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It Takes a Village

AIR just announced their role as evaluators of the partnership between Boston Public Schools and the National Center on Time & Learning to turnaround two low-performing Boston middle schools. As we’ve written about before, more school time can be a critical lever in school turnaround if used for student-tailored intervention and enrichment around core academics. Through careful evaluation, the Boston Public School’s partnership with the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) to pilot two additional hours per day at two Boston schools will provide valuable insight on the best ways to organize, utilize, and staff this time to maximize student and teacher growth.

As with any turnaround effort, the initiative needs to be sustainable and part of a district-wide strategy once Federal Innovation Grants are no longer available. But one thing we’re learning in our work with districts is that it’s crucial to distinguish between the short-term resources needed to exit turnaround verses longer-term resources needed to meet the demands of students so they catch up and succeed. While some of the dollars in this initiative are going toward short-term interventions to help build capacity and stabilize the culture, we may find that the highest need students simply need additional types of resources. AIR’s role in monitoring and evaluating this partnership should not only keep it on track and provide an understanding of what’s working so others can replicate it, but the research can also help identify what additional resources are fundamental and must be maintained. With this knowledge, hopefully the community can help provide the support needed to preserve the gains made once the funding runs out.

For more on ERS’s thinking on turnaround in the district context see the first of our series of briefs.

For more publications and tools on turnaround, see our resources for turnaround page.


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