PRESS RELEASE: Impressive Results for Citizen Schools Boston School Partners

Contact:

Stacey Gilbert Nee, Citizen Schools, cell 617-309-7133, staceygilbertnee@citizenschools.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Nonprofit Organization Partners with Boston Schools to Dramatically Increase Student Achievement by Lengthening the School Day

Schools Achieve Double-Digit Proficiency Gains in Math on MCAS Tests, Closing More Than Half of the Achievement Gap

 

Boston, MA – September 20, 2012 – Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to lengthen the school day for children in low-income communities here in Boston and across the country, announced today the impressive results that expanded learning time (ELT) partner schools saw on the latest round of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests. Last school year, Citizen Schools partnered with a cohort of four Boston middle schools – Dever-McCormack K-8 School, Clarence R. Edwards Middle School, Washington Irving Middle School, and Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School.

Through these school partnerships, more than 20 percent of Boston Public Schools 6th graders participated in Citizen Schools.  And, as part of the Citizen Schools partnership, all of the four schools in the cohort identified Math as the academic focus area.  In partnership with Citizen Schools, achievement data released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this week shows that the 6th grade proficiency rate across the four Citizen Schools partnership schools increased by 13 percentage points, outpacing the gains for all 6th graders district-wide by 5 percentage points.  See details outlined per school below.

“Citizen Schools has been a critical partner to our school turnaround efforts at the Dever-McCormack,” said Michael Sabin, Principal of the Dever-McCormack K-8 School. “The expanded learning time model we piloted with them last year in the 6th grade, along with some additional steps we took internally, led directly to 20 point gains in Math and a grade-wide Student Growth Percentile of 71.  As we expand our work with Citizen Schools to all upper grades this year, we will lean heavily on them to help replicate that success across our other grades.”

This fall, Citizen Schools is also partnering with Lee School to lengthen the school day for 6th graders. With the addition of Lee Middle School and an increase in students served at some of the original cohort schools, the organization will serve approximately 1,150 Boston Public Schools middle school students at five middle schools this school year – an increase of 55 percent in students served from the 2011/2012 school year. Citizen Schools is developing a plan with the district to scale an expanded school day for the majority of the district’s high risk 6th to 8th graders over the next four years.

The five Boston schools are part of Citizen Schools’ three-year national ELT initiative to accelerate student achievement and close the achievement gap. The goal of the initiative is to transform partner schools and school districts by working in deep partnership with schools to add dramatically more learning time to the school day, more people to support teachers and administrators, as well as more relevant content that engages students and gets them excited about school. Students participate in a significantly longer school day (at least 30 percent more time which amounts to 300-400 more instructional hours per student over the course of the year).

During the expanded hours at schools that partner with Citizen Schools, students receive academic support, participate in “academic league” aimed at raising proficiency in Math and/or English Language Arts, and learn about what it takes to succeed in school and get into college. In addition, students sign up for “apprenticeships” led by professionals from the local community. These volunteers work under the supervision of Citizen Schools staff to teach students about a wide variety of professions and increase student leadership skills.

Before ELT, Citizen Schools’ partner schools, on average, made zero or minimal progress on building student proficiency on state standardized tests and, on average, performed below their respective school district averages.

“We know that expanded learning time done right is an effective strategy for helping schools and students succeed,” said Patrick Kirby, Executive Director of Citizen Schools Massachusetts. “The latest data that we are seeing in terms of the tremendous results at our partner schools confirms that the hard work we are doing every day in deep partnership with our committed school partners is working. With the additional investments of district and corporate partners, we are poised to reach our long-term goal of closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for our students.”

The White House and the U.S. Department of Education have recognized Citizen Schools as a national example. In fact, this announcement comes at a time of great momentum for longer school days nationally as both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have consistently called for longer days as part of their ambitious effort to reform the nation’s schools.  Districts across the country are focused on turning around our most challenged schools and more school leaders are turning to longer days as a strategy for school improvement.

In the 2012-2013 school year, Citizen Schools will partner with 31 schools in eight states to serve over 5,200 students. Twenty-three of those schools are participating in year three of the organization’s national ELT initiative.

Spring 2012 MCAS Results by Citizen Schools Partner School

Link to school profiles on state website – http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/mcas.aspx

*In Boston, Citizen Schools has focused on Math with all four school partners in the 2011-12 school year. As a result, Math results are highlighted below.

Clarence R. Edwards Middle School

  • First year of ELT partnership with Citizen Schools: Fall 2006
  • Grades served as part of Citizen Schools ELT: 6th
  • Partnership highlights:
    • At the beginning of ELT partnership in 2006, Math 6th grade proficiency rates were at 15 percent.
    • Citizen Schools’ flagship ELT partnership with the Edwards Middle School has reversed the statewide achievement gap in Math and closed 80 percent of the achievement gap in ELA and Science compared to peers state-wide.
    • 2012 Results:
      • MCAS results: increased the proficiency rate for 6th grade Math by 6 percentage points from 34 percent to 40 percent.
      • 6th grade Student Growth Percentile (SGP): 46

 

Dever-McCormack K-8 School (Listed as John McCormack Middle School on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.)

  • First year of ELT partnership with Citizen Schools: Fall 2011
  • Grades served as part of Citizen Schools ELT: 6th
  • Partnership highlights:
    • In the first year of the Citizen Schools ELT partnership and with Math as the specific focus of the partnership in year one, the school nearly closed the achievement gap in Math in full compared to 6th grade peers state-wide.  In 2012-2013, Citizen Schools ELT will expand to also serve the 7th and 8th grades as part of Boston Public Schools i3 TILT (Turnaround Using Increased Learning Time) initiative.
    • 2012 Results:
      • 2012 MCAS results: increased the proficiency rate for 6th grade Math by 18 percentage points from 36 percent to 54 percent (Massachusetts statewide proficiency 60 percent)
      • 6th grade SGP: 71

 

Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School

  • First year of ELT partnership with Citizen Schools: Fall 2010
  • Grades served as part of Citizen Schools ELT: 6th and 7th, as well as a cohort of 8th graders
  • Partnership highlights:
    • At the beginning of ELT partnership in 2010, 6th grade Math proficiency rates were at 24 percent and 7th grade Math proficiency rates were at 12 percent.  After two years of the Citizen Schools ELT partnership, both the 6th grade and 7th grade proficiency rates have increased by more than 30 percentage points – nearly closing the achievement gap in full compared to peers state-wide after only two years of the school turnaround efforts with Citizen Schools as the core partner for the middle grades.
    • 2012 Results:
      • 2012 MCAS results:  increased the proficiency rate for 6th grade Math by 15 percentage points from 41 percent to 56 percent and increased the proficiency rates for 7th grade Math by 12 points from 30 percent to 42 percent.
      • 6th grade SGP: 86
      • 7th grade SGP: 80

 

Washington Irving Middle School

  • First year of ELT partnership with Citizen Schools: Fall 2011
  • Grades served as part of Citizen Schools ELT: 6th, as well as a cohort of 7th graders
  • Partnership highlights:
    • In 2012-2013, Citizen Schools ELT will expand to also serve the 7th and 8th grades as part of Boston Public Schools i3 TILT (Turnaround Using Increased Learning Time) initiative.
    • 2012 Results:
      • 2012 MCAS results: increased the proficiency rate for 6th grade Math by 11 percentage points from 35 percent to 46 percent.
      • 6th grade SGP: 54

 

About Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low income children across the country. Citizen Schools uniquely mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers to help improve student achievement by teaching skill-building apprenticeships. The organization’s programs blend these real-world learning projects with rigorous academic and leadership development activities, preparing students in the middle grades for success in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life.

Founded in Boston in 1995, Citizen Schools has grown into a national network of thirty-two “campuses” – middle school partner sites – in low-income communities across eight states.  For more information, visit www.citizenschools.org. For more on our programs in Massachusetts, visit http://www.citizenschools.org/massachusetts/.

 

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