How a Florida school improved test scores with a simple but powerful community approach

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“Comparing 2017-2018 results to those in 2018-2019, achievement gains in English language arts increased by 12.8 percentage points. The gains were even larger in mathematics, 16.3 points. The increases were more significant for the lowest-performing 25 percent of students, rising by 16.6 percentage points in English language arts and 24.8 points in mathematics.

Gilmore believes much of these gains had to do with the work the school did to increase attendance. But how they went about increasing attendance was guided by their use of the community schools approach.

“When we found out there was a problem with attendance, we asked parents why,” she recalled, and one of the most frequent responses they heard was that not having clean clothes was an impediment to coming to school.

The school responded by installing a campus washer-dryer and eventually opened a clothing closet that provided some free clothing articles.

Another factor contributing to the attendance problem was that in the shorter daylight hours of winter, streets were often too dark for students to safely walk to the bus or to school, and there were too few streetlights.

Given this response, the school organized an effort to have the county install new streetlights around the school. Working with the commissioners, the number of streetlights near the school quickly increased from nine to 51. Attendance immediately improved.”

Read the full story here.

 

 

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