Pathways to Student success and Excellence

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The Center for High Impact Philanthropy December 2008 School of Social Policy & Practice University of Pennsylvania Pathways to Student Success A Guide to Translating Good Intentions into Meaningful Impact Hilary J. Rhodes, Kathleen Noonan, Katherina RosquetaDecember 2008 The Center for High Impact Philanthropy School of Social Policy & Practice University of Pennsylvania Pathways to Student Success A Guide to Translating Good Intentions into Meaningful Impact Hilary J. Rhodes, Kathleen Noonan, Katherina Rosqueta Philanthropists can address the achievement gaps in the U.S. by targeting student needs both inside and outside of school. Despite good intentions, however, individual philanthropists often lack the time, relevant experience, and expertise needed to understand where their capital can have the greatest impact. In this guide, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy offers analyses and advice to overcome these hurdles and help individuals find opportunities to produce as much good as possible with the dollars available. We analyze the education pathway that students exi mu ss t t ing resources, and engaging and supporting navigate to achieve success in school and iden st tif uden y ts in college-track courseP w oo sts re k; condary interim targets for academic success. e Th pathwa ey d ucation: implementing long-term, wraparound comprises four phases: early childhood and preschso uo pl p,o rt services with tuition guarantee, and primary school, secondary school, and postsecond pa rr oy v iding social support through peer networks education. In each phase, we identify what at-r an isd uni k versity sta.ff students need and how philanthropists can assist. A number of strategies can improve the impact We provide examples of ways in which philanthropo is f ts a philanthropic gift. We oer ff advice on getting can and have helped. es Th e include: Early childhood started in education philanthropy, including how to and preschool: building preschool skills and settin set g a strategy, connect with networks of education up periodic visits by nurses to hom Pes; rimary school: experts, evaluate investment ideas, assess post- improving early literacy instruction and institdo utn in ag tion impact, and avoid practices that are known comprehensive school reforS m; econdary school: not to work. extending learning time through apprenticeships and aer ft school activities, connecting schools with PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS iiiTable of Contents ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT 7 HOW WE SELECT OPPORTUNITIES TO HIGHLIGHT 10 I. BACKGROUND 12 Defining the problem 12 What does it mean to be “at risk”? 13 The role of government in education reform 13 Understanding student needs 14 How philanthropists can help 14 II. FINDING OPPORTUNITIES ALONG THE EDUCATION PATHWAy 16 Phase I: early childhood and preschool 19 2 Building school readiness skills 22 Phase II: Primary school 27 Improving the quality of literacy instruction 31 2 Phase III: Secondary school 37 2 Extending learning time through afterschool activities 43 Engaging and supporting students in college-track coursework 46 2 Phase IV: Postsecondary education 49 Implementing long-term, wraparound supports with tuition guarantee 53 2 2 Case example iv THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro PyIII. TRANSLATING GOOD INTENTIONS INTO HIGH IMPACT PHILANTHROPy 57 1. Set a philanthropic focus 57 2. Select an organization to support 58 3. Measure what matters after you have written the check 60 4. Avoid proven mistakes in education philanthropy 64 APPENDICES 67 Examples of philanthropic “on-ramps” 68 Exemplary models of promising practices mentioned in this report 69 How we calculated cost per impact in education 72 About the authors 73 About the Center for High Impact Philanthropy 73 References and endnotes 74 Advisors and readers inside back cover PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS vABOUT THIS DOCUMENT In this guide, we provide independent, practical advice on how to address achievement gaps in the U.S. education system through high impact, philanthropic gifts. o bjective numerous sources of informatio (P n. lease see diagram below.) For example, we reviewed academic e Th Center for High Impact Philanthropy seeks to research, statistics from the U.S. Department of define philanthropy’s efficient frontier, where invested Education’s National Center on Education Statistics, dollars create the most good. To accomplish this policy briefs from think tanks, program evaluations, mission in education, and thereby support individual financial and performance data on nonprots, fi philanthropists in their capital allocation decisions, practitioner interviews, and the insights of a diverse we set out to answer three key questions: set of thought leaders and educ(S at ee oins rs. ide back What is a meaningful change (impact) to target? cover for the full list of advisors and readers.) What activities lead to that meaningful change for This report is the end result of our research and at-risk students? analysis. We translated our findings into practical guidance on which areas to target and how to How much does it cost to achieve that change? get started. We included contact information for To find the answers, we used a multi-perspective, organizations to help along the way. evidence-informed approach that relies on o ur multi-perspective, evidence-informed approach To meet our goal of providing smart, practical guidance to individual philanthropists, we synthesize the best available information from three domains: research, informed opinion, and field experience. By considering evidence from these three sources, we seek to leverage the strengths while minimizing the limitations of each. We believe the most promising opportunities exist where the recommendations of these three domains overlap. So Ur CeS of Infor MATIon Field experience Practitioner insights Performance assessments Field In-depth case studies experience in Formed opinion Expert opinion Stakeholder input most promising Policy analyses research in Formed research Randomized controlled trials opinion and quasi-experimental studies Modeled analyses (e.g., cost-effectiveness) PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS Structure Scope This report is divided into three sections. In thI e n this report, we focus primarily on “direct service” first section, we discuss the consequences of poo pr rogram models that support disadvantaged academic outcomes for at-risk students and societ studen y ts and/or the teachers trying to engage them. at-large. In the second, we discuss the key probW lem e also focus on efforts led by external groups 1 areas and promising practices in each stage ra ot fh er than on district-driven ref o M rm an s.y education as suggested by the existing evidence bp a hi se l. anthropists choose to work with these groups In the third section, we provide advice on gett bin ecg ause doing so entails fewer of the bureaucratic started in education philanthropy, including co ho n w straints or preconditions that working directly to choose a focus, identify and evaluate investw men ith t a school district may involve, such as a ideas, assess post-donation impact, and avor id ea diness to change at the teacher and administration pitfalls. Together, these three sections provide lev te hl e . (See Changing school practices in the fundamentals for developing an ee ff ctive giving strat ce ag ll yo . ut box below.) e Th issues that we discuss are leverage points that How to use this report philanthropists can target to make a difference in the e Th information in this document can be used in one lives of at-risk students. Readers who already know of four ways: which areas in education they want to address may F und one of the many models discussed. All of the wish to skip directly to the practices that we highlight programs highlighted are “good bets” based on as having a promising record of imp(S ac ee t. table available evidence from multiple sources. of contents.) Changing school practices This strategy is tempting as it leverages existing personnel and infrastructure, thereby potentially reducing the cost to the philanthropist and allowing for greater scale. CIhi n lfac dren t, ’s both Literacy Initiative (p. 31) andA dvancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) (p. 46) successfully utilize existing school resources to achieve attractive cost-per-impact estimates. However, some philanthropists report actively avoiding opportunities to change school practices, citing concerns about whether large, bureaucratic school districts could use their funds wisely. Others hesitate because they anticipate resistance from school leadership, including the superintendent’s office, the school board, and the teachers’ union. At the same time, many educators do not welcome philanthropists’ efforts, fearing the “programmitis” that occurs when a “hot” new model is introduced, only to be dropped once its promoters lose interest. One way an individual can learn whether school leadership can collaborate with funders, steward effective change, and sustain impact is to network with a local foundation that has worked with the school district in the past and is likely to do so again in the future.  THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro Py Promote the entrepreneurial use of these models f uture reports by other organizations. This option makes sense This report is the first in a series on ways to improve when no organization is delivering the model in the education of disadvantaged children in the U.S. the community or when a local organization not In the analyses that follow, we will take a closer look mentioned here is well-positioned to deliver the at each segment of the education pathway (e.g., early model. In some situations, local schools may be childhood), as well as at the broader issues that ae ff ct capable of incorporating the model into their students at every phase. Future reports will investigate standard practice, rather than receiving it as an the philanthropic opportunities in areas such as add-on service from outside nonprots. fi education policy reform, talent recruitment and Create an entirely new model to address an issue retention, infrastructure development, and research outlined in the report. er Th e is plenty of room for to expand the sector’s knowledge base. innovation in the education sector. However, it is To learn more about the work of the Center for High important to watch out for ill-informed models or Impact Philanthropy, please visit our wew bsi ww te . ( misguided vanity projects; these can be distracting, contact us at (215) 573-7266, or and burdensome to schools. u Th s, like all effective email philanthropy, innovation should be shaped by an empirical understanding of what the problems are, where the critical leverage points for intervention exist, and what works (and does not work) for the students of interest. Use the evidence presented in this report to test the value proposition of program models other than the ones we discuss here. Our review of existing practices is not comprehensive. er Th e are many other nonprots fi that are improving students’ lives. When considering nonprots fi that we have not discussed, be sure to assess whether their descriptions of the problems they address and the tools they use are logically consistent with the evidence presented in this document. Funding direct services is by no means the only way to improve educational outcomes. Philanthropists can also consider investments in needed infrastructure (e.g., efforts to bolster the talent pipeline), advocacy to change the rules governing the public education system, and research to expand the sector’s knowledge base. PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS HOW WE SELECT OPPORTUNITIES TO HIGHLIGHT In this guide, we have interspersed case examples and short descriptions of promising practices to show how philanthropic investment can make an impact. Throughout this guide, we identify philanthropic meaningful and not easily manipulated to emphasize “on-ramps”, promising practices that have a reco ch rd ange over true impact. We also conducted of improving disadvantaged students’ chances in fo ter r views with the program’s senior sta. ff In these educational success. We include v fi e in-depth caco se nversations, we learned how the program creates examples in callout boxes, which are marked wit ch ha a nge and how much impact it expects to produce. book symbol ( ) in the Table of Contents. In each 2 In the case examples, we include results from existing phase, we also present brief summaries of additional evaluations to illustrate the program’s impact. promising practices within the text. Taken together, When there were multiple existing evaluations, we these on-ramps provide a list of high impact selected the results from the evaluation with the investment opportunities. most rigorous desig(S n. ee p. 62 to learn more about We selected our case examples based on tp h re o gram evaluation design.) In addition, we linked following criteria: considerations of these results with cost by estimating a cost-per-impact figure. es Th e back of the envelope Targets what current data indicate are unmet estimates can be useful starting points from which student needs to understand what you can realistically achieve with Uses practices that are informed by the existing the money you give (S . ee p.72 for how we calculate evidence base for what works cost per impact in education.) Recognizes and insists on a set of core We also make note of other practices boldf in ace implementation components to ensure impact, or hyperlinked text. es Th e are opportunities that but also demonstrates a willingness to adapt to we are still evaluating, but feel are worth noting, local contexts based on publicly available information such as evaluations, cost-benefit analyses, and expert Has been (or is willing to be) examined by a neutral opinion. third party, in the case of more mature programs For both the case examples and the brief For each case example, we reviewed available descriptions, we applied professional judgment internal and external evaluations assessing the rigor to decide whether the evidence in total creates a clear of the research methods, the number of students signal of progress. e Th end result are the report’s who participated, and the statistical and practical promising practices. relevance of the results. For instance, we examined the researchers’ metrics to see if they were r efer a promising practice to the Center We recognize that there are many practices doing good work for disadvantaged students in the U.S. and welcome recommendations for programs to be considered for future reports. Individuals who wish to recommend a practice that is making a measurable impact on students’ lives can visit our website ( or call us at (215) 573-7266 for instructions. 10 THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro PyWe are supposed to live in the land of opportunity, where all young people who are willing to work for it have the chance to succeed. But the way our schools are now, opportunity is something you have to luck into. 2 —William H. Gates Sr., Philanthropist PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS 11I. BACKGROUND In the past thirty seconds, three more people were born in the United States. All three of these infants may be equally capable, but as they grow older and make their way through the U.S. education system as it currently stands, there is a strong chance that only two will graduate from high school. Without the right support, the third – most li dr ke o lp yo uts earn roughly 23,000 less each year poor and not white – could instead start his th o a r n those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, her adult life with a disadvantage that wi acc ll um be ulating to a difference of more than 1 million 5 hard to overcome. This is the core problem of tho e ver their lifetim (S es. ee chart on p. 50.) U.S. education system: stopping the flood of at-risk Furthermore, these high school dropouts are (or “disadvantaged”) students who fail to learn more likely to become involved with the criminal the skills they need to become productive and 6 justice system, more likely to rely on social services self-reliant adults. 5 such as Medicaid and food stam m ps, ore likely to have unhealthy lifestyles and poorer health Defining the problem 5 outcomes, and less likely to volunteer, vote, and e Th EPE Research Center estimates that a third of 7 engage with their communit ies. Taken together, the 4.2 million students in the class of 2008 will these factors will result in higher government costs, not graduate on time, including nearly half of all higher healthcare costs, lower tax revenues, less Native American, Latino, and African-American productive citizens, lower global competitiveness, 3 students in that coho es Th rt. e 1.2 million students and a weaker economy. will join society without the skills, diploma, and Even when students complete high school, the poor postsecondary education they need to qualify for all quality of their public education creates additional but the lowest-paying jobs. costs for remediation. Strong American Schools Without these skills, the students will find it hard to estimated that we spend more than 2 billion per earn enough income to provide for themselves and year to provide remedial education – college catch-up their families, much less the surplus income they courses that teach basic academic skills including will need for stability, healthcare, home ownership, reading, writing, and arithmetic – to students who education for their children, and retirement. 8, 9 have recently graduated from high sc hool. As high school dropouts, they will be two to three e Th social impact of underachievement is clear. times more likely than college graduates to be 4 Closing this gap represents an enormous opportunity unemployed. When they do find employment, for philanthropists to make a difference. their wages are likely to be much lower. Although estimates vary, research suggests that high school 12 THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro Pyw hat does it mean to be “at risk”? The role of government in education reform Our shared hope is that all students meet their achievement and attainment goals at each staL go e c in al, state, and federal agencies have not ignored their education. However, clear gaps in the educa tt hio e lo n ng-standing problem of achievement gaps. system exist so that a disproportionate number of Public education today is primarily the domain of low-income and/or minority students – in urban, local and state decision makers. However, in recent rural, and even suburban areas – are at risk of not 16 years, the federal government’s role has incr eased. meeting the same targets as their peers. Since the 1990s, government efforts to improve For example: education have fallen into four categories: standards, testing, and accountability; school finance reforms; High school graduation rates have actually teacher training and school resources; and school 11 decreased across the U.S. since the 1960s; today 17 choice options. In 2001, the federal government in the country’s largest cities, only about half of the passed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), 12 students earn the degree. expanding its presence in educating the nation’s By the end of high school, African-Americy ao nu th. Like preceding standards-focused efforts, and Latino students’ reading and math skills N a CLB re uses an approach that borrowed performance- approximately equivalent, on average, to those bt ah se ad t principles from successful private-sector White students typically have mastered by eig m h a t n h agement practices. It seeks to increase the level 13 grade. of accountability for states and school districts, while 18 giving parents more flexibility in school choice. F ar fewer minority students complete college. For example, only 18% of the country’s Africa es Th n- e efforts to “fix the system” have not always American and 12% of the Latino adults agh ee d lped at-risk students. Furthermore, many of the 25 and older have obtained a bachelor’s degp rr eo e,b lems that these students face are in fact outside 14 compared with about a third of White adults. the school system, and schools are oen ft ill-prepared to address them. u Th s, more than a half century aer ft the U.S. However, targeted efforts to improve educational Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were opportunities for at-risk students over the past unconstitutional (Brown v. Board of Educat ), ion two decades have demonstrated that progress is students’ experiences and outcomes – and their future 15 19 possible. Students who have been a part of prospects – remain decidedly unequal. these efforts have shown that they can thrive amid difficult circumstances when they have access Make no mistake. Public education is the key 20, 21 to the right supports. civil rights issue of the 21st century. Our nation’s knowledge-based economy demands that we provide young people from all backgrounds and circumstances with the education and skills necessary to become knowledge workers. 10 – Eli Broad, Philanthropist PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS 13Understanding student needs How philanthropists can help Family risk factors, such as living below the pov In ert2002, y donors invested somewhere between 23 line or in a single-parent household, generate n1.5 eeds and 2 billion in K-12 educatio n, which is that, if unmet, can ae ff ct the educational outcomes les os f than 0.5% of the nearly 490 billion that the 24 at-risk students. public spends each yea rH . owever, philanthropic dollars can have a powerful impact in ways that In this document, we refer to student needs in government funds oen c ft annot. school and outside of scho In-s ol. chool needs are those that educators are responsible for fulfillin Ph g il, anthropic dollars can be more nimble: e Th such as high-quality instruction, safe and healp tu hb ylic budgeting process is understandably school environments, career guidance, and sufficient t ime intensive, given the legislative calendar, resources (e.g., books and supplies). oB ut-o y f-school procurement rules, and line-item restrictions. needs, we refer to all the other complex physicer Thale , are also the requirements for approval emotional, psychological, and cognitive requiremen fr ts om multiple parties, who in turn are pulled in that students have. es Th e needs persist at all times, different directions by a variety of constituents. whether in school or outside of school, but schoP o hi ls lanthropists, in contrast, can act on an typically have limited capacity to address them. opportunity in real time by simply writing a check. Michael and I started our foundation with a Philanthropic dollars can fund riskier, more commitment to children and their future. experimental work: Philanthropists are oen ft Our primary focus has been to improve the better situated than government agencies to seed, health and education of children. We understand test, and refine new program ideas – especially those that in order to do well in school, children must that are somewhat risky. Donors frequently sponsor first be healthy. pilot tests of these novel approaches to see whether they can improve outcomes for students. Aer ft a 22 – Susan Dell, Philanthropist successful pilot, public investment is more likely. P hilanthropic dollars can help establish public- While the in-school needs of at-risk students are private partnerships: Philanthropists can provide obvious requirements for achievement, and are the incentives to bring multiple parties to the table primary focus of this document, philanthropists for the necessary coalition building, while giving should not overlook the importance of out-of-school school districts and other partners time to create needs. For example, low-income students may lack a consensus for reform and reallocate funds proper nutrition, sufficient healthcare, or enriching appropriately. extracurricular activities. er Th e is no question that the second-grader who skipped meals over th P eh ilanthropic dollars can ignore (some) politics: weekend will find it hard to prepare for Monday’I s ndividual donors have the ability to invest in spelling test, or that the fifth-grader with a toothac p h re og rams that might be controversial or otherwise will struggle to concentrate on fractions. Simil un art len y, able for government investment. the ninth-grader without access to internships that A relatively modest investment can mean an could help develop marketable skills will be at a immediate difference in the lives of individual disadvantage when entering the workforce. students, while generating quantifiable long-term returns. A study by Clive Belfield and Henry Levin showed that each high school dropout results in an 14 THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro Pyestimated average cumulative cost of 209,100 (2004 spokesperson, providing consulting services, and/ dollars) to society. e Th y conclude that, even befo or r e sitting on boards of directors. Another popular considering the benefits from potentially improvin ap g proach is to spend time with the students they the chances for success in future generations, t su hp er po e rt. Mentoring youth helps everyone – students are significant societal savings for each incremen se te al how education can make a difference in dollar spent on effective educational interventio th n eir s. lives, while philanthropists experience the For example, every dollar invested in any of the st v fi uden e ts’ struggles, which lets them develop a better interventions that Belfield and Levin were able un tder o standing of their charitable investments’ value. analyze resulted in at least 1.46 less that societ In y h fac ad t, several donors have said that these personal 26, 27 to spend. interactions are a vital part of their satisfaction with philanthropic wor(S k. ee the Center’s September Philanthropists can help at-risk children in other 2008 report, “I’m Not Rockefeller”: 33 High Net Worth ways as well. Some donors also invest time in the Philanthropists Discuss Their Approach to Giving. ) nonprot fi organizations that they support, such as by helping with fundraising efforts, becoming a We are…at a difficult time for the United States. We are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re facing climate dangers, trade imbalances, and record deficits. The global financial crisis is costing people their businesses, their homes, their jobs, and their savings. And we have severe budget strain at every level of government. That is the dominant story in the news. But it is not the defining story of our times…We can keep moving toward a world where every child grows up in good health, goes to a good school, and has opportunities waiting—as long as we stay confident about the future, and keep investing in it… We have to use this downturn to force a new fiscal vigilance that is more creative and more constructive than simply cutting spending; we have to demand smarter spending. A more equitable world is worth fighting for and paying for— and that’s why we need to make sure we’re getting as much as we can for every dollar. 195 —Bill Gates, Philanthropist PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS 15II. FINDING OPPORTUNITIES ALONG THE EDUCATION PATHWAy In this section, we present the education pathway, our framework for thinking systematically about where high impact opportunities exist. We describe the common unmet in-school and out-of-school needs that your capital can target, as well as specific philanthropic “on-ramps” to consider. These on-ramps are examples of promising practices for improving the educational outcomes of at-risk students. To help you understand how some nonprofits deliver these practices, including how to link cost and impact, we provide five in-depth case examples. as productive and self-reliant adults. We divide this The education pathway 28 journey into four phases. e Th chart below describes Imagine education as a pathway on which students the key issues disadvantaged students typically travel. e Th hope is that all children will develop along encounter in each. this education pathway and accumulate the social, emotional, and cognitive skills required to emerge early childhood primary s econdary and preschool post s econdary Grades K-5 Grades 6-12 Ages 0-5 During the first three years, By the start of this phase, Adolescence is a difficult period Since the 1980s, salaries children’s brains are rapidly many at-risk children are as it entails biological, social, for individuals who have developing the neural pathways already academically behind and emotional challenges that completed high school or that support language, problem their more affluent peers. This all students inevitably confront. less have dropped while solving, behavioral and social hinders them from acquiring At the same time, many at-risk wages for postsecondary skills, as well as emotional the foundational skills and students also have to catch graduates have remained 4 health. If not used, these behavioral predispositions up to overcome earlier gaps relatively even, leading pathways begin to disappear (e.g., self-control, school in learning. Such learning is many to set postsecondary by late childhood, threatening engagement) that move required to master the content completion as the ultimate 2 future school performance. them from “learning to read” of the critical ninth grade on educational goal. to “reading to learn” and time, excel in college-preparatory enable them to perform courses, and succeed in the basic calculations required experiences that develop 3 in future problem solving. the skills (e.g., critical thinking and communication) that employers seek. 16 THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro Py Key issues In each phase, certain targets are commonl P y ostsecondary attainment to enable steady and associated with students’ readiness to succeed in t fh ulfi e lling employment next phase. These targets include: To understand whether your philanthropic efforts S chool readiness (e.g., enter kindergarten re a ad re y m aking progress towards achieving these estab- to learn) lished goals, you will need indicators that allow you to monitor students’ progress. Such indicators enable Early literacy and math skills the kind of ongoing assessment and course correc- T imely promotion from 9th to 10th grade tions that increase the probability of success and are (with age-appropriate academic skills) a hallmark of smart investing. Examples of common- ly used success indicators are identified in the chart Completion of high school with mastery of that follows. curriculum required by universities (if pursuing college) or with marketable skills or aptitudes (if pursuing employment) Education Pathway early childhood primary s econdary and preschool post s econdary Grades K-5 Grades 6-12 Ages 0-5 School readiness (i.e., enter Grade level (or above) literacy Timely promotion from 9th Postsecondary degree kindergarten ready to learn) and math skills (e.g., reading by into 10th grade, having met completion and skill third grade) grade-level requirements mastery that enable steady and fulfilling employment Graduation from high school in through college or other four years, having mastered channels curriculum required by universities (if pursuing college) or with marketable skills (if pursuing immediate employment) R ecognition of relationships A ttendance A ttendance Enrollment in a between letters and sounds postsecondary program S cores on math and reading Scores on math and reading C ounting ability assessments College retention after assessments first year Vocabulary, as measured by Student engagement S ocial and emotional early literacy assessments G rades (marking Enrollment in college-track courses competencies (e.g., self individual growth) Social behaviors with peers awareness, self management, G rades (marking individual growth) Employment status and relationship skills) A bility to follow directions M astery of algebra basics (needed Salary S tudent engagement Fine motor skills development to move beyond simple arithmetic (i.e., the development of the into problem solving and logical A rrests Disciplinary actions small muscles that enable reasoning) before high school Home ownership a student to grasp a pencil, Failed courses/repeated grades D isciplinary actions turn pages in a book, and Failed courses/repeated grades write legibly) College planning and application P articipation in risk behaviors (e.g., early parenthood) PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS 1 examples of chief success indicators Critical education targetsTHe eDUCATIon PATHwAy: eArly CHIl DHoo D An D Pre SCHool early childhood and preschool Ages 0-5 Critical education target: School (kindergarten) readiness Chief success indicators: Recognition of relationships between letters and sounds; the ability to count past 10; vocabulary development; positive social behaviors with peers; the ability to follow directions; fine motor skills (i.e., development of the small muscles that will enable a child to grasp a 29 pencil, turn pages in a book, and write leg ibly) w hat philanthropists can address: In school: Providing parents with very young children access to quality child care and early learning programs O ut of school: Age-appropriate development of social, behavioral and cognitive skills from parent-child interactions, nutrition, and quality healthcare; resources for parents to increase nurturing quality of home environment, and increased access to spoken language and printed materials 1 THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro PyPHASE I: EARLy CHILDHOOD AND PRESCHOOL Gaps in school readiness skills forewarn of future Problem areas and promising practices academic and social problems. Once students fall in early childhood and preschool behind their peers, it becomes increasingly difficult Our first phase covers the earliest years, a time when for them to catch up, especially as the curriculum children’s brains are rapidly developing the neural becomes more difficult. Over time, students can pathways that support language, problem solving, accumulate a learning deficit that may develop, behavioral and social skills, as well as emotional 31 if left unchecked, into a debilitating problem that health. In this phase, parents and educators are prevents academic success. Research has found that trying to make sure that children enter kindergarten students who enter kindergarten cognitively unready ready to learn. School readiness requires critical are less likely to do well in elementary and high behavioral and social skills – such as the ability to school and are more likely to become teen parents, sit still and follow directions – and the development suffer from depression, and/or get involved with of vocabulary and early literacy skills. Because criminal activities than their better-prepared children are not yet burdened by histories of poor 34 preschool peers. achievement and missed benchmarks, it is oen ft easier for philanthropists and nonprots fi to achieve Some philanthropists find that providing access 32 success in this period than in later phases. to ao ff rdable, high-quality child care and preschool programs is an attractive way to eliminate educational gaps from the start. Research supports this approach; Childhood is a multi-stage process where early Nobel laureate James Heckman and colleagues investments feed into later investments. concluded that programs focused on getting at-risk Skill begets skill; learning begets learning. children on track for school success in early –Flavio Cunha, James Heckman, Lance Lochner, & childhood were more cost effective than later 30 Dimitriy Masterov, Economists 35 interventions. es Th e prevention efforts not only promote school success, but also reduce costly outcomes, such as by decreasing the need for Access to ao ff rdable, high-quality child care special education and making it less likely that the and preschool child will commit a crime in the future. For example, Differences in the opportunities for learning are Hank Levin and Clive Belfield’s cost-benefit already apparent at this early stage. One underlying analysis of Perry Preschool showed that the benefits 36 problem is that many low-income parents are over- of the program were at least twice their (S cos ee ts. extended in multiple jobs and caring for several p. 63 for a summary of Perry Preschool’s results.) dependents, sometimes as single parents. e Th end However, there is a danger that if students do not result is that they are not able to spend enough time receive continued support, the benefits that they gain with their children. This problem is measurable: from early childhood programs will fade away once 32 children in low-income households hear fewer words they enter the traditional K-12 school sys tem. than children in more auen ffl t households, and their 33 caretakers read to them less frequen This t rl ey a .lity ae ff cts children’s learning: exposure to language is one of the most important factors in literacy development, Philanthropists can support efforts to make high-quality along with caretakers’ responsiveness to their social child care and preschool programs accessible to and emotional needs. at-risk children. PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS 1Good childcare and preschool programs a ar e w ell-respected national organization of law- hard for low-income families to find. In a recen en t forcement oc ffi ers such as police chiefs, prosecutors, national poll, more than half of the parents w ain td h s a heris ff . Its mission is to channel federal and household income of 40,000 or less a year repors tta ed te dollars into high-quality, early education and difficulty finding an ao ff rdable, high-quality learning a e ft rschool programs for disadvantaged children 37 environment for their chi ld Sta . tes have increased and into eo ff rts to reduce child abuse and neglect. funding for preschool by 2 billion over the last F tihr ghe t e Crime’s work is paying o.ff For example, it years in response to significant lobbying efforts. h elped convince policy makers in Pennsylvania to However, access is still a problem for ma fu ny n d the enrollment of an additional 11,000 38 families. Only eleven states oer ff at-risk childrd en is advantaged 3- and 4-year-olds in quality preschools 38, 39 access to preschool. Accordingly, fewer than ha( lf i.e., those that comply with the state’s early learning of the country’s 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolle sd ta in ndards and are regulated by the state’s Board of 40 42 either public or private preschool programs. Education) during the 2007-2008 school year. One way that philanthropists have succeeded A s in preschool programs become more ao ff rdable, expanding access to preschool is by supportit n h g e need to improve preschool quality becomes advocacy organizations, which focus on convinin cicr ng easingly urgent. Researchers evaluate the quality policy makers to invest public dollars in stude on f t c shi . ld care and preschool programs using qualitative For example, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is data on the child’s experiences in the school plus Pre-Kindergarten f unding In fiscal year 2008, 36 states increased funding for pre-kindergarten, committing an additional 528 million to provide access for more than 80,000 more children to pre-K. states providing universal preschool states providing preschool for all eligible “at-risk” children states that increased funding for pre-K in 2008 states that do not fund pre-K programs Sources: The Pew Charitable Trusts. (2008). Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2008, from; Associated Press. (2008, July 31). Mass. Gov. signs bill to expand pre-kinderga e B Th r ot st en. on Globe. Retrieved August 5, 2008, from http://www. 20 THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro Pyquantitative data on structural characteristics a va suc riet h y of ways. Some programs succeed by as class size, teacher qualifications, and teacin her creasing the one-on-one time between at risk 43 compensation. Research that focuses on thes pe r eschoolers and attentive adults. One such dimensions shows that low-income and minorip tr yog ram, Jumpstart, places trained, caring adults families are more likely to enroll their in 3p - reschool classrooms. er Th e, the adults build and 4-year-olds in lower quality preschos o t lr so . ng relationships with preschoolers using At these schools, children receive less of et vh iden e ce-based practices to bolster students’ supportive interactions that they need to impr ro eadin ve ess for kindergar(S ten. ee case example on the their language and social skills relative to fo tll heir owing p age.) 33, 44 more auen ffl t or non-minority peers. Philanthropists can improve the quality of care at early learning facilities by supporting the existing range of nonprots fi or developing programs in Image provided by Jumpstart. 43 Indicators of preschool quality Evaluations of preschools typically focus on two quality factors: process and structure. Process indicators of quality: Positive relationships between teachers and children Sufficient materials and toys T eachers encourage communication throughout the day using techniques like mutual listening, talking/responding, and prompting for problem-solving and logical reasoning Frequent opportunities for art, music, science, math, and theatrical play H igh parent involvement Structure indicators of quality: Small group sizes, low ratios of teachers to children Teachers and other staff are qualified and well compensated Staff is supervised S taff has opportunities for professional development PATHw AyS To STUDen T SUCCeSS 212 CASe eXAMPle : Building school readiness skills through increased time in one-on-one relationships with trained, caring adults problem: Disadvantaged students enter kindergarten with universities to recruit and train a team of undergraduates – its significantly fewer cognitive and social skills than their more “corps members.” After 30 hours of training, each “corps affluent peers. Compared to children without family risk factors member” is paired with one preschooler who is selected based (e.g., living below the poverty level, primary home language is on need (as identified by the program’s diagnostic tool). The not English, single-parent household, mother did not complete corps member then works with the preschooler for about 240 high school), children with two or more family risk factors at hours across one school year to build the early literacy and the start of kindergarten are: behavior skills he or she will need to succeed in kindergarten. Activities include larger group work to build language and A lmost three times as likely to score in the bottom quartile social skills and dialogic reading to promote literacy and in reading (47% vs. 16%) vocabulary development. (“Dialogic reading” is a technique that actively involves the child in reading, where the adult listens, M ore than 1.5 times less likely to be able to identify letters questions, and prompts the child into becoming the story of the alphabet (44% vs. 75%) 47 teller. ) The program also provides activities for parents to A bout a third as likely to be able to associate letters with share with children at home that reinforce the learning that sounds at the end of words (6% vs. 22%) occurs in school. M ore than 1.5 times less likely to be able to count beyond exemplar agent: Jumpstart piloted this program 10 (38% vs. 68%) model in 1993 at Yale University by serving 15 preschoolers. Since then, it has grown rapidly to serve approximately 13,000 T wice as likely to be described by teachers as often in fights preschoolers in 70 communities in 20 states. with classmates (14% vs. 7%) accountability practices: Jumpstart evaluates A lmost twice as likely to be described by teachers as “never” both its outcomes and quality of implementation on an annual or only “sometimes” eager to learn (36% vs. 20%) basis. It has begun planning for a multi-year study focused on its work in Boston that will track students from kindergarten M ore likely to be described by teachers as “sometimes” 45 through third grade to see whether its impact is lasting and or “never” paying attention well (44% vs. 28%) meaningful. Jumpstart also has an Assessment Advisory Without these academic skills, and with these counter- Committee that is responsible for maintaining high evaluation productive behaviors and attitudes, students are less likely standards for the program. This committee consists of to acquire the literacy tools they need to read fluently, build Jumpstart staff plus experts in a range of fields, including early vocabularies, and explore new domains of knowledge (e.g., childhood education, early language and literacy development, topics like trains and dinosaurs) that will help them understand preschool assessment, and program evaluation. 46 and learn from what they read. What’s the impact? In an internal evaluation of its solution: Building school readiness skills, such as language, implementation nationwide in 2006/2007, Jumpstart found literacy, and emotional and social skills, through increased that 60% of the students enrolled in the program outperformed time in one-on-one relationships with caring adults their matched comparison group of preschoolers from the same classrooms on a school readiness measure – a success Ful model: This program model sets up one- 48, 49 statistically significant improvement. This result means to-one relationships over the course of a school year be- that Jumpstart children are more likely to enter tween motivated caring adults – largely college students but kindergarten on track to succeed. Based on research findings also working and older adults – and low-income three- and regarding quality preschool programs, we can expect four-year-olds who attend a community-based preschool (in- these children to perform better in kindergarten than their cluding Head Start). The program partners with colleges and 50 non-participating peers. 22 THe Cen Ter for H IGH IMPACT PHIl An THro Py

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