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The Center's Contract Ended on September 30, 2009.
This section was used to post school reform news including new programs and policies, newly released studies and reports, and other press releases. The contract for The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement ended on September 30, 2009, and this news scanning service is no longer provided. Older news items are archived for your convenience.

Issues & Answers Report Analyzes Hispanic High School Assessment Performance Print E-mail
The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast & Islands has released a new report in the Issues & Answers series, Analyzing Performance by Hispanic High School Students on the Massachusetts State Assessment, which examines Hispanic high school students’ performance on a state assessments tests in English language arts and mathematics. The report compares scores of grade 10 Hispanic and non-Hispanic students on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests from the 2002-03 thru 2005-06 school years. The authors sought to determine what characteristics were associated with performance on the MCAS tests using a multilevel regression modeling. The report includes a definition of key terms, study methods and limitations, suggestions for further research, and a review of research on Hispanic students’ academic achievement.

UCLA Brief Investigates State Education Agencies’ Efforts to Enhance School Improvement Print E-mail
State Education Agencies & Learning Supports: Enhancing School Improvement, a policy and practice analysis brief from the Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA looks at how state education agencies (SEAs) currently conceive and organize efforts to guide and support districts and schools. The brief details a review of the SEAs in 50 states and the District of Columbia, of which eight SEAs are shifting from compliance-driven frameworks to removing barriers and supporting teaching and learning. The analysis is based on SEA policy priorities, intervention frameworks, and operational infrastructure for transforming supports into an integrated system of intervention. The report offers recommendations based on their analysis for how to SEAs can transform district and schools to support teaching and learning.

Report Details the Characteristics, Experiences and Changes in High School Dropouts Print E-mail
The National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) has released, Late High School Dropouts: Characteristics, Experiences, and Changes Across Cohorts, a report that presents characteristics and changes among spring 2004 high school dropouts. The data is drawn from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), and the High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study (HS&B). The report provides definitions, background characteristics, teacher and parent expectations and evaluations, academic achievement, and experiences of dropouts. Findings include a decrease in the dropout rate from 2004 to 1982, and from 1992 to 1982.

Using Distance Education to Improve Academic Achievement and Reduce Costs Print E-mail
Getting Students More Learning Time Online: Distance Education in Support of Expanded Learning Time in K-12 Schools, a report from the Center for American Progress outlines the steps necessary for making distance education courses uniformly available to expand school learning time. The report discusses efforts to incorporate distance education, the factors contributing to the success of distance learning, and the implications for expanded learning time through distance education. The report concludes that online courses lead to academic improvement and cost savings. Suggestions for further research are also included.

Report Details State Education Agencies’ Initiatives to Support Data-Driven Decision Making Print E-mail
The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast & Islands has released a new report in the Issues & Answers series, How State Education Agencies in the Northeast and Islands Region Support Data-Driven Decision Making in Districts and Schools, which examines the initiatives of state education agencies in the Northeast and Islands Region to support data-driven decision making in districts and schools. The report describes the service providers that support this work and identifies four components of data-driven decision making initiatives. The four components include: centralized data system/warehouse; tools for data analysis and reporting; training on data system/warehouses and tools; and professional development in using data for decision making. The report includes study limitations, suggestions for further research, profiles of state initiatives, and a catalogue of service providers and profiles.

Policy Brief Recommends Expanding Dual-Language Programs to Assist Hispanic Children Print E-mail
The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) has released the policy brief Young Hispanic Children: Boosting Opportunities for Learning that summarizes how to assist Hispanic children, the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, boost academic efforts in reading and math. The authors recommend expanding early educational opportunities for Hispanic children from three to five years old, and investing in dual-language instead of English-only programs to encourage attendance and improving learning. The brief summarizes research from a longer report from SRCD.

Report Details Restructuring Efforts in Three Maryland School Districts Print E-mail
The Center on Education Policy has released Looking For Ways to Make Progress: School Restructuring in Maryland, 2008-09 Follow-Up Report, a report that looks at restructuring efforts in Maryland in the 2008-09 school year. This fourth annual report, part of a broader study of restructuring in six states, gathers information from three Maryland districts. The authors found that due to a differentiated accountability pilot program schools with comprehensive needs are more clearly identified, and the use of staff replacement as a restructuring strategy, although common, makes Maryland an interesting testing ground for this improvement strategy.

Five Recommendations for Leveraging Stimulus Dollars to Improve Student Performance Print E-mail
Smart Options: Investing the Recovery Funds for Student Success, a report from the Coalition for Student Achievement, makes recommendations in response to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The report details five recommendations for educators and policy makers on investing federal stimulus dollars to improve student performance. The five recommendations include: developing national standards for testing; producing data that educators, policymakers, and parents can use; evaluating teachers in a meaningful way; turning around low-performing schools; and helping struggling students. Each recommendation includes a definition of the intervention, why it is necessary, suggestions for policy makers and educators, and expected benefits.

State Report Makes Recommendations to Improve Adolescent Reading Achievement Print E-mail
he Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) has released, A Critical Mission: Making Adolescent Reading an Immediate Priority in SREB States, which makes recommendations to improve the reading skills of middle and high school students. The report recommends member states should: identify reading skills students need to meet state standards in key subject areas, assist teachers to incorporate these skills into curricula, create intervention programs, and to prepare educators and administrators to help students improve their reading skills. States are encouraged to draft plans to assist districts to implement these policies.