.
Johnson, C.C., and Fargo, J.D. (in press). Urban School Reform through Transformative Professional Development: Impact on Teacher Change and Student Learning of Science. Urban Education.

FY 2006

Institution: LessonLab, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Nicole Kersting
Project Title: Using Video Clips of Classroom Instruction as Item Prompts to Measure Teacher Knowledge of Teaching Mathematics: Instrument Development and Validation
Grant: R305M060057

Kersting, N. (2008). Using Video Clips as Item Prompts to Measure Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching Mathematics. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 68:845-886.

Responding to the scarcity of suitable measures of teacher knowledge, this article reports on a novel assessment approach to measuring teacher knowledge of teaching mathematics. The new approach uses teachers' ability to analyze teaching as a proxy for their teaching knowledge. Video clips of classroom instruction, which respondents were asked to analyze in writing, were used as item prompts. Teacher responses were scored along four dimensions: mathematical content, student thinking, alternative teaching strategies, and overall quality of interpretation. A prototype assessment was developed and its reliability and validity were examined. Respondents' scores were found to be reliable. Positive, moderate correlations between teachers' scores on the video-analysis assessment, a criterion measure of mathematical content knowledge for teaching, and expert ratings provide initial evidence for the criterion-related validity of the video-analysis assessment. Results suggest that teachers' ability to analyze teaching might be reflective of their teaching knowledge.

You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/teacher-quality-mathematics-and-science.html. Thanks!

High School Survey of Student Engagement

A nationwide survey of high school students finds that nearly 90 percent expect to earn their diploma and go to college, but many report a lack of interest and effort in the classroom that may dampen those hopes.

"Engaging the Voices of Students: A Report on the 2007 & 2008 High School Survey of Student Engagement" presents the latest numbers from the annual survey conducted by the Indiana University Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP). The survey asked more than 134,000 high school students about their thoughts, beliefs and perceptions in 2007 and 2008. The 2007 survey covered 104 schools in 30 states, and 119 schools in 27 states participated in the 2008 High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE).

In both the 2007 and 2008 surveys, 91.4 percent of respondents expected to graduate from high school. Just 1.2 percent didn't expect to earn a diploma. When asked why they go to school, 74 percent of respondents in each year said "Because I want to get a degree and go to college." Despite those expectations, according to the U.S. Department of Education, one in four public high school students did not graduate on time (four years after entering ninth grade) in the latest reporting period.

"The aspirations are not a problem," said Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, HSSSE project director. "They continue to expect at higher and higher levels to graduate and go on to college."

Student appreciation of the importance of high school also doesn't match the reality of the work they do. In each year, between 70 percent and 80 percent rate "doing written homework" and "reading and studying for class" as somewhat or very important or "a top priority." However, in each year more than 80 percent of students said they spent an hour or less on these tasks each day. More than 40 percent said they spent an hour or less on these tasks each week. Fewer than half of the respondents (48 percent) said they gave maximum effort in "most" or "all" of their classes.

"So we have to look at what's causing this gap between the time they actually spend and the priority they feel," Yazzie-Mintz said. "Some of this might connect to how interesting and how connected the importance of the material is to the class."

In findings quite consistent with the last HSSSE report (for 2006 data), many students report boredom with their classes and more than half have skipped school. Two out of three (67 percent in each year) say they are bored at least every day in class. Approximately one out of six say they're bored in every class. Just over half (51 percent in each survey year) said they've skipped school "once or twice" or "many times."

"These results should not to be taken to say that teachers need to be entertainers," Yazzie-Mintz said. "But there's got to be some way to connect this content and this material to where the students are and what their interests are. We are seeing from some of the open responses that they will take on challenges even in a content area where they're not good if it's being communicated and connected to them well."

Other key findings in the 2007 and 2008 HSSSE data include:

• The three most-cited reasons for students who have considered dropping out are all school-related factors. "I didn't like the school" was the answer for 53 percent of students who have considered dropping out in 2007, 51 percent in 2008. "I didn't see the value in the work I was being asked to do" was the response of 44 percent in 2007, 45 percent in 2008. In 2007, 41 percent responded with "I didn't like the teachers,"while 40 percent had the same response in 2008.

• Fewer than half of the respondents (45 percent in 2007, 46 percent in 2008) said they are challenged academically in most or all of their classes.
• Two out of three students (66 percent in each year) believe that "most" or "all" of their teachers want them to do the best work they can do. Eighty-one percent of students in each year agreed or strongly agreed that they feel supported by teachers; they reported the same percentage when asked if they feel supported by other students.
• Among instructional methods, those involving work and learning with peers rated most highly.
• In each survey year, just 48 percent of respondents said they gave their maximum effort in "most" or "all" of their classes.

Yazzie-Mintz said follow-up research should focus on what he termed the "engagement gap," which he said mirrored the educational achievement gap in many ways. "Girls report higher levels of engagement than boys; students in the honors tracks reported the highest levels of engagement while students in special education reported the lowest levels of engagement; by race and ethnicity, white and Asian students reported higher levels of engagement than students of other races," he said.

Another big finding from the study is that students need to feel an important part of their school and that teachers can make a big difference in that feeling, Yazzie-Mintz said. "We hear over and over from students that they do want more supportive teachers," he said. "They want teachers who believe in them," noting several student responses on open-ended questions.

"One student said a good, engaging teacher makes all the difference. Another student said 'I always wished at least one teacher would see a skill in me that seemed extraordinary, or help to encourage its growth.' So there's a lot of feeling that teachers can make a lot of difference in the experience and the achievement of students."

The entire report is available at http://ceep.indiana.edu/hssse/pdf/HSSSE_2009_Report.pdf.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/high-school-survey-of-student-engagement.html. Thanks!

Saving America's High Schools

Ambitious Reform Efforts Evaluated in New Book on America's High Schools

Eighteen education policy experts put the past decade's surge in high-school reform efforts to the test in "Saving America's High Schools" from the Urban Institute Press. Led by coeditors Becky Smerdon and Kathryn Borman, the team of authors size up national reform trends and draw on at least five years of research in Baltimore, New York City, Chicago, Ohio, and North Carolina.

Their analyses come none too soon. The last decade has seen a proliferation of high school redesign efforts - more than $1 billion from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alone has funded improvement projects in more than 2,000 schools - but research on the effectiveness of the reforms has been scarce. "Even where the research does exist," Smerdon and Borman write, "it comes nowhere near giving sufficient guidance to schools and policymakers about how to improve secondary schools to the extent society and the economy are now demanding." "Saving America's High Schools" helps fill that research gap for leaders dedicated to reinvigorating secondary education.

The numbers the researchers cite are sobering. "High schools are not working for a substantial number of the 14 million adolescents they are charged with educating," Smerdon and Borman point out. "At best, one in four public high school students does not graduate in four years. More alarmingly, high school graduation is only a '50-50 proposition' for low-income and minority students."

Reducing high school size became a common objective for educators and policymakers in the 1990s and 2000s, but Smerdon, Borman, and their colleagues find that getting positive results for students requires more complex changes. A school's small size, the authors saw, can be beneficial, but does not improve student performance directly. Instead, a small school is a pathway to personalizing instructional methods and relationships, building students' sense of responsibility, keeping students accountable, and permitting greater collaboration among educators.

For school systems seeking transformation, and for the Gates Foundation (which funds many of the projects), academic rigor is a key to successful school reform. "Saving America's High Schools" finds that student engagement, motivation, and attendance in several redesigned schools improved, but that student achievement has been mixed. In Baltimore's redesigned schools - where, among other changes, leaders reduced school sizes, increased staff accountability for student achievement, and raised standards for student performance in core subjects - most students have not passed English and algebra assessment exams and two-thirds have not graduated from high school, despite some rises in student achievement.

Sarah Edith Jones, Monica Martinez, and Cindy Cai report that teaching approaches did not change after similar reforms in Ohio and student outcomes did not improve. Academic performance did not improve in Chicago post-reform either, though graduation rates rose in some small schools, write Joseph E. Kahne, Susan E. Sporte, Marisa de la Torre, and John Q. Easton. Eileen Foley and Elizabeth Reisner's study identified a bright spot in New York City's revamped schools: a 78-percent graduation rate for the class of 2005, compared with just 61 percent in comparison-group schools.

Smerdon, Borman, and Jane Hannaway underscore the importance of research-tested instructional practices, writing that significant student learning gains require improved curricula and highly effective teachers. At the same time, these experts put weak academic achievements in newly overhauled schools into context, pointing out that keeping low-performing students from dropping out may reduce schools' average test scores.

"Saving America's High Schools" recounts the successes and challenges in improving various high schools. "Without the push to put forward the lessons learned from these efforts, many rural and urban high schools will continue to cling to notions of the 'comprehensive' high school as the best option," Smerdon and Borman observe. "Clearly, it is not, and efforts such as those described in this volume must continue as we seek to create schools for all students."

Kathryn Borman is a professor of anthropology and is affiliated with the Alliance for Applied Research in Education and Anthropology at the University of South Florida. Becky Smerdon is a founder and managing director of Quill Research Associates, LLC. Contributors to "Saving America's High Schools" are Cindy Cai, Jennifer Cohen, Geoff Coltrane, Marisa de la Torre, John Q. Easton, Eileen Foley, Joseph Garcia, Jane Hannaway, Sarah Edith Jones, Joseph E. Kahne, Monica Martinez, Barbara Means, Karen Mitchell, Elizabeth Reisner, Todd Silberman, Mengli Song, Susan E. Sporte, and Charles Storey.

Read Chapter 1.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/saving-america-high-schools.html. Thanks!

Hidden Risks Of Modular Classrooms

Portable classrooms may be too noisy and unhealthy.

From Inside Science News Service:

Every school day, more than 5 million students in the United States attend lessons held in modular classrooms. With new carpeting and paint, metal roofs and noisy ventilation systems, they can be a health hazard and make it harder for students to learn.

Modular classrooms often start out as temporary fixtures on school grounds before becoming a permanent part of campus.

A study of all the modular classrooms in California found some common problems in these types of buildings. They are usually newer than the rest of the school's buildings, they tend to have new paint and carpet, which may release toxic fumes for a few years.

Because they are designed to be temporary, modular classrooms tend to develop structural problems such as water leaks or cracks faster than permanent school buildings and are more likely to be outfitted with pressed-wood furniture or vinyl walls which put out unhealthy fumes.

Scientists studying movable classrooms in California looked at dust from the floors and particles in the air inside the classrooms. The dust showed traces of pesticides, arsenic and mold, while the air contained formaldehyde fumes, heavy metals and higher than normal concentrations of pollen and carbon dioxide.

Full article:
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/hidden-risks-of-modular-classrooms.html. Thanks!

GAO report nn improving academic performance

Student Achievement: Schools Use Multiple Strategies to Help Students Meet Academic Standards, Especially Schools with Higher Proportions of Low-Income and Minority Students

The federal government has invested billions of dollars to improve student academic performance, and many schools, teachers, and researchers are trying to determine the most effective instructional practices with which to accomplish this. The Conference Report for the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed GAO to study strategies used to prepare students to meet state academic achievement standards.

To do this, GAO answered: (1) What types of instructional practices are schools and teachers most frequently using to help students achieve state academic standards, and do those instructional practices differ by school characteristics? (2) What is known about how standards-based accountability systems have affected instructional practices? (3) What is known about instructional practices that are effective in improving student achievement?

GAO analyzed data from a 2006-2007 national survey of principals and 2005-2006 survey of teachers in three states, conducted a literature review of the impact of standards-based accountability systems on instructional practices and of practices that are effective in improving student achievement, and interviewed experts.

Nationwide, most principals focused on multiple strategies to help students meet academic standards, such as using student data to inform instruction and increasing professional development for teachers, according to our analysis of data from a U.S. Department of Education survey.

Many of these strategies were used more often at high-poverty schools--those where 75 percent or more of the students were eligible for the free and reduced-price lunch program--and high-minority schools--those where 75 percent or more of students were identified as part of a minority population, than at lower poverty and minority schools. Likewise, math teachers in California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania increased their use of certain instructional practices in response to their state tests, such as focusing more on topics emphasized on assessments and searching for more effective teaching methods, and teachers at high-poverty and high-minority schools were more likely than teachers at lower-poverty schools and lower-minority schools to have made these changes, according to GAO's analysis of survey data collected by the RAND Corporation. Some researchers suggested that differences exist in the use of these practices because schools with lower poverty or lower minority student populations might generally be meeting accountability requirements and therefore would need to try these strategies less frequently.

Research shows that standards-based accountability systems can influence instructional practices in both positive and negative ways. For example, some research notes that using a standards-based curriculum that is aligned with corresponding instructional guidelines can facilitate the development of higher order thinking skills in students.

But, in some cases, teacher practices did not always reflect the principles of standards-based instruction, and the difficulties in aligning practice with standards were attributed, in part, to current accountability requirements. Other research noted that assessments can be powerful tools for improving the learning process and evaluating student achievement, but assessments can also have some unintended negative consequences on instruction, including narrowing the curriculum to only material that is tested.

Many experts stated that methodological issues constrain knowing more definitively the specific instructional practices that improve student learning and achievement. Nevertheless, some studies and experts pointed to instructional practices that are considered to be effective in raising student achievement, such as differentiated instruction. Professional development for teachers was also highlighted as important for giving teachers the skills and knowledge necessary to implement effective teaching practices.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/gao-report-nn-improving-academic.html. Thanks!

International students up 8 percent

Report on International Educational Exchange; International Students on U.S. Campuses at All-Time High; Total Foreign Student Numbers Up 8 Percent and New Enrollments Up 16 percent; U.S. Study Abroad Up 8.5 Percent, Continuing Decades-Long Growth

The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8 percent to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008/09 academic year, while the number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8.5 percent to 262,416 in 2007/08, according to the Open Doors report which was released today by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The 8 percent increase in international student numbers is the largest increase reported since 1980/81, and marks the third year of significant growth. Open Doors 2009 reports the number of "new" international students -- those enrolled for the first time at a U.S. college or university in fall 2008 increased by 16 percent. The largest growth was seen in undergraduate enrollments, which increased by 11 percent, compared to a 2 percent increase in graduate enrollments. This growth was driven largely by increases in undergraduate students from China.

"I am delighted to see the large increase in the number of international students who are choosing to study in the United States," said Judith A. McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. "The all-time high number of international students who studied here in the 2008/09 academic year testifies to the quality and diversity for which American higher education is known around the world. The Department of State actively promotes the benefits of an American education. Our large network of more than 400 EducationUSA advising centers plays a key role in matching international students with a U.S. academic institution that's just right for them. We strongly encourage international students to study in the United States, and are committed to helping them choose the American college or university that best meets their needs."

Open Doors 2009 reports increases in foreign student enrollments from seven of the ten leading places of origin. India is the leading place of origin for the eighth consecutive year, increasing 9 percent, followed by China up 21 percent, South Korea up 9 percent and Canada, the only non-Asian country in the top five, up 2 percent, surpassing Japan, now in fifth place with enrollment decreasing 14 percent. California is the leading state of destination for international students followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida. The University of Southern California enrolls the greatest number of international students followed by New York University, Columbia University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University. New York City remains the top host city. International students contribute approximately $17.8 billion to the U.S. economy, through their expenditures on tuition and living expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

To provide a "snapshot" look at what U.S. campuses are reporting in Fall 2009, IIE conducted an online survey, in cooperation with seven other higher education associations, asking if international enrollments for Fall 2009 have increased or decreased. This survey indicates a mixed picture for this Fall, with international enrollments varying according to different countries of origin and types and sizes of host institutions: 50 percent of responding campuses are continuing to see increases in international student enrollments (down from 57 percent who saw increases the previous year), while 24 percent reported declines, and 26 percent reported levels about the same as for the prior Fall. The campuses seeing declines noted varied effects of the current economic conditions and students' concerns about the H1N1 virus, while those reporting increases cited increased recruitment efforts and the growing reputation and visibility of U.S. campuses abroad.

Open Doors 2009 reports the number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8.5 percent to 262,416 in the 2007/08 academic year. This latest increase builds on decades of steady growth, with four times as many U.S. students participating in study abroad in 2007/08 than in 1987/88. The top four countries hosting U.S. students are United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France. China, now the fifth leading destination, saw increases in enrollment of American students of 19 percent following on a 25 percent increase the previous year. Fifteen of the top 25 destinations for American students are outside of Western Europe and nineteen are countries where English is not the primary language. Students electing to study in Africa increased by 18 percent, those going to Asia increased by 17 percent, to Latin America by 11 percent, and those going to the Middle East increased by 22 percent. About 40 percent of students studying abroad do so through mid-length programs, while 56 percent of U.S. students choose short-term programs (including summer, January term and any program of 2 to 8 weeks during the academic year).

Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, noted that the experiences afforded through study abroad provide American students with the skills needed to live in today's increasingly inter-connected world. "More students are eager to study in newly popular study abroad destinations such as China, India, and the Middle East. The language and cultural skills they acquire along with their academic experience will have a profound effect on their lives and careers." According to Dr. Goodman, it is important for colleges and universities to make it possible for students from diverse backgrounds and in diverse fields to take advantage of study abroad opportunities.

The Open Doors report is published by the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since 1919, and with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since the early 1970s. The census is based on a survey of approximately 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions. Open Doors also reports on surveys on international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad (since 1985). A full press kit and further details on the Open Doors 2009 surveys and their findings can be accessed on http://www.opendoors.iienetwork.org and the full 128 page report can be ordered for $64.95 from IIE Books at http://www.iiebooks.org .

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State manages a wide range of academic, professional, and cultural exchanges that include approximately 40,000 participants annually, with the goal of increasing mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. ECA manages the EducationUSA network of advising offices (http://educationusa.state.gov/) for students around the world who wish to study in the United States. For more information on the Department of State's educational and cultural exchange activities, visit http://www.exchanges.state.gov .
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/international-students-up-8-percent.html. Thanks!


A new study, "Everyone Wins: How Charter Schools Benefit All New York City Public School Students" uses student-level data to study the effect of competition from charter schools on academic performance in public schools.

This report is the first to focus on the effect that charter competition has had on the math and reading proficiency of students who remain in a New York City public school. Its findings compliment those of recent research showing that students make academic gains when they attend one of Gotham's charter schools.

Highlights of the study include:

For every 1 percent of a public school's students who leave to attend a charter school, reading proficiency for those students who remain at the school increased by about 0.02 standard deviations. This directly contrasts the suspicions of charter school opponents who claim that there would be a negative impact on public school students.

There is no effect on overall student achievement in math.

The lowest-performing students in public school benefit in both math and reading from charter school competition.

This new study demonstrates that even those students who remain in New York City's public schools benefit from charter schools' expansion. The findings of this report further demonstrate why New York's cap on charter schools should be lifted.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/charter-school-competition-in-new-york.html. Thanks!

Race To The Top Puts Teachers On The Bottom

The U.S. Department of Education is asking states to build comprehensive and coherent plans built around the four areas of reform outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The final application forms, rules and explanations have just been released for states to qualify for a share of $4.35 billion in the "Race to the Top" Fund.

The application requires states to document their past success and outline their plans to extend their reforms by using college- and career-ready standards and assessments, building a workforce of highly effective educators, creating educational data systems to support student achievement, and turning around their lowest-performing schools.

The $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top Fund is an unprecedented federal investment in reform. Duncan will reserve up to $350 million to help states create assessments aligned to common sets of standards. The remaining $4 billion will be awarded in a national competition.

To qualify, states must have no legal barriers to linking student growth and achievement data to teachers and principals for the purposes of evaluation. They also must have the department's approval for their plans for both phases of the Recovery Act's State Fiscal Stabilization Fund prior to being awarded a grant.

The final application also clarifies that states should use multiple measures to evaluate teachers and principals, including a strong emphasis on the growth in achievement of their students. But it also reinforces that successful applicants will need to have rigorous teacher and principal evaluation programs and use the results of teacher evaluations to inform what happens in the schools.

In Race to the Top, the department will hold two rounds of competition for the grants. For the first round, it will accept states' applications until the middle of January, 2010. Peer reviewers will evaluate the applications and the department will announce the winners of the first round of funding next spring.

Applications for the second round will be due June 1, 2010, with the announcement of all the winners by Sept. 30, 2010.

Teacher effectiveness gets the most weight (28 percent) in the scoring process for the race to the top.

And a "significant" part of teacher effectiveness is improvement in test scores.

As Stephen Sawchuk writes in his Teacher Beat blog

Teacher Elements of Final Race to the Top Guidelines

...The definition for "effective teachers" has changed, and as Teacher Beat predicted not long ago, the guidelines now explicitly state that teacher evaluations must include "multiple measures" in addition to basing a "significant part" of the evaluation on test scores or other measures of student growth.

The supplemental measures the guidelines recommend include observation-based assessments of performance and evidence of leadership roles, such as serving as a mentor or the leader of a professional-learning community.

But the notice still does not define what a "significant part" means with respect to test scores. That could, potentially, be problematic. (Is 10 percent significant? 50 percent?)

The teacher-quality criteria that will by far garner the most points for a state is by putting into place systems to tie the results of teacher and principal evaluations to decisions involving professional development, compensation, promotion, tenure-granting, and dismissal.

In a new element that is almost sure to upset folks at teachers' colleges, the scoring criteria direct reviewers to give more points to a state that permits alternative routes to operate outside of schools of education than those that restrict such routes to schools of education.

Teachers and teacher unions are quite upset about this focus on teachers and test scores. They feel it is unfair to evaluate teachers this way, when they have so little control over curriculum, resources and parental support. Basically their whole future must be tied to results that are influenced as much by outside factors as by what they do in the classroom.

Here's what Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, has to say on the subject:

Teachers and principals are central to any effort to improve schools, but they can’t do it alone. The best Race to the Top grants will develop specific supports for students and staff, such as early childhood education, professional development, and community schools that provide wraparound services for students and their families.

and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

We are disappointed that the administration continues to focus so heavily on tying students’ test scores to individual teachers. The continuing eligibility requirement that states must not have any barriers to linking data on student achievement or growth to teachers and principals for evaluation purposes misses the mark.

One other element of Race to the Top is a strong suggestion that teacher unions be involved in states' proposals.

Here's what Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, has to say on that:

We know that many states have begun the application process, but that not all are involving teachers and their unions in a meaningful way. We take Education Department officials at their word when they say they will look for meaningful collaboration in the state Race to the Top applications.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

Educators are willing to accept responsibility for student learning and for being evaluated based on criteria they help develop, and we look forward to working with the administration to ensure that its goal of true multiple measures in teacher evaluation systems is realized.

Willingness to encourage charter schools are a big part of the picture as well, but that is a subject for a whole new post.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/race-to-top-puts-teachers-on-bottom.html. Thanks!

Can High Quality Schools Close Achievement Gap?

Are High Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap? Evidence from a Social Experiment in Harlem

Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which combines community investments with reform minded charter schools, is one of the most ambitious social experiments to alleviate poverty of our time. The authors provide the first empirical test of the causal impact of HCZ on educational outcomes, with an eye toward informing the long-standing debate whether schools alone can eliminate the achievement gap or whether the issues that poor children bring to school are too much for educators alone to overcome. Both lottery and instrumental variable identification strategies lead us to the same story: Harlem Children’s Zone is effective at increasing the achievement of the poorest minority children. Taken at face value, the effects in middle school are enough to close the black-white achievement gap in mathematics and reduce it by nearly half in English Language Arts. The effects in elementary school close the racial achievement gap in both subjects. The authors conclude by presenting four pieces of evidence that high-quality schools or high-quality schools coupled with community investments generate the achievement gains. Community investments alone cannot explain the results.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/can-high-quality-schools-close.html. Thanks!

Why do they ask "why"

Curiosity plays a big part in preschoolers' lives. A new study that explored why young children ask so many "why" questions concludes that children are motivated by a desire for explanation.

The study, by researchers at the University of Michigan, appears in the November/December 2009 issue of the journal Child Development.

The researchers carried out two studies of 2- to 5-year-olds, focusing on their "how" and "why" questions, as well as their requests for explanatory information, and looking carefully at the children's reactions to the answers they received from adults. In the first study, the researchers examined longitudinal transcripts of six children's everyday conversations with parents, siblings, and visitors at home from ages 2 to 4. In the second study, they looked at the laboratory-based conversations of 42 preschoolers, using toys, storybooks, and videos to prompt the children, ages 3 to 5, to ask questions.

By looking at how the children reacted to the answers they received to their questions, the researchers found that children seem to be more satisfied when they receive an explanatory answer than when they do not. In both studies, when preschoolers got an explanation, they seemed satisfied (they agreed or asked a new follow-up question). But when they got answers that weren't explanations, they seemed dissatisfied and were more likely to repeat their original question or provide an alternative explanation.

"Examining conversational exchanges, and in particular children's reactions to the different types of information they get from adults in response to their own requests, confirms that young children are motivated to actively seek explanations," according to the researchers. "They use specific conversational strategies to obtain that information. When preschoolers ask 'why' questions, they're not merely trying to prolong conversation, they're trying to get to the bottom of things."

The moderate sample size means that the study cannot be generalized to all children, but the research clearly suggests that by age 2, children contribute actively to the process of learning about the world around them.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/why-do-they-ask.html. Thanks!

Bias Awareness Affects School Performance

Most children actively notice and think about race. A new study has found that children develop an awareness about racial stereotypes early, and that those biases can be damaging.

The study, by researchers at Rush University and Yale University, appears in the November/December 2009 issue of the journal Child Development.

This study looked at more than 120 elementary school children from an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse area of the United States. Children were asked questions to determine their ability to understand another person's stereotypical beliefs as well as their own comprehension of broadly held stereotypes. They were also asked about their own experiences with discrimination. In addition, the children's parents completed questionnaires asking about their parenting.

Between ages 5 and 11, the researchers found, children become aware that many people believe stereotypes, including stereotypes about academic ability (for example, how intelligent certain racial and ethnic groups are). When children become aware of these types of bias about their own racial or ethnic group, it can affect how they respond to everyday situations, ranging from interacting with others to taking tests. For example, African American and Latino youths who were aware of broadly held stereotypes about their groups performed poorly on a standardized test, confirming the negative stereotype in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"These results have important implications for social policy," according to Clark McKown, assistant professor of pediatrics and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center, who led the study. "Specifically, they suggest the need for educational policies and comprehensive programs to reduce stereotypes and their consequences early in children's school careers."
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/bias-awareness-affects-school.html. Thanks!

Reforming Principals and Teachers Isn't Enough

To Turn Around Low-Performing Schools

Education Secretary Arne Duncan's far-reaching efforts to transform the country's lowest-performing schools into successful ones don't reach far enough, according to a new report from The Century Foundation. In "Turnaround Schools That Work: Moving Beyond Separate but Equal," Richard Kahlenberg details why "turnaround" approaches that focus on changing principals and teachers but fail to address issues related to parents and students have fallen short of expectations. In the report, he also looks at charter schools, such as Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools and the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) Promise Academies. He finds that, while these schools have been highly successful with low income students, the models would not likely be successfully employed to improve student achievement in the nation's five thousand lowest-performing public schools, which are the focus of Duncan's current efforts.

In the brief, Kahlenberg reviews the differences between high- and low-poverty schools in terms of student aspirations, preparedness, mobility, and behavior; parental involvement and political power to push for more resources for their child's school; and teachers' quality, experience, attrition, and likelihood to be teaching out of their fields in core academic subjects. He quotes several researchers who believe that, in order to attract and retain highly qualified teachers in high poverty schools, their salaries would need to be increased by 25 to 43 percent. He also reports that there is no evidence that teachers unions-a common scapegoat for school failures-adversely affect student achievement.

He finds that the successful charter schools in high-poverty areas are not "scalable" because they rely on self-selected motivated students and parents, who apply to the schools, and are willing to participate in programs that include longer school days, parent contracts, and required weekend activities. In addition, teachers are often required to work longer days and be available to students and parents during the evening hours. Statistics show high attrition rates for students and teachers in many of these models.

Kahlenberg recommends using magnet schools that integrate students by socioeconomic status as a better approach to turning around schools. While acknowledging that there are both successful and unsuccessful magnet schools, he reports that there is evidence of school districts around the country that have successfully used this approach to raise student achievement. He notes that turning around failing schools through magnet programs relies on positive incentives rather than compulsory busing, which overcomes a political obstacle that previous integration plans faced.

According to the report, the number of districts using socioeconomic status in student assignment has increased dramatically over the past decade, and includes jurisdictions from Omaha, Nebraska, to San Francisco, California; from La Crosse, Wisconsin, to McKinney, Texas. He writes that 3.5 million students live in roughly 70 school districts with some form of socioeconomic integration plan in place. The most recent addition to that list came this week when Chicago, Illinois, proposed a socioeconomic integration plan in its school districts.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/reforming-principals-and-teachers-isn.html. Thanks!

PA Preschoolers Make Big Gains

Three-Year Study of 10,000 At-Risk Children

A three-year independent study of 10,000 Pennsylvania students at risk for future poor academic performance has found that significant numbers of children, ranging in age groups and categories, showed marked improvement in early learning abilities as a direct result of enrollment in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs.

The study, one of the largest ever conducted on high-risk preschoolers in the country, was funded through a $1 million Heinz Endowments grant. Its focus was on children raised in poverty who were enrolled in programs covered by Pre-K Counts. The statewide partnership of foundations and the state Office of Child Development and Early Learning led to the creation of certified, high-quality preschool classrooms across Pennsylvania.

The study was conducted by the SPECS Research Team from the University of Pittsburgh’s Early Childhood Partnerships Program and managed through the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. SPECS for Pre-K Counts found that children who participate in a high quality early learning program dramatically improve their prospects for success in their formal school years.

“We believe that this is the definitive study in Pennsylvania on the issue of whether quality preschool education has been worth the public and private investments,” Heinz Endowments Chairman Teresa Heinz said today in announcing the results. “The answer to that, we can say now based on hard numbers, is a resounding yes. This is the evidence that will allow us to finally declare victory in the debate that Pennsylvania has been mired in for much too long – whether spending modest amounts on preschoolers’ early education will improve their long-term school performance.”

Among the study’s most significant findings:

All at-risk children in Pre-K programs demonstrated significant gains in development and early learning skills in a range of basic subject areas, from reading to math to socialization and behavior.
Eighty percent of the children in the study met critical state school success competency standards for transition to kindergarten.
Children from every ethnic group represented in the study – African American, American Indian, Asian, Caucasian and Hispanic among them – made significant gains.
Greater than two of every three children with developmental delays were able to attain a low-average to average level of performance at the end of their time in the program – meaning that school districts participating in the Pre-K Counts program were able to dramatically reduce their special education placement rates.
Historically, participating school districts showed an 18% special education placement rate for high-risk children; the rate for Pre-K Counts children was only 2 percent.
Nearly 7,000 high-risk Pre-K Counts children exceeded expected competencies in basic areas at transition to kindergarten, and the skills of 5-year-olds from the program exceeded those of age peers on a nationally standardized measure of early learning in spoken language, reading, math, classroom behavior and daily living skills.
Mentored programs improved quality and teaching, which promoted child success.
Dr. Stephen Bagnato, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at Pitt, who led the SPECS team that conducted the study, and who has directed previous evaluations of early childhood learning programs in the Pittsburgh region and nationally, said the overarching conclusion that can be drawn from the findings is that “quality preschool programs for vulnerable children are not add-ons or luxuries. They are essential to the future school success of these children,” he said. “So we know a system like Pre-K Counts works well, and now we just need to find out more about the parts of the system that work really well.”

When the study is considered in its entirety, Mrs. Heinz said, it validates nearly all the suppositions that led the Endowments and other philanthropic partners – the William Penn Foundation of Philadelphia and the Grable Foundation in Pittsburgh – to begin making significant investments in creating a high-quality pre-school education system nearly 15 years ago. The Endowments’ grant making to support early childhood education strategies totals
$44.5 million for that period.

“There have been some tough lessons learned along the way in our work,” Mrs. Heinz said. “You can’t take on a big idea like creating a new education system for our youngest and neediest children and make the doing of it risk free,” she said. “But this study endorses the course that we took – to build a network of partners one community at a time, stick to strong evaluation, set standards, involve parents and train teachers.”

Mrs. Heinz said the study also affirms Gov. Ed Rendell’s determination during the recent budget battle to fight attempts in the Legislature to cut funding for early childhood education programs, including Pre-K Counts. “He was a hero to the educational system in that fight,” she said.

Harriet Dichter, deputy secretary of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning in the state Departments of Education and Public Welfare, and the point person in the Rendell administration’s strategy for early childhood education, praised the study as a landmark validation of the public-private partnership model in building a quality preschool education system statewide.

“Our office was created by Gov. Rendell to raise the priority level for early learning and to create an early learning system. It would have been unthinkable for us not to have partnered with a foundation community that has been so committed to early childhood education,” Ms. Dichter said. “The degree of foundation involvement is unique among the states and the funding of this study by The Heinz Endowments is just one important example of why Pennsylvania has been able to make significant strides.”

Among the 21 school districts – both urban and rural – covered in the Pre-K Counts study is the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ programs. The district has about 2,200 children, ages 3 to 5, in district-run classrooms. The support comes from a variety of sources – federal Head Start, state Accountability Block Grants and foundation support supplied through Pre-K Counts.

District Superintendent Mark Roosevelt said one of the most important initiatives the district has undertaken to improve learning, close the racial achievement gap and increase the numbers of students going on to college or other post-high school education is The Pittsburgh Promise, a scholarship program that will provide as much as $10,000 per year in tuition payments for qualifying graduates to pursue higher education.

“What this study tells us is that our efforts to ensure students are Promise ready in high school must begin with preschool education classes,” Roosevelt said. The impressive findings on learning readiness, he said, should remind teachers and administrators in the main school system that “these children are coming to us well-prepared and we need to treat it like a relay race. We need to be able to pick up the baton and keep it going.”

Marge Petruska, senior director of the Endowments’ Children, Youth & Families Program, who devised the foundation’s first early childhood funding strategies and brought in other foundation partners, said one of the most heartening findings of the study was its endorsement of school-community collaborations as effective in building better learning environments for preschoolers. “The training of child care providers, teacher mentoring, rating systems for early education programs – all of these helped create a top-notch system, and that was a key funding area for the foundation community and we are very proud.”

To view the executive summary of the research report, click here. (The full study will be available on this site at the end of Nov.)
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/pa-preschoolers-make-big-gains.html. Thanks!

New brain findings on dyslexic children


Good readers learn from repeating auditory signals, poor readers do not

The vast majority of school-aged children can focus on the voice of a teacher amid the cacophony of the typical classroom thanks to a brain that automatically focuses on relevant, predictable and repeating auditory information, according to new research from Northwestern University.

But for children with developmental dyslexia, the teacher's voice may get lost in the background noise of banging lockers, whispering children, playground screams and scraping chairs, the researchers say. Their study appears in the Nov. 12 issue of Neuron.

Recent scientific studies suggest that children with developmental dyslexia -- a neurological disorder affecting reading and spelling skills in 5 to 10 percent of school aged children -- have difficulties separating relevant auditory information from competing noise.

The research from Northwestern University's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory not only confirms those findings but presents biological evidence that children who report problems hearing speech in noise also suffer from a measurable neural impairment that adversely affects their ability to make use of regularities in the sound environment.

"The ability to sharpen or fine-tune repeating elements is crucial to hearing speech in noise because it allows for superior 'tagging' of voice pitch, an important cue in picking out a particular voice within background noise," said Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory.

In the article "Context-dependent encoding in the human auditory brainstem relates to hearing speech-in-noise: Implications for developmental dyslexia," Kraus and co-investigators Bharath Chandrasekaran, Jane Hornickel, Erika Skoe and Trent Nicol demonstrate that the remarkable ability of the brain to tune into relevant aspects in the soundscape is carried out by an adaptive auditory system that continuously changes its activity based on the demands of context.

Good and poor readers were asked to watch a video while the speech sound "da" was presented to them through an earphone in two different sessions during which the brain's response to these sounds was continuously measured.

In the first session, "da" was repeated over and over and over again (in what the researchers call a repetitive context). In the second, "da" was presented randomly amid other speech sounds (in what the researchers call a variable context). In an additional session, the researchers performed behavioral tests in which the children were asked to repeat sentences that were presented to them amid increasing degrees of noise.

"Even though the children's attention was focused on a movie, the auditory system of the good readers 'tuned in' to the repeatedly presented speech sound context and sharpened the sound's encoding. In contrast, poor readers did not show an improvement in encoding with repetition," said Chandrasekaran, lead author of the study. "We also found that children who had an adaptive auditory system performed better on the behavioral tests that required them to perceive speech in noisy backgrounds."

The study suggests that in addition to conventional reading and spelling based interventions, poor readers who have difficulties processing information in noisy backgrounds could benefit from the employment of relatively simple strategies, such as placing the child in front of the teacher or using wireless technologies to enhance the sound of a teacher's voice for an individual student.

Interestingly, the researchers found that dyslexic children showed enhanced brain activity in the variable condition. This may enable dyslexic children to represent their sensory environment in a broader and arguably more creative manner, although at the cost of the ability to exclude irrelevant signals (e.g. noise).

"The study brings us closer to understanding sensory processing in children who experience difficulty excluding irrelevant noise. It provides an objective index that can help in the assessment of children with reading problems," Kraus says.

For nearly two decades, Kraus has been trying to determine why some children with good hearing have difficulties learning to read and spell while others do not. Early in her work, because the deficits she was exploring related to the complex processes of reading and writing, Kraus studied how the cortex -- the part of the brain responsible for thinking --encoded sounds. She and her colleagues now understand that problems associated with the encoding of sound also can occur in lower perceptual structures.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-brain-findings-on-dyslexic-children.html. Thanks!

Student Enrollment and Staff Counts

Public elementary and secondary schools enrolled about 49 million students during the 2007-08 school year, according to the report "Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment and Staff Counts From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2007-08."

The report, released by the National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences, also found that public elementary and secondary schools and local education agencies employed a total of 6.2 million full-time staff in the 2007-08 school year, of which 51 percent were teachers.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/student-enrollment-and-staff-counts.html. Thanks!

Language support key children with autism

“Pupils with these neuropsychiatric disorders are often reported as having problems with spoken and written activities. However, relatively little research has been carried out within the field. Considering how important such skills are for coping independently in school and in working life and society in general, it is of great importance that we become better informed about these issues”, considers Jakob Åsberg, who is publicly defending his thesis in psychology.

Among other things, the findings in the five studies that comprise the thesis demonstrate that pupils with autism or Asperger’s syndrome often have problems with comprehension, in particular with continuous texts such as stories. However, it was common that these children and young people were able to read individual words correctly and with a satisfactory flow, even though there was significant variation within the group in this respect.
The pupils’ test results improved

“In one study we worked in conjunction with school staff and tested whether it was possible for a group of pupils with autism or Asperger’s syndrome to improve in understanding the content of stories through structured and concentrated teaching. We based it on the idea that teaching such as this should make it clear to the pupils what reading and listening with understanding actually involves. It was encouraging that the pupils’ test results improved after four weeks teaching. There does therefore appear to be potential for positive change, even though the results in this sub-study should still be regarded as provisional”, says Jakob Åsberg._

Another study focused specifically on girls with autism or ADHD. It emerged in this study that girls with ADHD frequently have more general problems when it comes to dexterity in writing.

“Both reading and spelling words and reading comprehension seem to be difficult for a lot of children with ADHD. It is important that teachers, parents and other professionals are vigilant regarding the occurrence of such difficulties and that the pupils are offered the support to which they are entitled”, says Jakob Åsberg. _
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/language-support-key-children-with.html. Thanks!

Handwriting a real problem for children w/autism

Handwriting skills are crucial for success in school, communication, and building children's self-esteem. The first study to examine handwriting quality in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has uncovered a relationship between fine motor control and poor quality of handwriting in children with ASD, according to research published in the November 10, 2009, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study, conducted by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, compared handwriting samples, motor skills, and visuospatial abilities of children with ASD to typically developing children. The researchers found that overall, the handwriting of children with ASD was worse than typically developing children. Specifically, children with ASD had trouble with forming letters, however in other categories, such as size, alignment, and spacing, their handwriting was comparable to typically developing children. These findings build on previous studies examining motor skills and ASD conducted in 2009 by Kennedy Krieger researchers.

Parents of children with ASD are often the first ones to observe their child's poor handwriting quality. This study identifies fine motor control as a root source of the problem and demonstrates that children with ASD may not experience difficulties across all domains, just forming letters. By identifying handwriting as a legitimate impairment, parents, teachers and therapists will now be able to pursue techniques that will improve children's handwriting.

"The ability to keep up in classes and convey ideas through handwriting is fundamental to life," said Christina Fuentes, lead study author and researcher at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. "Knowing the causes of impairment allows us to strategically identify techniques that will help children with ASD improve their handwriting. Our study suggests that teaching children how to form letters, in combination with general training of fine motor control through techniques that include stabilizing the arm and the use of proper writing utensils, may be the best direction for improving handwriting performance."

About the study

Researchers administered a total of three tests to 14 children with ASD and 14 typically developing children. The handwriting samples were scored on legibility, form, alignment, size and spacing. The children's motor skills were then assessed using the Revised Physical and Neurological Examination for Subtle Sign (PANESS). The PANESS consisted of multiple categories such as gait tasks (heel walking), balance tasks (hopping on one foot) and timed movements (repetitive and patterned movements). Lastly, the children's visuospatial skills were assessed using the Block Design test in which they were timed to reconstruct large designs by properly assembling a set of blocks.

With no significant difference between the typically developing children and children with ASD groups in age, perceptual reasoning IQ, and the Block Design scores, a significant difference was found for performance on the PANESS, with the typically developing children performing better. Researchers found children with ASD's total handwriting scores were lower than typically developing children due to the quality of their letter formation. Researchers also found that motor ability, specifically for timed movements, was a strong predictor of handwriting performance in children with ASD as opposed to age, intelligence, and visuospatial abilities.

"Identifying this fine motor deficiency in handwriting provides important insight about ASD," said Dr. Amy Bastian, corresponding study author and Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. "It provides another example of motor skill problems that may give us cues for other deficits with socialization and communication. Furthermore, occupational therapists and teachers can now take the information from this study and apply it to the students they see on a daily basis."
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/handwriting-real-problem-for-children.html. Thanks!

New and Experienced Teachers in a School Reform

New and Experienced Teachers in a School Reform Initiative: The Example of Reading First

This study compares the experiences and perceptions of new and experienced teachers in 235 schools in six western states (Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming) that have adopted the Reading First school reform initiative. "New and experienced teachers in a school reform initiative: the example of Reading First," a NCEE/REL Issues & Answers Report, uses previously collected data from surveys and interviews. The study considers four areas of the reform initiative for bringing all K-3 students up to grade level in reading by grade 3: instructional coaches, teacher collaboration, use of student assessment data, and support for reform. The study found differences between new and experienced teachers in their interactions with reading coaches and in how confident they are in using data for tasks such as grouping students and understanding schoolwide trends. The study found no differences between the two groups in their perceptions of collaborative meetings or their overall support for Reading First.

Complete study:
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-and-experienced-teachers-in-school.html. Thanks!

Education Stimulus Funds Described

ED Recovery Act Report: Summary of Programs and State-by-State Data

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided approximately $100 billion to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) with the initial goal of delivering emergency education funding to states. Immediately after President Obama signed ARRA into law on February 17, 2009, ED acted swiftly to provide a large portion of these funds to states in response to drastic budget shortfalls. Over $67 billion in formula grants were awarded as of September 30, 2009.

The largest portion of ARRA funds, $35.4 billion, was delivered through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF). In addition, $12.6 billion in ARRA funding was added to Title I, IDEA, and other formula grant programs, and $8.7 billion was allocated for Student Financial Assistance (Pell Grants and Federal Work Study).

As part of the unprecedented transparency requirements of ARRA, the first quarterly public accounting of all expenditures to date was posted by the Recovery, Accountability, and Transparency Board on October 30, 2009. The data, now available on www.recovery.gov, indicate that approximately 400,000 jobs have been retained or created through ED grants. Of these jobs, 325,000 are specifically education jobs, with the remaining portion attributable to more general public service positions. It reveals that the rapid distribution of this funding helped states fill significant education budget gaps in order to avert layoffs of personnel in school districts and universities across the nation.

This report describes each of the ARRA education grants and their allocations. It also has a profile of each state that summarizes any restoration of education budgets by ARRA funds, and compiles all reported information regarding the state's use of ARRA funds per program. Lastly, this report explains the next phase of ARRA education grants and ED's ongoing efforts to regularly reach out to applicants and stakeholders to provide as much information as possible on the criteria, requirements, and process for each of the grants.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/education-stimulus-funds-described.html. Thanks!

How to Triple The Number of Fixed Failing Schools

Without Getting Any Better at Fixing Schools

We can triple (or possibly quadruple) the number of failing schools fixed within five years without getting any better at fixing failing schools. How? By shortening the time that passes before recognizing failure and retrying major change. This goes for starting fresh and turnarounds-from-within.

In short, it’s education lore that major change efforts take five years to work. In other sectors, people don’t get five years to pull businesses out of bankruptcy or show start-up results to venture capital funders. Why? Because most turnarounds and start-ups fail, and savvy investors know it. If we care as much about our children as our wallets, we must:

Commit to faster retry rates in failing school fix efforts, one or two years not five.
Identify the “leading indicators” of success/failure that show up in years one and two of fix efforts.

Adopt “spigot on” school-and-leader replacement supplies, since so many efforts will fail the first time.

Here’s the power of faster retry rates: If a school district fixes 30% of its failed schools the first time out (a high rate by cross-sector standards), shortening the “identify failure and retry” rate from five to two years would nearly double the total percentage of schools fixed within five years from 30% to 58%. Shortening it to one year would drive the five year fix rate up to 83%. If the initial success rate is more dismal, say 10%, shortening the retry cycle from five years to one year quadruples the number of schools fixed within five years.

Complete report.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/how-to-triple-number-of-fixed-failing.html. Thanks!

Reach more children with the great teachers

3X for All: Extending the Reach of Education's Best

Teacher effectiveness has the largest impact of school effects on student learning, and research indicates that top-quintile teachers produce learning gains three times (3X) that of bottom-quintile teachers. However, the supply of these “3X” teachers is limited. Meanwhile, 3X teachers affect only a small portion of children each year, no more than bottom quintile teachers.

Instead of just trying to recruit more great teachers, what if schools chose to reach more children with the great teachers they already have? Reach extension can take several forms, such as redesigning jobs to concentrate 3X teacher time on instruction, putting star teachers in charge of more children’s learning, and using technology to extend 3X teacher reach and meet their standard. Potential reach-extension methods vary according to the level of “touch,” or direct student interaction with 3X teachers, and “reach,” or number of children served by each 3X instructor.

By eliminating rote and non-instructional duties from 3X teachers’ schedules, many methods would increase touch and reach simultaneously − especially benefiting students who, because of age or learning needs, learn best with high levels of teacher interaction (see page 11 for examples). Star teachers whose reach is extended would have unprecedented opportunities for achievement and could be paid more from existing per-pupil funding streams.
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/reach-more-children-with-great-teachers.html. Thanks!

Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative Report

A new report shows that school districts participating in the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative substantially improved the safety of their students. According to the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over a three-year period, school districts participating in the Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant program reported fewer students involved in violent incidents, decreased levels of experienced and witnessed violence, and improvements in overall school safety and violence prevention.

Key findings from the Safe Schools/Healthy Students National Evaluation include:

• A 15 percent decrease in the number of students involved in violent incidents during the grant period (from 17, 800 in year 1 to 15,163 in year 3).
• A 12 percent decrease in the number of students reporting that they had experienced or witnessed violence from year 1 of the grant period to year 3.
• Most staff at grantee schools reported that the Initiative had made their schools safer. By year 3 of the grant, 84 percent said the Initiative had improved school safety, 77 percent said it had reduced violence on campus, and 75 percent said it had reduced violence in the community.

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students program supports the implementation and enhancement of integrated, comprehensive community-wide plans that create safe and drug-free schools and promote healthy childhood development. Under the initiative, school districts, in partnership with local public mental-health agencies, law-enforcement and juvenile justice entities, must implement a comprehensive, community-wide plan that focuses on the following elements:

• Safe school environments and violence prevention activities
• Alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention activities
• Student behavioral, social and emotional supports
• Mental health services
• Early childhood social and emotional learning programs.

Since 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Justice have implemented the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, which has provided more than $2.1 billion to local educational, mental health, law enforcement and juvenile justice partnerships.

For more information on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students visit: http://www.sshs.samhsa.gov/apply/default.aspx
You have read this article with the title November 2009. You can bookmark this page URL http://universosportinguista.blogspot.com/2009/11/safe-schoolshealthy-students-initiative.html. Thanks!