Roundtable: It Takes a Community to Raise a Standardized Test Score
(Social Equity)

Saturday, November 4, 2017: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Stetson F (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Wendy S. McClanahan, McClanahan Associates, Inc
Moderators:  Wendy S. McClanahan, McClanahan Associates, Inc
Speakers:  Taj Carson, Carson Research Consulting, Kelly Piccinino, McClanahan Associates, Inc and Lauren Rich, University of Chicago

For decades, educational policies have been wholly unsuccessful in creating safe and high-quality academic experiences for a majority of youth from low-income neighborhoods. With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), our country’s approach has shifted towards a broader definition of success—one that holds schools accountable for nonacademic measures in addition to traditional academic factors. While some experts worry that these nonacademic factors may be beyond schools’ purviews, one educational reform approach has been addressing nonacademic factors in schools for over a decade: community schools. By bringing together community resources and partnering with community agencies and organizations, community schools provide students and families with access to holistic supports to bolster students’ academic and nonacademic outcomes. The refocus of educational policy in the U.S., combined with evaluation findings suggesting the potential of community schools to help students succeed, has led to a boom in the development of community schools around the country. This roundtable joins three evaluators who used various types of data, measurement, and methodology to inform community school policy through the lens of Elev8, a full-service community school initiative developed by Atlantic Philanthropies which ran in four regions across the U. S. The proposed session will present findings from three aspects of Elev8’s evaluation—program improvement (Carson Research Consulting), community school implementation (McClanahan Associates, Inc.), and impacts relevant to policy (Chapin Hall)—and discuss how the different measurement, design, and methodological strategies each supported different aspects of the initiative’s implementation. Carson Research Consulting (CRC) will share findings related to the development of a data dashboard tailored for Baltimore’s Elev8 schools. An ongoing challenge for evaluators is finding ways to be responsive to stakeholders making day-to-day decisions about program operations. Data dashboards are one tool available to establish a “utilization-focused” approach to working with program stakeholders, while simultaneously providing evaluators an opportunity to check program data quality and review outcomes. Successful data dashboard use, however, depends upon both good design principles and feedback processes working within the context of the program. McClanahan Associates Inc. (MAI) will share research on how Elev8 adapted over time to maintain its relevancy while facing various environmental factors and illuminate the importance of local context as a crucial data point. The study revealed five key lessons which are pertinent to policymakers’ decision making about how to implement community schools locally and in determining if their local context is conducive to a community school effort. Chapin Hall (CH) will share findings from their outcomes study of Chicago’s Elev8 effort. Drawing on out-of-school time (OST) participation data collected by Elev8 sites, as well as data collected by Chicago Public Schools (CPS), CH compared the academic outcomes of students who participated in Elev8 versus those at Elev8 schools who did not participate. They also compared students who attended Elev8 schools during Elev8 program years to students who attended similar non-Elev8 schools within CPS. This study was designed to help funders and policymakers assess the efficacy of the Elev8 approach.

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