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Challenging middle schools Presentation by Houston A+ Challenge.

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1 Challenging middle schools Presentation by Houston A+ Challenge

2 Education and Income

3 Education and Health Morbidity and Mortality vs. Education EDUCATION < 1212 YearsCollege> 16 or Years13-15 YearsMore Years Morbidity & Mortality

4 Education and Health The Link Between Education & Health Higher levels of parents’ education Healthier behaviors by parents Good role models Better jobs and increased income Better housing, safer neighborhoods, more physical activity & better nutrition More resources for childcare, transportation & health insurance Less stress, better access to health care Impact of parents’ education on child health* *Adapted from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2008

5 Source: TEA Is the current trajectory good enough? What can we do to have a better trajectory? Actual Hypothetical

6 The percentage of Texas public school students who tested “Proficient” in Reading/ELA in 2009 91

7 The percentage of Texas’ Class of 1995 who graduated with a college degree or certificate 18

8 Nationally, current research tells us that fewer than one in five 8 th graders is on target to be ready for college-level work by the time they finish high school. Source: “The Forgotten Middle” (2008, ACT, Inc.)

9 In Texas, new research shows: Students who achieve at “commended” levels in 8th grade (instead of just “proficient”) are UP TO FIVE TIMES AS LIKELY to remain on track for success through high school, and graduate prepared for college and a well-paying career. Source: “Are Texas Middle School Students Prepared for High School?” Ed Fuller, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin (2009, for Texas Business and Education Coalition)

10 The mission of Houston A+ Challenge is to serve as a catalyst for change in the public schools that educate nine of every ten children in the region, teaming with principals and teachers in targeted schools to ensure that every student is prepared for post-secondary success. Our Mission

11 This initiative is the central focus of Houston A+ Challenge’s new Strategic Plan, adopted by our Board in January 2010 Six middle schools from five districts currently participating in the two-year pilot, launched in July 2010 Plans underway for the second set of schools to join the Challenge Network, from the set of principals that were involved in our Middle School Leadership Academy – We are looking for school leaders who are willing and ready to do the work around raising expectations for all kids The Challenge Network


13 The goal of the Challenge Network is to build capacity in targeted middle schools and significantly increase the number of students who are not just proficient, but who are on track to be truly ready for postsecondary success. Our Goal

14 First-year results from external evaluation External evaluation by Dr. Ed Fuller from Penn State University, reported that independent analysis of student data “strongly suggests that the reform effort is having a positive impact on student performance.” Four out of six Challenge Network schools exhibited positive results. Excluding one school that did not have the A+ coach for the full year, four of the five schools implementing the reform performed about as well as or greater than expected. Absolute results were strongest at YES Prep West, where more students reached the college-ready standard than any other campus in the high-performing YES district. Three schools exhibited very strong relative student performance, and A+ Scholars were statistically significantly more likely to achieve commended status than peers in comparison schools statewide. For example, A+ Scholars at Horace Mann (Goose Creek ISD) were more than 10 times more likely than similar students in comparison schools to attain commended performance. At least 8 in 10 A+ Scholars surveyed reported that, because of their A+ Coach, they work harder in class, don’t get into trouble as much, pay attention in class more, do better in class, understand the teacher better, and feel more confident about school.

15 Challenges Battling incentives created by the Texas accountability system that promote a sole focus on ‘proficient’ Ensuring principals buy-in and are willing to risk change Achieving influence without control Tracking and communicating progress Creating and sustaining a sense of urgency

16 How you can help? Changing the conversation from always focusing on providing resources to the lowest performing schools to focusing on providing resources at critical junctures (e.g., early childhood, middle school) Move the focus to areas and schools that have the most promise for learning – not necessarily the biggest problems, but the biggest opportunities

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