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Newsletter 5.2

Community Schools Online

New Federal Money for Community Schools
February 1 , 2008 Vol. V, No. 2

In This Issue

 

Coalition Update: Report to the Field
Funding Available for Full Service Community Schools
Workshops Set for 2008 National Forum
Come Work for the Coalition!

In the News
California Students Send Message: Fix our Schools

Research, Publications, and Tools
Study Finds Stronger Engagement in Public Education Yields Better Results
Practical Evaluation Methods for AfterSchool Program Effectiveness
A Long-Term Evaluation of Afterschool Programs in Los Angeles
Strong Families and Successful Youth: How to do it
The Children in Room E4

 

Coalition Update: Report to the Field


Funding Available for Full Service Community Schools

The new federal budget contains $5 million to fund Full Service Community Schools. The Coalition is grateful to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for his successful efforts to secure these funds. This funding is a critical first step towards garnering congressional support for community schools.

The language defining the use of these funds is included in the recent Appropriations Conference Report. To view specific language click here.

We understand from U.S. Department of Education officials that they will issue an RFP for these monies in the Federal Register as early as the next two weeks, with a 60 day turn around.  The RFP will be tailored closely to the conference report language. The Department will be making between 8 and 15 awards between $75,000 and $500,000 available.  The lower number reflects the minimum that an individual school can receive and makes clear that smaller districts are potential applicants. There will be a peer review process for selecting applicants. 

While the number of awards is small, we hope that there will be a substantial number of applications.  We can leverage these limited funds if we have a high number of applicants who tell their Senators and Representatives about their interest in Full Service Community Schools.

The Coalition will be tracking the RFP and let you know when it comes out. 

 

Workshops Set for 2008 National Forum

The Coalition is pleased to announce the workshop sessions for our National Forum. Take a look at this overview. Are you spreading the word and getting your team together? We look forward to seeing everyone in Portland! To register, click here.

 

Come Work for the Coalition!

The Coalition is now seeking applicants for two new positions, Deputy Director and Research Associate.  We are seeking people who bring passion to efforts to improve the well-being of children, families and communities; experience working across the boundaries of schools and other institutions; and the ability to work with diverse constituencies.

  • The Deputy Director will be responsible for the day-to-day management of Coalition work. We require strong management skills and solid written and oral communications skills.
  • The Research Associate will be responsible for a range of research, writing and communications tasks that are essential to ongoing Coalition operations. 

Please send potential candidates our way and share these opportunities with your constituency.  Resumes should be sent to Maame Ameyaw at ameyawm@iel.org

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In the News


California Students Send Message: Fix our Schools

In a YouthNoise report, more than 700 student stories collected, mostly from students in marginalized schools throughout California describe the challenges and inadequacies in their schools. Nearly half of the stories submitted cited the shortage of good teachers and counseling as students’ most pressing concern; 30% of stories mentioned unhealthy conditions related to facilities and food service; 16% talked about inadequate funding. Other concerns included safety and violence and limited access to books and computers.

The report underscores the need to include students in the education reform debate because they are the primary consumers of public education. To read the report and watch the video, click here.

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Research, Publications and Tools


Study Finds Stronger Engagement in Public Education Yields Better Results

Public engagement and community-based conversations are effective methods for community organizations to strengthen their community's public schools according to a new study released by Collaborative Communications Group. The report focuses on the work of a team of researchers who looked at the education improvement efforts of five organizations: Foundation for Orange County Public Schools Inc. ( Orlando, FL), Good Shepherd Services ( New York, NY), Heights Community Congress ( Cleveland Heights, OH), Mobile Area Education Foundation ( Mobile, AL), and San Francisco Education Fund ( San Francisco, CA). It found that community conversations provide a means for wider participation in decision-making about education, broadens community involvement in schools, and strengthens community organizations. To view the report, click here.

Practical Evaluation Methods for AfterSchool Program Effectiveness

As out-of-school time and afterschool programs are springing up, many groups want to observe and quantify their desired outcomes in the children who participate. Outcome evaluations allow programs to do just that. This brief, A Guide For Out-Of-School Time Practitioners, provides a basic review of outcome evaluations, discusses why they are important and when they are useful, and presents guidelines, strategies, and techniques for their use in out-of-school time programs. The brief also highlights the experience of an out-of-school time program that has conducted an outcome evaluation and provides a list of helpful evaluation resources for those who wish to pursue these programs further.

 

A Long-Term Evaluation of Afterschool Programs in Los Angeles

A study focused on the long-term benefits of afterschool programs in LA found that one single factor in programming alone “cannot determine program quality; it is the interplay of contextual factors such as volunteer hours, student demographic backgrounds, supportive structure etc. that together could make a difference.” Results indicate that exposure (years of participation), intensity (total days of attendance), engagement (average weekly attendance), and contact with additional adults during the day all impact program effectiveness. The results imply marginal, positive program effects on student academic achievement, consistent positive effects on juvenile crime, and generally positive benefit-cost ratios of having afterschool programs. To see the full results of the study, click here.

 

Strong Families and Successful Youth: How to do it

This new brief from the Family Strengthening Policy Center suggests “macro” strategies for changing the current cultural deficiency in strong family values.  Family Strengthening Writ Large is intended as a high-level synthesis of what we have learned through researching a variety of specific topics including loving, nurturing relationships, financial stability and positive connections to people, organizations and opportunities.  Further, it is intended to spark discussion and move us to focusing on how we can, individually and collectively, and in partnership with low-income families, help make the family fundamentals a strong reality for the vast majority of families. To view the brief, click here.

 

The Children in Room E4

The Children in Room E4 is a book chronicling the ups and downs of an urban school district in Hartford, CT. The district has a history of low performance, high poverty, violence, as well as the occasional bright spot. Author Susan Eaton tells Debbie Elliott that sustained gains at schools in high-poverty neighborhoods are unfortunately the exception, not the norm, and that new systems of support must be explored and tested to provide long-termed solutions for poor school performance. To listen to the story, click here.

 

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