Content Area   |   Education Setting   |   Policy Area   |  Research Summaries

Education Setting

Expand all

+ Elementary

The Association Between Elementary School Start Time and Students’ Academic Achievement in Wayzata Public Schools

CAREI conducted two analyses with the purpose of examining the association between elementary school start time and students’ academic achievement in mathematics and reading in Wayzata Public Schools. The first analysis examined the association between elementary school start time and students’ academic achievement in elementary school. The second analysis examined the association between elementary school start time and students’ academic achievement in middle school. The results suggest that the association between school start time and elementary students’ academic achievement is small to non-existent, particularly when controlling for student demographic characteristics, grade, and school. Non-statistically significant interactions indicated that the small effect of school start time was the same for all student subgroups examined. Similarly, the results suggest that there is no association between elementary school start time and middle school students’ academic achievement.


Neighborhood Bridges: 2012-2013 Evaluation Report

Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literacy program using storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives.In 2012-2013, a total of 640 students in grades three through six from twenty-three classrooms in eleven schools across the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area participated in the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of The Children’s Theatre Company (CTC). This report presents the results of an evaluation of the Bridges program. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct the study. The purpose of the evaluation was to measure the quality of Bridges implementation and assess student learning in the areas of writing; knowledge and skills in theatre; retelling and dramatization and critical literacy.


Global Literacy Through Mandarin Immersion and STEM: Year Three Evaluation Report (2011-2012)

In 2009, a Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to the Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative (MMIC) for the project Global Literacy Through Mandarin Immersion and STEM. The funding was expected to continue for a total of 5 years contingent upon annual renewal approved by Congress. However, in 2011, Congress voted to discontinue all FLAP funding. The 3 years’ of funding received by the MMIC supported early elementary immersion instruction in Mandarin Chinese that begins at the kindergarten level and the development of a curriculum that has a content focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The schools in the MMIC have added a grade level each year, with the intent of creating the capacity to continue Chinese immersion to grades 7-12. The MMIC contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota to serve as the external evaluator of the project. This report presents CAREI’s evaluation of the third year of the grant-funded project. The report includes enrollment and retention data as well as the results of a parent survey and a survey of English teachers (i.e., instructional staff whose positions were in the regular, non-immersion program).


Staying Power: Assessing the Impact of the [email protected] Program on Student Attendance Behavior (Conference Paper)

Truancy has reached epidemic levels in schools in the United States. School truancy is associated with delinquency, substance abuse, educational failure, and school attrition. This paper describes 2010-2011 evaluation results of the [email protected] truancy intervention program in Hennepin County, Minnesota’s most populous county. The program was implemented to increase school attendance through coordinated, progressive early intervention efforts that provide educational and support services to school-age children and their families. Over 6,000 children, grades K-12, and their families were referred to the program. The evaluation compared children’s attendance records before and after program interventions. Results showed a significant reduction in unexcused absence rates among students whose families participated in parent group meetings. Moreover, students whose families received community agency support had significantly fewer absences than their counterparts who received no such support. The findings suggest that early school interventions that include community and parental involvement can markedly reduce student truancy rates.
This conference paper was presented at the 2012 Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) Conference.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2010-2011

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2009-2010

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP)

The Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP) was a series of rigorous, content-focused, summer science institutes offered regionally throughout Minnesota for K-12 teachers of science. Institutes were provided in biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and scientific inquiry – addressing the Minnesota Science Standards in each area – with at least one K-5 and one 6-12 institute offered in each of five regions each summer. MnSTEP completed the third and final year of summer institutes and school year follow-up for Minnesota K-12 science teachers, including licensure programs in both high school physics and chemistry. Over three years, MnSTEP delivered 47 standards based science content institutes involving 914 teachers, who then taught more than 85,000 students. This report presents information on performance outcomes for year three of the project including results of pre- and post-assessment data for the year two cohort of teacher participants in the summer 2008 institutes. We presented an evaluation of the year one cohort in the 2008 MnSTEP Evaluation Report. We provide performance outcomes for the year one cohort in this report as a supplement to the 2008 report and for comparison purposes to the year two cohort.


Minneapolis Public Schools Observational Drawing Evaluation Report

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) was awarded a grant by American Honda Foundation to implement observational drawing in 20 elementary classrooms in 2010. Minneapolis Public Schools used observational drawing to teach skills of observation and apply them in the context of scientific investigation. Classroom teachers and the teaching artists had varying levels of experience with observational drawing. Minneapolis Public Schools contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to assess the impact of implementing this technique in a sample of MPS classrooms.


Staying Power: Assessing the Impact of the [email protected] Program on Student Attendance Behavior (Evaluation Report)

The [email protected] Program was implemented to increase school attendance and to improve community connections across Hennepin County through a coordinated early intervention effort that provides educational and support services to school-age children and their families. The program builds on the Minneapolis schools’ attendance improvement activities which include making automated calls to parents after the first unexcused absence, sending a Principal’s letter to parents after three unexcused absences, and offering helpful resources to the families. This report presents evaluation findings for the 2010-2011 school year of Hennepin County’s [email protected] Program. The program used early intervention strategies with individual families to address children’s poor school attendance. Over 6,000 children in grades K-12 and their families were referred to the program during the time frame under study. Referrals came from 21 school districts, charter schools, and independent schools across Hennepin County. The evaluation focused on comparing children’s attendance records before and after program intervention. Additionally, analyses were completed between students whose families participated in the program and those who were referred, but did not participate (comparison group). Qualitative data analyses were also carried out to identify impediments to school attendance. Throughout this report, demographic information and program activities are described and related to the findings.


An Evaluation of the Partners for Success Program for the School Year 2010-2011

The Partners for Success® (PFS) Program, serving Dakota and Scott counties, provides basic needs assistance (e.g., food, clothing, school supplies) to students and families. In addition, for over 15 years, Family Support Workers (FSW) have collaborated with teachers, principals and school staff in 39 schools to help boost students’ educational progress. The two main program goals of PFS are: 1) Establish a standard level of services across districts; and 2) Effectively partner with schools to ensure that all students reach proficiency in reading by third grade. During the 2009-2010 school year, CAREI evaluators focused on the formative aspects of the program. In the second evaluation (2010-2011), CAREI evaluators collaborated with PFS program staff to formulate three specific goals for the evaluation: 1) Determine the extent to which FSWs communicate and collaborate with parents/guardians and teachers to build relationships and improve students’ educational performance; 2) Continue to monitor PFS professional development processes and determine how 360 Communities can continue to support and strengthen program activities through capacity building within the organization; and 3) Identify how the program impacts students, families and teachers by focusing on observed changes from the perspectives of teachers, parents/guardians, FSWs, and from analysis of student data. The second year’s evaluation was implemented in 10 elementary schools located in six Minnesota cities: Burnsville, Farmington, Hastings, Lakeville, South St. Paul, and West St. Paul. This report summarizes the evaluation data collected from September 2010 through June 2011.


Neighborhood Bridges: 2010-2011 Evaluation Report

Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literacy program using storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives. In 2010-2011, students in twenty-five classrooms from eleven schools in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area participated in The Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. The Children’s Theatre Company contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate Bridges in these classrooms. The purpose of the evaluation was to measure the quality of Bridges implementation and assess student learning in the areas of writing; knowledge and skills in theatre; retelling and dramatization; and critical literacy. Highlights from the results of the evaluation study are discussed below.


Global Literacy Through Mandarin Immersion and STEM: Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative Year 2

In 2009, a 5-year Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to the Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative (MMIC) for the project Global Literacy Through Mandarin Immersion and STEM. The grant supports immersion instruction in Mandarin Chinese that begins at the kindergarten level and the development of a curriculum that has a content focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The schools in the MMIC will add a grade level each year, with the intent of creating the capacity to continue Chinese immersion to grades 7-12. The MMIC has contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota to serve as the external evaluator of the project. This report presents CAREI’s evaluation of the second year of the grant-funded project. The report includes enrollment and retention data as well as the results of principal interviews, teacher interviews, and a parent survey.


Arts for Academic Achievement Developing Readers Project

The Developing Readers Project is part of the Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) program that has been implemented since 1997 in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). The mission of AAA is to increase student academic achievement and improve teacher practice by making arts-based and arts-integrated learning essential to classroom instruction through collaborations with artists and arts organizations. The primary goal of the project is to increase the reading achievement of students in the middle grades, with a concentration on working with students in grade 6. The students targeted for inclusion are struggling readers enrolled in schools that have a significantly large proportion of students in poverty as defined by their eligibility for free or reduced price lunch. MPS has contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate its implementation of the Developing Readers Project. This document is the year 2 evaluation report that addresses project implementation during the 2009‐10 academic year. The report includes descriptions of the participants and project activities and the results of student surveys, classroom video documentation, and teacher interviews. Also included are the results of analyses of attendance rates during the 2009‐10 school year and standardized reading test performance in spring 2009 compared to spring 2010.


Making the Body Visible through Dramatic/Creative Play: Critical Literacy in Neighborhood Bridges

This report describes and examines the meaning and use of critical literacy in The Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. Critical literacy is an orientation to reading that includes an understanding of how texts (oral stories, books, media) position readers (listeners/viewers), how readers position texts, and how texts are positioned within social, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Critical literacy is central to the philosophy of Bridges, which involves elementary and middle school students in storytelling and creative drama. An important goal of the program is to develop in children the capacity to analyze and challenge dominant social and cultural storylines as they create new storylines through imaginative retellings and reenactments. Of particular interest in this report is how critical literacy is facilitated via various opportunities for drama/creative play and Teacher Artist interactions with students during the four phases of a typical Neighborhood Bridges session.


Learning from Leadership Project: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning (Executive Summary of Research Findings)

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study–Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning–provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education–including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles–provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning. This study was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation.


Critical Literacy in Neighborhood Bridges: An Exploratory Study

This report describes and examines the meaning and use of critical literacy in The Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. Critical literacy is an orientation to reading that includes an understanding of how texts (oral stories, books, media) position readers (listeners/viewers), how readers position texts, and how texts are positioned within social, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Critical literacy is central to the philosophy of Bridges, which involves elementary and middle school students in storytelling and creative drama. An important goal of the program is to develop in children the capacity to analyze and challenge dominant social and cultural storylines as they create new storylines through imaginative retellings and reenactments.


Global Literacy Through Mandarin Immersion and STEM: Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative Year 1

In 2009, a 5-year Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to the Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative (MMIC) for the project Global Literacy Through Mandarin Immersion and STEM. The grant supports immersion instruction in Mandarin Chinese that begins at the kindergarten level and the development of a curriculum that has a content focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The schools in the MMIC will add a grade level each year, with the intent of creating the capacity to continue Chinese immersion to grades 7-12. The MMIC has contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota to serve as the evaluator of the project. This year 1 evaluation report presents enrollment and retention data as well as the results of a teacher survey, teacher interviews, principal interviews, and a parent survey.


Learning from Leadership Project: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning (Final Report of Research Findings)

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study–Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning–provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education–including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles–provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning.


Anoka-Hennepin Compensatory Education Pilot Program, Year 4 Report

The purpose of the Anoka‐Hennepin Compensatory Education Pilot Program was to determine how the reallocation of funds affects program structure, changes instructional delivery, and provides opportunities for intense professional development in schools. The reallocation allowed the district to change program structure in reading and math instruction at three pilot site schools that were selected for this project because of their proportions of learners at risk. It was at those schools that a number of best practices components were added over four years of programming. Annual evaluation reports have been written every year of the program. This report looks specifically at the components in place in Year 4 of the program. The goals of the program were to have all students: 1) reach high standards; 2) attain proficiency in literacy and mathematics; and have all teachers: 1) vary instruction; and 2) use assessments to guide instruction for diverse learners. The CAREI team collected data using protocols and rubrics while observing classroom teachers and staff at the three pilot schools and 18 extension sites. Data were also drawn from district Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments – Series II (MCA‐II) test databases.


Minneapolis Public Schools North Side Initiative: Year Two External Evaluation Report

Minneapolis Public Schools announced in April 2007 that it would close five schools on the North Side of the district to consolidate resources and improve academic programs in the remaining North Side schools. This was the first step in the North Side Initiative (NSI), the district’s multi-year effort with goals to increase achievement for all students, close the achievement gap, improve attendance, increase enrollment, and decrease suspensions in the North Side schools. Two North Side elementary schools, Lucy Laney and Nellie Stone Johnson, were selected for a fresh start, which included appointing two new principals to provide leadership for reform initiatives. The district contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate the year one (2007-2008) implementation of the NSI. In response to the year one evaluation findings, the district contracted with CAREI again to carry out a year two (2008-2009) process evaluation of the NSI. The year two evaluation focused on three major areas:
Family liaisons in North Side schools
Parent/guardian satisfaction with North Side schools
Implementation of a fresh start in two North Side Schools


Arts for Academic Achievement Evaluation Report

This report focuses on Arts for Academic Achievement’s efforts to provide professional development opportunities to teachers using a school-based planning approach for integrating Tableau during the 2008-2009 school year. Tableau is a theater arts strategy in which students interpret stories using dramatic techniques. The Arts for Academic Achievement Program (AAA) has incorporated Tableau in Minneapolis Public Schools’ classrooms as a strategy to supplement reading and writing instruction. The main goal for students participating in Tableau is to use their bodies and facial expressions to portray the meaning of a reading passage, in a “frozen picture.” The strategy allows students to “bring thinking and reading to life.”


Burnsville All-Day Kindergarten Year 4 Summary of Results

This report discussed the results of a four year study of an all-day kindergarten cohort in Burnsville, Minnesota. During the 2003-2004 school year, all kindergarten students in the Burnsville school district received full-day kindergarten. This was the first and only year that universal, free, full-day kindergarten was implemented in Burnsville. Each summer, the teachers who would receive the 03-04 universal full-day kindergarten cohort participated in a staff development program to prepare them for a potentially more advanced group of students. The 2003-04 kindergarten students were in 4th grade during the 2007-08 school year. Students’ performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) in reading and math was compared to the cohort of students who enrolled in kindergarten during the 2004-05 school year, as well as to all students who joined their class by transferring into Burnsville after kindergarten.


Looking More Deeply: Fidelity of Implementation as a Critical Component in Evaluating Intervention Impacts

This study investigated the use of fidelity of implementation measures in concert with standardized tests in a matched-pairs, quasi-experimental design for evaluation of a pilot intervention program that was designed to increase second and third graders’ mathematics and reading achievement. Although students in pilot classrooms characterized by high fidelity generally performed at the same level as control students , students in low fidelity pilot classrooms performed at a significantly lower level compared to both control students and students in high fidelity pilot classrooms. We found that the fidelity measures allowed more in depth analysis of the intervention’s component parts and increased the confidence with which the project’s major questions could be addressed, thereby providing more useful information to school district personnel.


Project Intersect: Year Two Evaluation Report (Cloquet Public Schools & Fond Du Lac Ojibwe School)

Project Intersect is funded by a Department of Education grant awarded to Cloquet Public Schools and the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School for a period of three years: July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2009. The primary purpose of the project is to help students increase their understanding and appreciation of visual and performing arts, language arts, math, and science and how American Indian culture intersects with these areas. The project is a collaborative effort of the American Indian community, the Ojibwe tribal college, the elementary and middle schools, University of Minnesota art education faculty, and the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration. Year one of the project was a planning year devoted to establishment of a design team and development of an intervention design to integrate American Indian arts content into grade 1-8 curriculum. Year two was the first implementation year. In addition to continuing implementation, year three will include creation of a replication manual and dissemination of print and Web-based materials. CAREI evaluated three aspects of Project Intersect: teacher participation, teacher professional development, and classroom implementation.


Five-Year Academic Outcomes for a Cohort of All-Day Kindergarten: What Policies Should Follow?

The purpose of this study was to examine the academic outcomes over a five-year period for a unique cohort of 834 kindergarten students in one school district, revealing possible long-term effects of their having attended a free, full-day kindergarten program.
Key findings:

  • Students who attended all-day kindergarten met expectations on the third grade MCA-II at a higher rate than those who attended half-day kindergarten
  • In fourth grade, students who had attended universal all-day kindergarten far outscored their classmates who had attended kindergarten outside of the district on the MCA-II math and reading tests.
  • The primary difference observed for students at risk (FRL, ELL) was between students who attended kindergarten outside of Beacham and those who started kindergarten in the district, with Beacham kindergarten students faring better on 3rd and 4th grade MCA-II tests.

Arts for Academic Achievement: A Brief Review of Research on Readers’ Theatre and Tableau in Literacy Instruction

This review of the literature seeks to identify and summarize scientific research on the use and effectiveness of Readers’ Theatre and Tableau in literacy education. These programs integrate theatre activities into the classroom and are intended to enhance literacy skills. This review will also define key terms, address the use of drama techniques in the context of current standards- and evidence-based educational practices and policies, including Reading First, and discuss the nature of the relationship between the use of drama techniques in the classroom and literacy achievement.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 5

This report is the fifth in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The evaluation was designed to measure the extent to which Bridges accomplishes the outcomes specified in the grant proposal, and provide information that CTC and Bridges staff can use to strengthen the program. The intended program outcomes are as follows: Increase student achievement in reading, Increase student achievement in writing, Increase student achievement in theatre, and Broaden classroom teachers’ instructional strategies to include elements of storytelling and theatre as arts and as a support to learning in other core content areas.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 4

This report is the fourth in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The evaluation was designed to measure the extent to which Bridges accomplishes the outcomes specified in the grant proposal, and provide information that CTC and Bridges staff can use to strengthen the program. The intended program outcomes are as follows: Increase student achievement in reading, Increase student achievement in writing, and Increase student achievement in theatre.


An Evaluation of the Transitional Language Center Program in the Saint Paul Public Schools: Final Report

In anticipation of the arrival of approximately 1,000 Hmong newcomers from the Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp in Thailand, the Saint Paul Public School District in Minnesota, worked with the community to develop an education program that would specifically address the needs of these students. The resulting program, the Transitional Language Center (TLC), was established at five elementary schools during the 2004-2005 academic year as a temporary educational model for the newcomers. In spring 2005, the district contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to conduct an evaluation that compared the TLC model with the Language Academy (LA) model already in use by the district.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 3

This report examines the relationship between student participation in Neighborhood Bridges and their reading achievement as measured by the spring 2006 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) in reading. The report is the third in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education.


District 191 All-Day Kindergarten Program Longitudinal Findings 2003-2006

Year 3 (2005-2006) of a longitudinal evaluation of all-day every day kindergarten in a metro area school district in Minnesota (Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191). Student learning, instructional aspects, social development, parent perceptions, and logistical concerns were examined as part of a four-year study.


Bloomington/Richfield Early Reading First: Get Ready Centers of Excellence (Year 2 Report)

The purpose of this report is to summarize results for Year 2 of the Early Reading First Get Ready Centers of Excellence project in the Bloomington/ Richfield Minnesota Public Schools. Funded by the federal Department of Education through an Early Reading First Get Ready Centers of Excellence grant, the project seeks to improve the language and early reading skills of at risk and limited English pre-school children so that they will be competitive academically when they enter kindergarten and can maintain their achievement through 2nd grade. The Bloomington/Richfield Get Ready program evolved because of a nation wide concern with the achievement gap, beginning in Kindergarten, between children at risk, i.e., students of color, English language learners, students in poverty and those children without those risk factors. The questions raised by the project are these: “What kind of academic, social and emotional intervention is needed for children at risk to make them ready for kindergarten? To keep them on track throughout their schooling? What classroom circumstances, teacher training, amount of time and staffing ratios are optimal? When should interventions begin?


Anoka-Hennepin Compensatory Education Pilot Program Year 1 Report

The Year 1 Report of the Anoka-Hennepin Compensatory Education Pilot Progam reviews student achievement results from the pilot schools and a matched set of control students, levels of implementation of the project in classrooms, impact of strategies on outcomes and changes in teacher and staff attitudes toward the project. Shifting the traditional allocation of funds allows the district to provide a major intervention in three schools with high populations of at-risk students. The intervention includes program structures for mathematics and reading, changing instructional delivery methods in math and reading, providing intense professional development for teachers in math and reading, coaching follow-up at each site, and significant oversight


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 2

This report is the second in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this report is to summarize additional data gathered since the initial report and present recommendations for program improvement based on a synthesis of all the data collected to date. The next report in the series will include data from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) reading test that students took in spring 2006.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 1

This report is the first in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. The study is funded through a grant to CTC from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this report is to summarize results from surveys completed by teaching artists and classroom teachers who participated in Bridges during the 2005-2006 school year and make preliminary recommendations for how the program could be improved. A subsequent report will summarize data collected through interviews with classroom teachers and teaching artists and include final recommendations based on a synthesis of the survey and interview data.


Educational Leadership in the States: A Cultural Analysis

The results of this study describe the nature of successful leadership practices at the state, district and school levels. The study is also identifying how those practices shape instructional behaviors of teachers which ultimately lead to improved student learning. This research is part of a 5-year, $3.5 million research project funded by the Wallace Foundation (New York) examining the effect of educational leadership on student achievement.


Full Day Kindergarten: A Longitudinal Study in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (Year 1)

Findings from a longitudinal study in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage
School District on the effects of all day Kindergarten showed:

• Dramatic gains in kindergarten essentially eliminated the achievement gap among all students.
• Students from full-day cohort entered and exited both 1st and 2nd grades
ahead of the national average on standardized tests.
• At-risk students from full-day kindergarten outperformed at-risk peers who
only attended half-day kindergarten at every measurement comparison in
1st and 2nd grades.
• Students from full-day cohort continue to record above average performance
into 3rd grade.


Full Day Kindergarten: A Longitudinal Study in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (Year 2)

Year 2 (2004-2005) of a longitudinal evaluation of all-day every day kindergarten in a metro area school district in Minnesota (Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191). Student learning, instructional aspects, social development, parent perceptions, and logistical concerns were examined as part of a four-year study.


Project for Academic Excellence: Changes in Teaching and Student Achievement

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence: Overview of the Comprehensive Reform Model

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence, Evaluation Report

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence: Building Capacity and Going to Scale

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. The initial cohort of schools helped build the district’s capacity to provide essential demonstration
classrooms–modeling standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment–and put into practice
Learning Walks–modeling shared instructional leadership. Additionally, the first cohort of schools has
been the testing ground for how the comprehensive reform would look given sufficient resources to take
the reform to scale within a school. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Bloomington/Richfield Early Reading First: Get Ready Centers of Excellence (Year 1 Report)

The purpose of this report is to summarize results for Year 1 of the Early Reading First Get Ready Centers of Excellence project in the Bloomington/ Richfield Minnesota Public Schools. Funded by the federal Department of Education through an Early Reading First Get Ready Centers of Excellence grant, the project seeks to improve the language and early reading skills of at risk and limited English pre-school children so that they will be competitive academically when they enter kindergarten and can maintain their achievement through 2nd grade. The Bloomington/Richfield Get Ready program evolved because of a nation wide concern with the achievement gap, beginning in Kindergarten, between children at risk, i.e., students of color, English language learners, students in poverty and those children without those risk factors. The questions raised by the project are these: “What kind of academic, social and emotional intervention is needed for children at risk to make them ready for kindergarten? To keep them on track throughout their schooling? What classroom circumstances, teacher training, amount of time and staffing ratios are optimal? When should interventions begin?


21st Century Community Learning Centers: Pathways to Progress, Saint Paul Public Schools (Final Evaluation Report)

Saint Paul Public Schools, like most large, urban districts, is faced with educating an increasingly diverse student population at a time when resources are dwindling. In order to confront these challenges, the district sought and received a three-year, federally funded grant to establish community learning centers in Saint Paul Public Schools, known as Pathways to Progress.
This report is a summative evaluation of the Pathways to Progress 21st Century
Community Learning Centers grant, which operated at eight sites in Saint Paul Public Schools for three years between June 2000 and May 2003. It is intended to provide Saint Paul Public Schools with empirical data on student performance and program outcomes, including discrepancies among student populations commonly known as the “achievement gap,” over the entire grant period so that district officials can better assess the value of expanded day programs.


Arts for Academic Achievement: Images of Arts Infusion in Elementary Classrooms

This paper presents the findings from a longitudinal research study of the experiences and conditions in which community-based artists have been blended into everyday, on-going instruction in six Minneapolis elementary schools. Along with an earlier paper, “Arts Integration–A Vehicle for Changing Teacher Practice,” this paper substantiates and deepens what was first described by teacher participants in group interviews. The methodology for this current study utilized extensive classroom observation conducted over time. The six schools studied were part of a larger district-wide arts integration initiative, where a total of 43 schools were involved in the Annenberg Arts for Academic Achievement Project. Within each of the six selected schools presented in this paper are individual and teams of classroom teachers who have worked with the same artist over the course of one to three years. The classroom teachers and teaching artists were observed on twenty-two different occasions by observer-researchers from CAREI over the course of a year.


Models of Implementing Arts for Academic Achievement: Challenging Contemporary Classroom Practice

The Minneapolis Public Schools’ Challenge Grant from the Annenberg Foundation focused on the arts as a means for overall academic improvement. To accomplish this goal, schools were to increase integration of the arts into the core curriculum and develop strong partnerships with artists and arts organizations. The core of the Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) project was “bottom up” innovation, with the precise nature of the intervention to be defined by the school and the arts partners working together. Schools were at various levels of experience in working with visiting artists and arts organization partners, and therefore, developed a variety of approaches to implementation. The arts integration models in elementary schools varied by what core curriculum was taught in and through the arts, the number of disciplines (arts and non-arts) involved in the activity, whether the concepts taught during the activity focused on both the arts and non-arts areas, and what roles were played by the classroom teacher and arts partner. The five implementation models we observed are: Residency Model, Elaborated Residency Model, Capacity Building Model,Co-Teaching Model, Concepts Across the Curriculum Model


Charting a New Course: A Study of the Adoption and Implementation of Standards-Based Mathematics Curricula in Eight Minnesota School Districts: Final Report to Sci MathMN (Fall 2001)

Across the state of Minnesota, school districts have adopted a variety of new mathematics curricula developed in the 1990s with the support of the National Science Foundation. As of spring 2000, more than 100 districts in Minnesota were using one of these standards-based curricula at the elementary, middle and/or high school levels. This is the final report of the multi-year study of implementation and impact of standards-based curricula in Minnesota in several district settings.


21st Century Community Learning Centers: Pathways to Progress Project, Saint Paul Public Schools

Saint Paul Public Schools, like most large, urban districts, is faced with educating an increasingly diverse student population at a time when resources are dwindling. In order to confront these challenges, the district sought and received a three-year, federally funded grant to establish community learning centers in Saint Paul Public Schools, known as Pathways to Progress.
Pathways to Progress is a three year, federally funded grant that establishes community learning centers at each of the eight Saint Paul Public School sites. These community learning centers are designed to provide coordinated expanded day and year community learning activities for students, families and community members in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


Supporting Standards-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics and Science: Lessons from the Minnesota TIMSS Data

More and more school districts are consciously collecting and using a wide variety of data to inform their decision- making processes. This report is an effort to support Minnesota school districts in using data from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to assess the extent to which they are engaging in and supporting standards-based education in these two subject areas. This report is intended for teachers, curriculum coordinators, school and district administrators, and policy- makers who wish to systematically examine how we educate our children in science and mathematics. It is It is not possible to look at our educational practices and outcomes as cause and effect. Rather, the data are intended to highlight the relationships between how we educate our children and what they learn. Introduction Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement 3 organized into five main sections, each of which begins with a summary of the Minnesota TIMSS data on key issues in science and mathematics education at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. At the end of each section are questions to guide educators in reflecting upon their practices at the classroom, school, and district levels and the extent to which these practices promote standards-based teaching and learning.


Working Group on Alternative Calendars

This report from a working group convened by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning examined evidence on the educational and fiscal outcomes of year-round education and issues encountered in implementing year-round educational programs in Minnesota. In October 1998, a Working Group was convened to provide independent advice to the State Legislature on alternatives to the traditional nine-month, September through June school year calendar.


Framework and Methodology for The Exemplary Technology-Supported-Schooling Case Studies Project

New conceptual and methodological models are needed to cope with the changes that result from integration of information technology into education. The boundaries of the school are expanding as the virtual activities become more common. The curriculum evolves as the needs of students shift toward information handling and knowledge construction. And new policy issues are emerging. These rapid changes mean that qualitative methods are needed to identify key factors, uncover hidden meanings, and explore alternative conceptual models. The “Exemplary Technology-Supported-Schooling Case Studies” project exemplifies the need for exploration of new concepts and methods. A new conceptual framework for a study was designed for studying technology-supported instructional innovations in leading-edge schools. The methodology and selection of sites for the case studies is described in this report. Overall the approach exemplifies approaches that can be used to study sites successful in dealing with rapid changes due to technology.


Preparing a Community Progress Report

Minnesota family service collaboratives are encouraged to report on the status of their community on a core set of outcomes and performance indicators as part of a community progress report. Ideally, this report would be issued annually and include year-to-year trend data related to each indicator. This is a resource to help family service collaboratives with their outcome-focused reporting. This monograph includes the following sections: (1) Overview of a collaborative data-based decisionmaking process; (2) Core outcomes and indicators (for both family service collaboratives and children’s mental health); (3) Planning steps for producing an annual community progress report; (4) A bare-bones model report.


Minnesota Charter Schools Evaluation, Final Report

An evaluation team from the University of Minnesota was selected to complete an 18-month study in February 1996 by the Minnesota State Board of Education. The evaluation was to focus on three policy questions regarding Minnesota charter schools, 1) are Minnesota charter schools doing what they were designed to do; 2) are charter schools improving student achievement; and 3) are charter schools successful? This is the interim report completed in December 1996 and presented to the Board in early 1997.

+ Middle Years

Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Canoemobile 2016: Evaluation Brief

The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program (UWCA) provides a continuum of outdoor experiences for youth and families. The Canoemobile program is an outgrowth of the original UWCA program. The Canoemobile program serves as a floating classroom that provides water-based activities to connect urban youth to the natural world through hands-on, outdoor learning on local waterways in cities across America. Between April and May 2016, over 1,000 participants from five states participated in the Canoemobile program and completed the post-trip survey. The majority of participants (96%) were from California, Minnesota, and Colorado.

There were high levels of agreement across all survey items and the most frequent response for all nine items was strongly agree. For example, 92% agreed that contributing to their community was important; 91% agreed that they had learned new skills; and 88% indicated they felt like they belonged on the trip. In addition, respondents agreed that, as a result of the trip, they: were more interested in protecting the environment (86% agreed), had a stronger connection to nature (86%), will think about the environment more often (85%), had learned about outdoor jobs (80%), and were more aware of their personal strengths (79%).


Neighborhood Bridges: 2012-2013 Evaluation Report

Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literacy program using storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives.In 2012-2013, a total of 640 students in grades three through six from twenty-three classrooms in eleven schools across the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area participated in the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of The Children’s Theatre Company (CTC). This report presents the results of an evaluation of the Bridges program. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct the study. The purpose of the evaluation was to measure the quality of Bridges implementation and assess student learning in the areas of writing; knowledge and skills in theatre; retelling and dramatization and critical literacy.


Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation: 2012

The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) Program provides a continuum of experiences for youth and families that are designed to engage all participants in a life‐long relationship with the outdoors and also encourages environmental awareness and leadership development. The UWCA seeks to fill a gap in the outdoor industry by reaching, engaging, and serving underserved, low and middle income urban youth and families.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) have collaborated with Wilderness Inquiry and its partners since spring 2010 to evaluate the UWCA. CAREI evaluators collected data from an array of sources in 2012. We reviewed more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, conducted in‐depth interviews with young adults with long term involvement, and analyzed the responses of more than 1,100 students, teachers, and youth leaders to prepare this report.
The 2012 UWCA Evaluation investigated the outcomes of three UWCA activities this year:
1) The Minneapolis Public Schools’ Summer School Mississippi River trip; 2) Washburn High School’s at‐risk students’ involvement with one UWCA trip; and, 3) AVID student’s participation in three UWCA trips.
Our findings consistently demonstrate that regardless of the specific program or modification the participants received numerous personal, social, and academic benefits through UWCA trip participation. Many of the variables that influenced these benefits have been identified during our data analyses. The research we initiated before the 2012 evaluation supports findings we observed in earlier evaluations, whether the data was collected from students, teachers, or former youth participants.


Staying Power: Assessing the Impact of the [email protected] Program on Student Attendance Behavior (Conference Paper)

Truancy has reached epidemic levels in schools in the United States. School truancy is associated with delinquency, substance abuse, educational failure, and school attrition. This paper describes 2010-2011 evaluation results of the [email protected] truancy intervention program in Hennepin County, Minnesota’s most populous county. The program was implemented to increase school attendance through coordinated, progressive early intervention efforts that provide educational and support services to school-age children and their families. Over 6,000 children, grades K-12, and their families were referred to the program. The evaluation compared children’s attendance records before and after program interventions. Results showed a significant reduction in unexcused absence rates among students whose families participated in parent group meetings. Moreover, students whose families received community agency support had significantly fewer absences than their counterparts who received no such support. The findings suggest that early school interventions that include community and parental involvement can markedly reduce student truancy rates.
This conference paper was presented at the 2012 Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) Conference.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2010-2011

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2009-2010

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation

According to Wilderness Inquiry (WI), the ultimate goal of the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) program is to engage youth in a series of deepening wilderness experiences that will result in a percentage of these youth becoming environmental leaders. The intermediate goal of Wilderness Inquiry is to improve student academic performance through an innovative classroom/fieldwork curriculum that uses environmental educational experiences to teach science, social studies, and language arts. The purpose of this initial evaluation was to assess the impact of the UWCA Program and the Mississippi River field trips on the attitudes and behaviors of fifth through eighth graders in Minneapolis Public Schools’ summer school program. While the ultimate goal of the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) program is to improve student academic performance, we limited the scope of the initial evaluation to five key objectives. We wanted to determine the extent to which the Program: (a) positively influenced students’ attitudes about the river, the environment, and science; (b) improved student attendance during the summer session; (c) advanced the learning objectives of a River‐based curriculum; (d) increased students’ interest in the natural environment; and, (e) increased students’ awareness of the river and their personal connection to it. We also wanted to assess teachers’ level of engagement and the extent to which they believed the UWCA program affected students.


Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP)

The Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP) was a series of rigorous, content-focused, summer science institutes offered regionally throughout Minnesota for K-12 teachers of science. Institutes were provided in biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and scientific inquiry – addressing the Minnesota Science Standards in each area – with at least one K-5 and one 6-12 institute offered in each of five regions each summer. MnSTEP completed the third and final year of summer institutes and school year follow-up for Minnesota K-12 science teachers, including licensure programs in both high school physics and chemistry. Over three years, MnSTEP delivered 47 standards based science content institutes involving 914 teachers, who then taught more than 85,000 students. This report presents information on performance outcomes for year three of the project including results of pre- and post-assessment data for the year two cohort of teacher participants in the summer 2008 institutes. We presented an evaluation of the year one cohort in the 2008 MnSTEP Evaluation Report. We provide performance outcomes for the year one cohort in this report as a supplement to the 2008 report and for comparison purposes to the year two cohort.


An Evaluation of Project SUCCESS Programming

Project SUCCESS (PS) is a youth-development organization working with students in public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. For over 18 years, the program has worked to motivate students to set goals, plan for the future, and pursue their dreams. The program seeks to accomplish these goals by collaborating with teachers, facilitating in-class workshops with students, and providing access to theater experiences and other special programs and services (e.g., one-on-one assistance, college tours, school performances, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) adventures). In August 2011, PS contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of its program. During the 2011-2012 school year, evaluators focused on building a foundation of evaluation activities that can be expanded on in future years. The purpose of the evaluation was to gather information to help program staff better understand how the program impacts students and teachers. This information is expected to help guide guide further exploration of program effectiveness.


Staying Power: Assessing the Impact of the [email protected] Program on Student Attendance Behavior (Evaluation Report)

The [email protected] Program was implemented to increase school attendance and to improve community connections across Hennepin County through a coordinated early intervention effort that provides educational and support services to school-age children and their families. The program builds on the Minneapolis schools’ attendance improvement activities which include making automated calls to parents after the first unexcused absence, sending a Principal’s letter to parents after three unexcused absences, and offering helpful resources to the families. This report presents evaluation findings for the 2010-2011 school year of Hennepin County’s [email protected] Program. The program used early intervention strategies with individual families to address children’s poor school attendance. Over 6,000 children in grades K-12 and their families were referred to the program during the time frame under study. Referrals came from 21 school districts, charter schools, and independent schools across Hennepin County. The evaluation focused on comparing children’s attendance records before and after program intervention. Additionally, analyses were completed between students whose families participated in the program and those who were referred, but did not participate (comparison group). Qualitative data analyses were also carried out to identify impediments to school attendance. Throughout this report, demographic information and program activities are described and related to the findings.


Neighborhood Bridges: 2010-2011 Evaluation Report

Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literacy program using storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives. In 2010-2011, students in twenty-five classrooms from eleven schools in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area participated in The Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. The Children’s Theatre Company contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate Bridges in these classrooms. The purpose of the evaluation was to measure the quality of Bridges implementation and assess student learning in the areas of writing; knowledge and skills in theatre; retelling and dramatization; and critical literacy. Highlights from the results of the evaluation study are discussed below.


Review of Literature on Grade Configuration and School Transitions

Beginning with the junior high school movement in the 1920s and continuing through the middle school movement in the 1960s, educational researchers have investigated the impact of school transitions and different grade configurations on a variety of student outcomes. In this report, we review the most salient empirical research to date on how school transitions and different grade configurations impact student achievement and behavior, as well as student psychological and social-emotional outcomes.


Project AIM 2009-2010 Evaluation Report

During the 2009‐2010 school year, Project AIM, a program of the Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago, worked with over nine hundred fifth through eighth grade students in five schools. Project AIM teaching artists collaborated with classroom teachers in these schools to develop residencies that offered students instruction in arts, literacy and/or math. Each residency included thirteen sessions in which the artist provided instruction in the classroom in collaboration with the classroom teacher. In addition to the residencies, Project AIM facilitated the development of learning communities within each school. Project AIM also convened the artists each month for professional development sessions focused on topics such as the emotional and social development of middle grades students and integrating instruction in math and visual art. This report summarizes the results of an evaluation study of Project AIM during the 2009‐2010 school year.


The Minnesota Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Project: Impact Report 2011

The Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project is focused on strengthening the ability of middle school aged youth to set and achieve short and long-term educational goals by using an innovative and organic afterschool program model that is highly experiential. The aim of the program is to help youth own their learning by igniting their interest in education to to work with parents and guardians to support them in their role as their child’s first educator. This reports presents the evaluation results and demonstrates the impact that the Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project has had on youth participants during its third year.


Arts for Academic Achievement Developing Readers Project

The Developing Readers Project is part of the Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) program that has been implemented since 1997 in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). The mission of AAA is to increase student academic achievement and improve teacher practice by making arts-based and arts-integrated learning essential to classroom instruction through collaborations with artists and arts organizations. The primary goal of the project is to increase the reading achievement of students in the middle grades, with a concentration on working with students in grade 6. The students targeted for inclusion are struggling readers enrolled in schools that have a significantly large proportion of students in poverty as defined by their eligibility for free or reduced price lunch. MPS has contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate its implementation of the Developing Readers Project. This document is the year 2 evaluation report that addresses project implementation during the 2009‐10 academic year. The report includes descriptions of the participants and project activities and the results of student surveys, classroom video documentation, and teacher interviews. Also included are the results of analyses of attendance rates during the 2009‐10 school year and standardized reading test performance in spring 2009 compared to spring 2010.


Making the Body Visible through Dramatic/Creative Play: Critical Literacy in Neighborhood Bridges

This report describes and examines the meaning and use of critical literacy in The Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. Critical literacy is an orientation to reading that includes an understanding of how texts (oral stories, books, media) position readers (listeners/viewers), how readers position texts, and how texts are positioned within social, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Critical literacy is central to the philosophy of Bridges, which involves elementary and middle school students in storytelling and creative drama. An important goal of the program is to develop in children the capacity to analyze and challenge dominant social and cultural storylines as they create new storylines through imaginative retellings and reenactments. Of particular interest in this report is how critical literacy is facilitated via various opportunities for drama/creative play and Teacher Artist interactions with students during the four phases of a typical Neighborhood Bridges session.


Learning from Leadership Project: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning (Executive Summary of Research Findings)

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study–Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning–provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education–including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles–provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning. This study was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation.


Critical Literacy in Neighborhood Bridges: An Exploratory Study

This report describes and examines the meaning and use of critical literacy in The Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. Critical literacy is an orientation to reading that includes an understanding of how texts (oral stories, books, media) position readers (listeners/viewers), how readers position texts, and how texts are positioned within social, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Critical literacy is central to the philosophy of Bridges, which involves elementary and middle school students in storytelling and creative drama. An important goal of the program is to develop in children the capacity to analyze and challenge dominant social and cultural storylines as they create new storylines through imaginative retellings and reenactments.


Bringing Resources, Activities, & Inquiry in Neuroscience (B.R.A.I.N.) to Middle Schools

The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) funded Bringing Resources, Activities, & Inquiry in Neuroscience to Middle Schools (BrainU) sought to involve teachers to create and establish innovative content, creative teaching methods for implementing experiments, and increased communication among teachers, students, scientists, parents and their communities. The project planned to (1) create an expert cadre of teachers who integrate neuroscience concepts, activities, demonstrations and experiments into their classrooms, (2) increase teachers’ use of inquiry-based teaching, (3) develop educational experiences and materials that connect the study of neuroscience to students’ lives and increase student enthusiasm and interest for science and (4) partner with students and teachers to inform other students, teachers, parents and the general public about neuroscience research and its potential impact on their own lives. The Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, conducted the external evaluation. The CAREI evaluators gathered data for assessing the project’s success with pre- and posttests of neuroscience knowledge, a teacher survey, and classroom observations. Brain U staff administered the pre- and posttests of neuroscience knowledge in BrainU 101 summer workshops in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. CAREI evaluators conducted teacher surveys every year from 2004 through 2008 and conducted classroom observations from fall 2003 through winter 2009.


The Minnesota Children, Youth, and Familes at Risk Project: Impact Report 2010

The Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project is focused on strengthening the ability of middle school aged youth to set and achieve short and long-term educational goals by using an innovative and organic afterschool program model that is highly experiential. The aim of the program is to help youth own their learning by igniting their interest in education to to work with parents and guardians to support them in their role as their child’s first educator. This reports features the impact from the second year of the project whereby sixty-nine youth and seventy-one parents and guardians participated.


Learning from Leadership Project: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning (Final Report of Research Findings)

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study–Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning–provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education–including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles–provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning.


The Minnesota Children, Youth and Families At Risk Project: Impact Report 2009

The Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project is focused on strengthening the ability of middle school aged youth to set and achieve short and long-term educational goals by using an innovative and organic afterschool program model that is highly experiential. The aim of the program is to help youth own their learning by igniting their interest in education and to work with parents and guardians to support them in their role as their child’s first educator. This impact report describes the program model and the educational resources we used to develop it. It also highlights some of the promising early results, along with the resources developed during the project’s first year. There are also descriptions of the communities, youth, and parents this project serves.


Minneapolis Public Schools North Side Initiative: Year Two External Evaluation Report

Minneapolis Public Schools announced in April 2007 that it would close five schools on the North Side of the district to consolidate resources and improve academic programs in the remaining North Side schools. This was the first step in the North Side Initiative (NSI), the district’s multi-year effort with goals to increase achievement for all students, close the achievement gap, improve attendance, increase enrollment, and decrease suspensions in the North Side schools. Two North Side elementary schools, Lucy Laney and Nellie Stone Johnson, were selected for a fresh start, which included appointing two new principals to provide leadership for reform initiatives. The district contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate the year one (2007-2008) implementation of the NSI. In response to the year one evaluation findings, the district contracted with CAREI again to carry out a year two (2008-2009) process evaluation of the NSI. The year two evaluation focused on three major areas:
Family liaisons in North Side schools
Parent/guardian satisfaction with North Side schools
Implementation of a fresh start in two North Side Schools


Arts for Academic Achievement Evaluation Report

This report focuses on Arts for Academic Achievement’s efforts to provide professional development opportunities to teachers using a school-based planning approach for integrating Tableau during the 2008-2009 school year. Tableau is a theater arts strategy in which students interpret stories using dramatic techniques. The Arts for Academic Achievement Program (AAA) has incorporated Tableau in Minneapolis Public Schools’ classrooms as a strategy to supplement reading and writing instruction. The main goal for students participating in Tableau is to use their bodies and facial expressions to portray the meaning of a reading passage, in a “frozen picture.” The strategy allows students to “bring thinking and reading to life.”


Laptop Initiative Evaluation Report

This report describes the results of an evaluation of the Stillwater Area Public Schools laptop initiative at Stillwater Junior High School (SJHS) and Oak-Land Junior High School (OLJHS). A major impetus for the laptop initiative was the need to increase junior high students’ engagement in school. The district hoped to enhance students’ interest in learning by increasing the use of technology in the curriculum. The district also identified a need to develop students’ “21st century skills,” such as critical thinking, problem solving, technology literacy, and to support teachers in meeting the needs of diverse learners.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 5

This report is the fifth in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The evaluation was designed to measure the extent to which Bridges accomplishes the outcomes specified in the grant proposal, and provide information that CTC and Bridges staff can use to strengthen the program. The intended program outcomes are as follows: Increase student achievement in reading, Increase student achievement in writing, Increase student achievement in theatre, and Broaden classroom teachers’ instructional strategies to include elements of storytelling and theatre as arts and as a support to learning in other core content areas.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 4

This report is the fourth in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The evaluation was designed to measure the extent to which Bridges accomplishes the outcomes specified in the grant proposal, and provide information that CTC and Bridges staff can use to strengthen the program. The intended program outcomes are as follows: Increase student achievement in reading, Increase student achievement in writing, and Increase student achievement in theatre.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 3

This report examines the relationship between student participation in Neighborhood Bridges and their reading achievement as measured by the spring 2006 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) in reading. The report is the third in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 2

This report is the second in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to evaluate Bridges as part of a grant CTC received from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this report is to summarize additional data gathered since the initial report and present recommendations for program improvement based on a synthesis of all the data collected to date. The next report in the series will include data from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) reading test that students took in spring 2006.


Neighborhood Bridges Program Evaluation Report 1

This report is the first in a series of reports from a three-year evaluation study of the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minnesota. The study is funded through a grant to CTC from the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program of the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this report is to summarize results from surveys completed by teaching artists and classroom teachers who participated in Bridges during the 2005-2006 school year and make preliminary recommendations for how the program could be improved. A subsequent report will summarize data collected through interviews with classroom teachers and teaching artists and include final recommendations based on a synthesis of the survey and interview data.


Educational Leadership in the States: A Cultural Analysis

The results of this study describe the nature of successful leadership practices at the state, district and school levels. The study is also identifying how those practices shape instructional behaviors of teachers which ultimately lead to improved student learning. This research is part of a 5-year, $3.5 million research project funded by the Wallace Foundation (New York) examining the effect of educational leadership on student achievement.


Implementation of the Quality Compensation program (Q Comp): A Formative Evaluation

The report describes the range of implementation strategies and activities early adopter districts and sites have used in the implementation of the Quality Compensation Program (Q Comp), which is the alternative pay initiative enacted by the Minnesota Legislature. It also summarizes successes and concerns of those pilot sites, since their experiences can be highly informative for other districts and charter schools moving forward to create their own Q Comp plans.


Project for Academic Excellence: Changes in Teaching and Student Achievement

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence: Overview of the Comprehensive Reform Model

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence, Evaluation Report

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence: Building Capacity and Going to Scale

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. The initial cohort of schools helped build the district’s capacity to provide essential demonstration
classrooms–modeling standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment–and put into practice
Learning Walks–modeling shared instructional leadership. Additionally, the first cohort of schools has
been the testing ground for how the comprehensive reform would look given sufficient resources to take
the reform to scale within a school. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


21st Century Community Learning Centers: Pathways to Progress, Saint Paul Public Schools (Final Evaluation Report)

Saint Paul Public Schools, like most large, urban districts, is faced with educating an increasingly diverse student population at a time when resources are dwindling. In order to confront these challenges, the district sought and received a three-year, federally funded grant to establish community learning centers in Saint Paul Public Schools, known as Pathways to Progress.
This report is a summative evaluation of the Pathways to Progress 21st Century
Community Learning Centers grant, which operated at eight sites in Saint Paul Public Schools for three years between June 2000 and May 2003. It is intended to provide Saint Paul Public Schools with empirical data on student performance and program outcomes, including discrepancies among student populations commonly known as the “achievement gap,” over the entire grant period so that district officials can better assess the value of expanded day programs.


Changing Times: Findings From the First Longitudinal Study of Later High School Start Times

In the early 1990s, medical research found that teenagers have biologically different sleep and wake patterns than the preadolescent or adult population. On the basis of that information, in 1997 the seven comprehensive high schools in the Minneapolis Public School District shifted the school start time from 7:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. This article examines that change, finding significant benefits such as improved attendance and enrollment rates, less sleeping in class, and less student-reported depression. Policy implications are briefly discussed, acknowledging this to be a highly charged issue in school districts across the United States.


Differentiating the Curriculum: What Difference Does it Make?

This randomized experiment at the middle school level examined the differential effects of the “one-size-fits-all” approach to instruction and the instructional practice of differentiating the task so the “task fits individual” in a teacher-assigned and a student-chosen condition. The study examined the effects of these three conditions on a variety of achievement and reasoning behaviors for students of various skill levels.


Enhancing the Valuing of and Commitment to Effortful Achievement

This study conducted in a field context at the middle-school level investigated the effects of task differentiation and the task assignment process on the co-variance of effort and achievement outcome and the differential emphasis that students place on ability and effort in explaining the causes of their achievement.


Blocking the School Schedule: Potential for Instructional Change

For seven years, researchers at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, have been conducting evaluations of block scheduling for school districts across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Thirty-six high schools and 14 middle/junior high schools have requested some or all of the following evaluation methods: teacher, student, or parent surveys; classroom observation; or focus groups of teachers, students, or parents.


Monarch Monitoring: A Teacher/Student/Scientist Research Project. Final Report

The Monarch Monitoring Project was a field research experience designed to enhance the capacity of middle and high school teachers to incorporate active research into classroom teaching. Active research was defined as students involved in formulating questions and/or designing research protocol, collecting and interpreting data, and reporting results.


Minneapolis Public Schools Start Time Study Executive Summary 2001

Effective with the 1997-98 school year, the Minneapolis School District changed the starting time of its seven comprehensive high schools to 8:40 AM and the dismissal time to 3:20 PM. In the fall of the 2000-01 school year, CAREI was asked by the school district to examine the data about student grades and attendance and to repeat the administration of the School Sleep Habits Survey. The district was interested in knowing if the positive outcomes that had been present during the first year of the change were persisting over the long term. This report is the result of that follow-up study, led by Kyla Wahlstrom at the University of Minnesota.


Teachers’ Professional Development For Vital Middle Schools: What Do We Know And Where Should We Go?

Over the last decade the challenges to educators, both from within and outside the profession, have been numerous and often conflicting. Much of the time the difficulties appear overwhelming, as schools are confronted with seemingly endless challenges such as changing demographics, a sense that student engagement and faith in education is declining, and problems of attracting and retaining high quality faculty and administrators to work in an embattled professional setting. In this paper the author argues that we have lapsed into constrained, but easy, thinking about how to make middle schools a reality through teacher development. This has occurred not because the specific goals are wrong, or even the short-term strategies, but because we have not considered all of the larger implications.


Charting a New Course: A Study of the Adoption and Implementation of Standards-Based Mathematics Curricula in Eight Minnesota School Districts: Final Report to Sci MathMN (Fall 2001)

Across the state of Minnesota, school districts have adopted a variety of new mathematics curricula developed in the 1990s with the support of the National Science Foundation. As of spring 2000, more than 100 districts in Minnesota were using one of these standards-based curricula at the elementary, middle and/or high school levels. This is the final report of the multi-year study of implementation and impact of standards-based curricula in Minnesota in several district settings.


21st Century Community Learning Centers: Pathways to Progress Project, Saint Paul Public Schools

Saint Paul Public Schools, like most large, urban districts, is faced with educating an increasingly diverse student population at a time when resources are dwindling. In order to confront these challenges, the district sought and received a three-year, federally funded grant to establish community learning centers in Saint Paul Public Schools, known as Pathways to Progress.
Pathways to Progress is a three year, federally funded grant that establishes community learning centers at each of the eight Saint Paul Public School sites. These community learning centers are designed to provide coordinated expanded day and year community learning activities for students, families and community members in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


Supporting Standards-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics and Science: Lessons from the Minnesota TIMSS Data

More and more school districts are consciously collecting and using a wide variety of data to inform their decision- making processes. This report is an effort to support Minnesota school districts in using data from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to assess the extent to which they are engaging in and supporting standards-based education in these two subject areas. This report is intended for teachers, curriculum coordinators, school and district administrators, and policy- makers who wish to systematically examine how we educate our children in science and mathematics. It is It is not possible to look at our educational practices and outcomes as cause and effect. Rather, the data are intended to highlight the relationships between how we educate our children and what they learn. Introduction Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement 3 organized into five main sections, each of which begins with a summary of the Minnesota TIMSS data on key issues in science and mathematics education at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. At the end of each section are questions to guide educators in reflecting upon their practices at the classroom, school, and district levels and the extent to which these practices promote standards-based teaching and learning.


Working Group on Alternative Calendars

This report from a working group convened by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning examined evidence on the educational and fiscal outcomes of year-round education and issues encountered in implementing year-round educational programs in Minnesota. In October 1998, a Working Group was convened to provide independent advice to the State Legislature on alternatives to the traditional nine-month, September through June school year calendar.


Framework and Methodology for The Exemplary Technology-Supported-Schooling Case Studies Project

New conceptual and methodological models are needed to cope with the changes that result from integration of information technology into education. The boundaries of the school are expanding as the virtual activities become more common. The curriculum evolves as the needs of students shift toward information handling and knowledge construction. And new policy issues are emerging. These rapid changes mean that qualitative methods are needed to identify key factors, uncover hidden meanings, and explore alternative conceptual models. The “Exemplary Technology-Supported-Schooling Case Studies” project exemplifies the need for exploration of new concepts and methods. A new conceptual framework for a study was designed for studying technology-supported instructional innovations in leading-edge schools. The methodology and selection of sites for the case studies is described in this report. Overall the approach exemplifies approaches that can be used to study sites successful in dealing with rapid changes due to technology.


Minneapolis Public Schools Start Time Study Executive Summary 1998

Effective with the 1997-98 school year, the Minneapolis School District changed the starting time of its seven comprehensive high schools to 8:40 AM and the dismissal time to 3:20 PM. Prior to the change, classes began at the high schools at 7:15 AM and dismissed at 1:45 PM.


Preparing a Community Progress Report

Minnesota family service collaboratives are encouraged to report on the status of their community on a core set of outcomes and performance indicators as part of a community progress report. Ideally, this report would be issued annually and include year-to-year trend data related to each indicator. This is a resource to help family service collaboratives with their outcome-focused reporting. This monograph includes the following sections: (1) Overview of a collaborative data-based decisionmaking process; (2) Core outcomes and indicators (for both family service collaboratives and children’s mental health); (3) Planning steps for producing an annual community progress report; (4) A bare-bones model report.


Minnesota Charter Schools Evaluation, Final Report

An evaluation team from the University of Minnesota was selected to complete an 18-month study in February 1996 by the Minnesota State Board of Education. The evaluation was to focus on three policy questions regarding Minnesota charter schools, 1) are Minnesota charter schools doing what they were designed to do; 2) are charter schools improving student achievement; and 3) are charter schools successful? This is the interim report completed in December 1996 and presented to the Board in early 1997.


Schools Start Time Study Technical Report, Volume 2: Analysis of Student Survey Data

Effective with the 1996-97 school year, the Edina School District was the first district in the U.S. to change to a later starting time for their high school, going from 7:20 AM to an 8:30 AM start. This Volume II Report reports the data analysis and findings for survey responses from 7,168 secondary students, comparing the results from the Edina students to students in 16 additional school districts in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The report also provides a comparison of findings for students in Rhode Island who also experienced a change to a later start time. The survey used was the School Sleep Habits Survey created by Bradley Hospital at Brown University. A discussion of the comparative findings and possible future research studies is also included.


School Start Time Report: Minneapolis Schools Year 1

The initial purpose of this study was to discover and examine the array of factors inherent in a consideration of changing the starting time for high schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It has gathered information from multiple sources and perspectives, including students, teachers, parents, school administrators, community members, and medical researchers. Effective with the 1997-98 school year, the Minneapolis School District changed the starting time of its seven comprehensive high schools to 8:40 AM and the dismissal time to 3:20 PM. Prior to the change, classes began at the high schools at 7:15 AM and dismissed at 1:45 PM.

+ Out of School Time

Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Canoemobile 2016: Evaluation Brief

The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program (UWCA) provides a continuum of outdoor experiences for youth and families. The Canoemobile program is an outgrowth of the original UWCA program. The Canoemobile program serves as a floating classroom that provides water-based activities to connect urban youth to the natural world through hands-on, outdoor learning on local waterways in cities across America. Between April and May 2016, over 1,000 participants from five states participated in the Canoemobile program and completed the post-trip survey. The majority of participants (96%) were from California, Minnesota, and Colorado.

There were high levels of agreement across all survey items and the most frequent response for all nine items was strongly agree. For example, 92% agreed that contributing to their community was important; 91% agreed that they had learned new skills; and 88% indicated they felt like they belonged on the trip. In addition, respondents agreed that, as a result of the trip, they: were more interested in protecting the environment (86% agreed), had a stronger connection to nature (86%), will think about the environment more often (85%), had learned about outdoor jobs (80%), and were more aware of their personal strengths (79%).


Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation: 2012

The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) Program provides a continuum of experiences for youth and families that are designed to engage all participants in a life‐long relationship with the outdoors and also encourages environmental awareness and leadership development. The UWCA seeks to fill a gap in the outdoor industry by reaching, engaging, and serving underserved, low and middle income urban youth and families.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) have collaborated with Wilderness Inquiry and its partners since spring 2010 to evaluate the UWCA. CAREI evaluators collected data from an array of sources in 2012. We reviewed more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, conducted in‐depth interviews with young adults with long term involvement, and analyzed the responses of more than 1,100 students, teachers, and youth leaders to prepare this report.
The 2012 UWCA Evaluation investigated the outcomes of three UWCA activities this year:
1) The Minneapolis Public Schools’ Summer School Mississippi River trip; 2) Washburn High School’s at‐risk students’ involvement with one UWCA trip; and, 3) AVID student’s participation in three UWCA trips.
Our findings consistently demonstrate that regardless of the specific program or modification the participants received numerous personal, social, and academic benefits through UWCA trip participation. Many of the variables that influenced these benefits have been identified during our data analyses. The research we initiated before the 2012 evaluation supports findings we observed in earlier evaluations, whether the data was collected from students, teachers, or former youth participants.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2010-2011

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2009-2010

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation

According to Wilderness Inquiry (WI), the ultimate goal of the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) program is to engage youth in a series of deepening wilderness experiences that will result in a percentage of these youth becoming environmental leaders. The intermediate goal of Wilderness Inquiry is to improve student academic performance through an innovative classroom/fieldwork curriculum that uses environmental educational experiences to teach science, social studies, and language arts. The purpose of this initial evaluation was to assess the impact of the UWCA Program and the Mississippi River field trips on the attitudes and behaviors of fifth through eighth graders in Minneapolis Public Schools’ summer school program. While the ultimate goal of the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) program is to improve student academic performance, we limited the scope of the initial evaluation to five key objectives. We wanted to determine the extent to which the Program: (a) positively influenced students’ attitudes about the river, the environment, and science; (b) improved student attendance during the summer session; (c) advanced the learning objectives of a River‐based curriculum; (d) increased students’ interest in the natural environment; and, (e) increased students’ awareness of the river and their personal connection to it. We also wanted to assess teachers’ level of engagement and the extent to which they believed the UWCA program affected students.


The Minnesota Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Project: Impact Report 2011

The Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project is focused on strengthening the ability of middle school aged youth to set and achieve short and long-term educational goals by using an innovative and organic afterschool program model that is highly experiential. The aim of the program is to help youth own their learning by igniting their interest in education to to work with parents and guardians to support them in their role as their child’s first educator. This reports presents the evaluation results and demonstrates the impact that the Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project has had on youth participants during its third year.


The Minnesota Children, Youth, and Familes at Risk Project: Impact Report 2010

The Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project is focused on strengthening the ability of middle school aged youth to set and achieve short and long-term educational goals by using an innovative and organic afterschool program model that is highly experiential. The aim of the program is to help youth own their learning by igniting their interest in education to to work with parents and guardians to support them in their role as their child’s first educator. This reports features the impact from the second year of the project whereby sixty-nine youth and seventy-one parents and guardians participated.


The Minnesota Children, Youth and Families At Risk Project: Impact Report 2009

The Minnesota CYFAR Sustainable Communities Project is focused on strengthening the ability of middle school aged youth to set and achieve short and long-term educational goals by using an innovative and organic afterschool program model that is highly experiential. The aim of the program is to help youth own their learning by igniting their interest in education and to work with parents and guardians to support them in their role as their child’s first educator. This impact report describes the program model and the educational resources we used to develop it. It also highlights some of the promising early results, along with the resources developed during the project’s first year. There are also descriptions of the communities, youth, and parents this project serves.


21st Century Community Learning Centers: Pathways to Progress, Saint Paul Public Schools (Final Evaluation Report)

Saint Paul Public Schools, like most large, urban districts, is faced with educating an increasingly diverse student population at a time when resources are dwindling. In order to confront these challenges, the district sought and received a three-year, federally funded grant to establish community learning centers in Saint Paul Public Schools, known as Pathways to Progress.
This report is a summative evaluation of the Pathways to Progress 21st Century
Community Learning Centers grant, which operated at eight sites in Saint Paul Public Schools for three years between June 2000 and May 2003. It is intended to provide Saint Paul Public Schools with empirical data on student performance and program outcomes, including discrepancies among student populations commonly known as the “achievement gap,” over the entire grant period so that district officials can better assess the value of expanded day programs.


Use of Continuous Improvement and Evaluation in After-School Programs

This study, supported with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, is intended to provide “quick turnaround” information to inform the future direction of the Foundation related to building the capacity of after-school programs to engage in evaluation and continuous improvement (CI) efforts to promote program improvement. This final report includes findings that are based on a review of the relevant literature related to evaluation and continuous improvement, in-depth telephone interviews with key players involved in the design and use of evaluation and continuous improvement strategies in after-school programs, and focus groups held around the U.S. with administrators and practitioners working in after-school programs.


21st Century Community Learning Centers: Pathways to Progress Project, Saint Paul Public Schools

Saint Paul Public Schools, like most large, urban districts, is faced with educating an increasingly diverse student population at a time when resources are dwindling. In order to confront these challenges, the district sought and received a three-year, federally funded grant to establish community learning centers in Saint Paul Public Schools, known as Pathways to Progress.
Pathways to Progress is a three year, federally funded grant that establishes community learning centers at each of the eight Saint Paul Public School sites. These community learning centers are designed to provide coordinated expanded day and year community learning activities for students, families and community members in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


St. Paul Public Schools Extended Learning Programs: Evaluation Report (1997)

In 1995, the Minnesota Legislature provided funding for year-round schools and extended day, week and year programming. Such programs are viewed as a way to increase student achievement, skills, and self-confidence through more flexible use of learning time. In March of 1996, the Saint Paul Public School district enlisted the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to conduct an evaluation of its extended day, week and year programs.


Homework Research and Policy: A Review of the Literature

Data show that homework accounts for about 20 percent of the total time the typical American student spends on academic tasks . . . considering this fact, it is surprising how little attention is paid to the topic of homework in teacher education. This literature review looks at the role of research in improving homework practices.

+ Post-Secondary

Minneapolis Public Schools Small Learning Communities: Final Evaluation Report

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) was awarded a 5‐year grant by the U.S. Department of Education for a Small Learning Communities (SLC) project that was implemented in its seven comprehensive high schools. The funding period began in July 2005 and ended in July 2010. Two main goals were established for the project. Goal 1 was to close the achievement gap between students of color and White students in reading and mathematics while raising the achievement of all students. Goal 2 was to increase the graduation rate and post‐secondary readiness of all students. This evaluation report describes MPS’s attainment of these two goals in the final year of the 5‐year project and across all 5 years.


Building Community-University Partnerships: Learnings from Practice for Institutions and Individuals Engaged in Urban and Other Partnerships

This engagement guide is intended to provide readers with information that will help them as they work to build sustainable community-university partnerships. It focuses on urban partnerships, and is largely based on our experiences over several years in building community-university working teams to help address issues central to the vitality of our partner communities. The work was part of broad efforts by the University of Minnesota to develop sustainable partnerships with urban communities. Although our examples and focus are urban, the learnings and processes should apply as well to non-urban issues, for rural and small town areas are facing many of the same issues as urban and metropolitan areas, and principles of partnership development transcend settings. The work engages faculty and professional staff who bring their conceptual perspectives and methods and tools to address the issues. But it also involves students, for today’s college students will need skills to address urban and other challenges as they move through their careers. The contents of this document were developed largely under grant #P116B070062, from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education.


Math Readiness of Incoming Students at Normandale Community College

More than 70% of students who enrolled at Normandale Community College in 2009 tested into a remedial level math class. The high percentage of students testing into developmental math is a concern for several reasons. Because students must complete these remedial classes before continuing on with other degree program courses, it prolongs their degree program. It is also an additional cost to students as they must pay for these remedial courses like any other program course. Finally, according to Normandale Community College staff, 50% of the teaching being conducted in the math department at the college is currently focused on developmental mathematics. The staff time and resources spent on planning, preparing, and teaching remedial math courses could be redirected to college level courses or electives if the percentage of students needing remedial instruction decreased.
The purpose of this study was to analyze student data to better understand the contributing factors to the high percentage of incoming students testing into remedial level math courses. CAREI researchers found statistically significant correlations between high school performance and MCA II test results, as well as with ACCUPLACER scores. Not surprisingly, the last course taken and the year it was taken are important factors. Full details are available in the report.


Elements of an Engaged University: Minnesota Youth Community Learning (MYCL) Initiative of the Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health at the University of Minnesota (Final Evaluation Report)

There is a threefold purpose to this final evaluation report: to describe the evaluation activities that have taken place during the grant period, to summarize the key findings of the evaluation, and to offer some conclusions based on the perspective of an outside evaluator. The report and is organized around the evaluation questions (below) that were posed by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. To what extent have MYCL Initiative activities been successful? What are the perceived benefits (and challenges) of community/University partnerships? How might MYCL activities become the building blocks for long-term community engagement? What are some distinguishing features and essential elements of an engaged institution? How can engagement be sustained as central to the university mission and system?


Project for Academic Excellence: Changes in Teaching and Student Achievement

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence, Evaluation Report

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Executive Summary: Analysis of College in the Schools (CIS) Surveys

The College in the Schools (CIS) program delivers introductory-level University of Minnesota courses to high school junior and senior students in their local high schools. These courses are taught by their high school teachers and are a means of providing advanced curriculum to those students who are ready for highly challenging content. The survey asked about participants’ experiences after high school including whether they attended college, whether the University credit received was recognized at their college, and how CIS did or did not prepare them for college. These are survey results and analysis of the CIS program.


College in the Schools Follow-Up Student Survey: A survey of alumni five years after participation

The College in the Schools (CIS) program delivers introductory-level University of Minnesota courses to high school junior and senior students in their local high schools. These courses are taught by their high school teachers and are a means of providing advanced curriculum to those students who are ready for highly challenging content. The survey asked about participants’ experiences after high school including whether they attended college, whether the University credit received was recognized at their college, and how CIS did or did not prepare them for college. These are survey results and analysis of the CIS program.


Analysis of the College in the Schools Program Impact Survey: A survey of participating teachers, principals, and guidance counselors

The College in the Schools (CIS) program delivers introductory-level University of Minnesota courses to high school junior and senior students in their local high schools. These courses are taught by their high school teachers and are a means of providing advanced curriculum to those students who are ready for highly challenging content. The survey asked about participants’ experiences after high school including whether they attended college, whether the University credit received was recognized at their college, and how CIS did or did not prepare them for college.
These are survey results and analysis from surveys of A survey of participating teachers, principals, and guidance counselors of the CIS program.


Dissemination With Impact: What Research Suggests for Practice in Career and Technical Education

The purpose of this review is to examine what we know about dissemination, based on both the literature that refers specifically to Career and Technical Education (CTE), and that which is drawn from education and related fields. Ricketts’ (1982) literature review indicated that research on the dissemination of vocational education products was “slightly negative to strongly negative,” and that “The understanding of dissemination’s role in the process of innovation and change is much too weak” (3). After reviewing the published literature in the field, it appears that his assessment of nearly two decades ago cannot be easily challenged. Thus, our purpose is to introduce dilemmas that may advance the CTE dissemination field rather than to validate current “best practice.”


Charting a New Course: A Study of the Adoption and Implementation of Standards-Based Mathematics Curricula in Eight Minnesota School Districts: Final Report to Sci MathMN (Fall 2001)

Across the state of Minnesota, school districts have adopted a variety of new mathematics curricula developed in the 1990s with the support of the National Science Foundation. As of spring 2000, more than 100 districts in Minnesota were using one of these standards-based curricula at the elementary, middle and/or high school levels. This is the final report of the multi-year study of implementation and impact of standards-based curricula in Minnesota in several district settings.

+ Secondary

Examining the Impact of Later High School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study

The results from this three-year research study, conducted with over 9,000 students in eight public high schools in three states, reveal that high schools that start at 8:30 AM or later allow for more than 60% of students to obtain at least eight hours of sleep per school night. Teens getting less than eight hours of sleep reported significantly higher depression symptoms, greater use of caffeine, and are at greater risk for making poor choices for substance use. Academic performance outcomes, including grades earned in core subject areas of math, English, science and social studies, plus performance on state and national achievement tests, attendance rates and reduced tardiness show significantly positive improvement with the later start times of 8:35 AM or later. Finally, the number of car crashes for teen drivers from 16 to 18 years of age was significantly reduced by 70% when a school shifted start times from 7:35 AM to 8:55 AM.


Staying Power: Assessing the Impact of the [email protected] Program on Student Attendance Behavior (Conference Paper)

Truancy has reached epidemic levels in schools in the United States. School truancy is associated with delinquency, substance abuse, educational failure, and school attrition. This paper describes 2010-2011 evaluation results of the [email protected] truancy intervention program in Hennepin County, Minnesota’s most populous county. The program was implemented to increase school attendance through coordinated, progressive early intervention efforts that provide educational and support services to school-age children and their families. Over 6,000 children, grades K-12, and their families were referred to the program. The evaluation compared children’s attendance records before and after program interventions. Results showed a significant reduction in unexcused absence rates among students whose families participated in parent group meetings. Moreover, students whose families received community agency support had significantly fewer absences than their counterparts who received no such support. The findings suggest that early school interventions that include community and parental involvement can markedly reduce student truancy rates.
This conference paper was presented at the 2012 Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) Conference.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2010-2011

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Evaluation of Youth Frontiers, 2009-2010

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students’ social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.


Minnesota State Incentive Grant, Synopsis of Final Case Report

Since the early 1990s, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) has shifted from supporting independent prevention activities in states and localities to focusing on comprehensive prevention strategies. The State Incentive Grant (SIG) program, launched in 1997, was described by CSAP as representing a major step toward increasingly comprehensive and coordinated prevention programming at both the local and state levels. Participating states have received three years of funding at approximately $3 million a year. The ultimate purpose of the SIG initiative is to prevent or reduce substance abuse among youth ages 12-17 years by re-engineering the process of prevention programming. In this report we focus on summarizing Minnesota’s work between 1999 and 2002 related to the development of a comprehensive, statewide prevention strategy, including the coordination of prevention funding. Findings are presented regarding the key elements of the SIG program and Minnesota’s approach that were put in motion to re-engineer the ATOD prevention system; the characteristics of 22 local grantees that received SIG funds; and the re-engineering outcomes achieved as of the end of 2002. A full description of the methods used to collect and analyze information related to the Minnesota SIG initiative is included in Appendix A. II.


Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP)

The Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP) was a series of rigorous, content-focused, summer science institutes offered regionally throughout Minnesota for K-12 teachers of science. Institutes were provided in biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and scientific inquiry – addressing the Minnesota Science Standards in each area – with at least one K-5 and one 6-12 institute offered in each of five regions each summer. MnSTEP completed the third and final year of summer institutes and school year follow-up for Minnesota K-12 science teachers, including licensure programs in both high school physics and chemistry. Over three years, MnSTEP delivered 47 standards based science content institutes involving 914 teachers, who then taught more than 85,000 students. This report presents information on performance outcomes for year three of the project including results of pre- and post-assessment data for the year two cohort of teacher participants in the summer 2008 institutes. We presented an evaluation of the year one cohort in the 2008 MnSTEP Evaluation Report. We provide performance outcomes for the year one cohort in this report as a supplement to the 2008 report and for comparison purposes to the year two cohort.


Minneapolis Public Schools Small Learning Communities: Final Evaluation Report

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) was awarded a 5‐year grant by the U.S. Department of Education for a Small Learning Communities (SLC) project that was implemented in its seven comprehensive high schools. The funding period began in July 2005 and ended in July 2010. Two main goals were established for the project. Goal 1 was to close the achievement gap between students of color and White students in reading and mathematics while raising the achievement of all students. Goal 2 was to increase the graduation rate and post‐secondary readiness of all students. This evaluation report describes MPS’s attainment of these two goals in the final year of the 5‐year project and across all 5 years.


An Evaluation of Project SUCCESS Programming

Project SUCCESS (PS) is a youth-development organization working with students in public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. For over 18 years, the program has worked to motivate students to set goals, plan for the future, and pursue their dreams. The program seeks to accomplish these goals by collaborating with teachers, facilitating in-class workshops with students, and providing access to theater experiences and other special programs and services (e.g., one-on-one assistance, college tours, school performances, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) adventures). In August 2011, PS contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of its program. During the 2011-2012 school year, evaluators focused on building a foundation of evaluation activities that can be expanded on in future years. The purpose of the evaluation was to gather information to help program staff better understand how the program impacts students and teachers. This information is expected to help guide guide further exploration of program effectiveness.


Staying Power: Assessing the Impact of the [email protected] Program on Student Attendance Behavior (Evaluation Report)

The [email protected] Program was implemented to increase school attendance and to improve community connections across Hennepin County through a coordinated early intervention effort that provides educational and support services to school-age children and their families. The program builds on the Minneapolis schools’ attendance improvement activities which include making automated calls to parents after the first unexcused absence, sending a Principal’s letter to parents after three unexcused absences, and offering helpful resources to the families. This report presents evaluation findings for the 2010-2011 school year of Hennepin County’s [email protected] Program. The program used early intervention strategies with individual families to address children’s poor school attendance. Over 6,000 children in grades K-12 and their families were referred to the program during the time frame under study. Referrals came from 21 school districts, charter schools, and independent schools across Hennepin County. The evaluation focused on comparing children’s attendance records before and after program intervention. Additionally, analyses were completed between students whose families participated in the program and those who were referred, but did not participate (comparison group). Qualitative data analyses were also carried out to identify impediments to school attendance. Throughout this report, demographic information and program activities are described and related to the findings.


Learning from Leadership Project: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning (Executive Summary of Research Findings)

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study–Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning–provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education–including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles–provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning. This study was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation.


Bringing Resources, Activities, & Inquiry in Neuroscience (B.R.A.I.N.) to Middle Schools

The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) funded Bringing Resources, Activities, & Inquiry in Neuroscience to Middle Schools (BrainU) sought to involve teachers to create and establish innovative content, creative teaching methods for implementing experiments, and increased communication among teachers, students, scientists, parents and their communities. The project planned to (1) create an expert cadre of teachers who integrate neuroscience concepts, activities, demonstrations and experiments into their classrooms, (2) increase teachers’ use of inquiry-based teaching, (3) develop educational experiences and materials that connect the study of neuroscience to students’ lives and increase student enthusiasm and interest for science and (4) partner with students and teachers to inform other students, teachers, parents and the general public about neuroscience research and its potential impact on their own lives. The Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, conducted the external evaluation. The CAREI evaluators gathered data for assessing the project’s success with pre- and posttests of neuroscience knowledge, a teacher survey, and classroom observations. Brain U staff administered the pre- and posttests of neuroscience knowledge in BrainU 101 summer workshops in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. CAREI evaluators conducted teacher surveys every year from 2004 through 2008 and conducted classroom observations from fall 2003 through winter 2009.


Learning from Leadership Project: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning (Final Report of Research Findings)

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study–Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning–provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education–including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles–provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning.


Minneapolis Public Schools North Side Initiative: Year Two External Evaluation Report

Minneapolis Public Schools announced in April 2007 that it would close five schools on the North Side of the district to consolidate resources and improve academic programs in the remaining North Side schools. This was the first step in the North Side Initiative (NSI), the district’s multi-year effort with goals to increase achievement for all students, close the achievement gap, improve attendance, increase enrollment, and decrease suspensions in the North Side schools. Two North Side elementary schools, Lucy Laney and Nellie Stone Johnson, were selected for a fresh start, which included appointing two new principals to provide leadership for reform initiatives. The district contracted with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate the year one (2007-2008) implementation of the NSI. In response to the year one evaluation findings, the district contracted with CAREI again to carry out a year two (2008-2009) process evaluation of the NSI. The year two evaluation focused on three major areas:
Family liaisons in North Side schools
Parent/guardian satisfaction with North Side schools
Implementation of a fresh start in two North Side Schools


Arts for Academic Achievement Evaluation Report

This report focuses on Arts for Academic Achievement’s efforts to provide professional development opportunities to teachers using a school-based planning approach for integrating Tableau during the 2008-2009 school year. Tableau is a theater arts strategy in which students interpret stories using dramatic techniques. The Arts for Academic Achievement Program (AAA) has incorporated Tableau in Minneapolis Public Schools’ classrooms as a strategy to supplement reading and writing instruction. The main goal for students participating in Tableau is to use their bodies and facial expressions to portray the meaning of a reading passage, in a “frozen picture.” The strategy allows students to “bring thinking and reading to life.”


Arts for Academic Achievement: A Descriptive Report on the Development of an Embedded Course on Observational Drawing and Science

During the 2006-2007 school year Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) established a work group of high school science teachers, district science curriculum specialists, a visual artist, and AAA staff to develop an embedded course on integrating observational drawing and science instruction. The new course would join the embedded courses on Readers’ Theatre and Tableau that were being offered by AAA for the first time during 2006-2007. The embedded courses were distinct in that they trained teachers in specific arts-integration strategies. As part of a larger study of AAA, program staff asked the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to document the course development process. The purpose of this report is to describe: 1) the process AAA staff used to develop the course, and 2) how two teachers, who were involved in developing the course, integrated drawing into their science instruction.


Creating Connected Counseling: Initiative to Restructure High School Counseling and Guidance Services to Raise the High School Completion Rates of All Students

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools. Funded by the Bush Foundation, the initiative is an effort aligned with the Foundation’s goal of raising high school completion rates for all students. This report describes the progress of Connected Counseling as of January 2007. The Connected Counseling Model shifts the focus of school counselors from concentrating exclusively on one-on-one support to individual students to creating school-wide comprehensive standards-based school counseling programs in order to reach ALL students. Connected Counseling stresses the leadership role that school counselors play in developing school-wide improvement strategies in alignment with the district’s strategic goals. Connected Counseling draws on the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model for comprehensive school counseling programs.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Johnson High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Johnson High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Humboldt High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Highland Park High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Harding High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Como High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Central High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Connected Counseling Saint Paul Public Schools: Arlington High School Report

The Saint Paul Public Schools (Minnesota) Connected Counseling initiative, begun in 2003, is focused on redesigning both the content and delivery of school counseling programs in Saint Paul’s seven comprehensive high schools.


Educational Leadership in the States: A Cultural Analysis

The results of this study describe the nature of successful leadership practices at the state, district and school levels. The study is also identifying how those practices shape instructional behaviors of teachers which ultimately lead to improved student learning. This research is part of a 5-year, $3.5 million research project funded by the Wallace Foundation (New York) examining the effect of educational leadership on student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence: Overview of the Comprehensive Reform Model

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Project for Academic Excellence: Building Capacity and Going to Scale

Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence was a comprehensive reform model that was implemented in phases throughout Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. The initial cohort of schools helped build the district’s capacity to provide essential demonstration
classrooms–modeling standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment–and put into practice
Learning Walks–modeling shared instructional leadership. Additionally, the first cohort of schools has
been the testing ground for how the comprehensive reform would look given sufficient resources to take
the reform to scale within a school. This report documents the implementation of the project through 2004-2005. The comprehensive reform model focused on 12 nationally-researched, proven education reform practices described in the report and recognized the importance of expert knowledge and technical assistance. There was evidence of substantial change in teaching and evidence of increased student achievement.


Executive Summary: Analysis of College in the Schools (CIS) Surveys

The College in the Schools (CIS) program delivers introductory-level University of Minnesota courses to high school junior and senior students in their local high schools. These courses are taught by their high school teachers and are a means of providing advanced curriculum to those students who are ready for highly challenging content. The survey asked about participants’ experiences after high school including whether they attended college, whether the University credit received was recognized at their college, and how CIS did or did not prepare them for college. These are survey results and analysis of the CIS program.


College in the Schools Follow-Up Student Survey: A survey of alumni five years after participation

The College in the Schools (CIS) program delivers introductory-level University of Minnesota courses to high school junior and senior students in their local high schools. These courses are taught by their high school teachers and are a means of providing advanced curriculum to those students who are ready for highly challenging content. The survey asked about participants’ experiences after high school including whether they attended college, whether the University credit received was recognized at their college, and how CIS did or did not prepare them for college. These are survey results and analysis of the CIS program.


Analysis of the College in the Schools Program Impact Survey: A survey of participating teachers, principals, and guidance counselors

The College in the Schools (CIS) program delivers introductory-level University of Minnesota courses to high school junior and senior students in their local high schools. These courses are taught by their high school teachers and are a means of providing advanced curriculum to those students who are ready for highly challenging content. The survey asked about participants’ experiences after high school including whether they attended college, whether the University credit received was recognized at their college, and how CIS did or did not prepare them for college.
These are survey results and analysis from surveys of A survey of participating teachers, principals, and guidance counselors of the CIS program.


Changing Times: Findings From the First Longitudinal Study of Later High School Start Times

In the early 1990s, medical research found that teenagers have biologically different sleep and wake patterns than the preadolescent or adult population. On the basis of that information, in 1997 the seven comprehensive high schools in the Minneapolis Public School District shifted the school start time from 7:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. This article examines that change, finding significant benefits such as improved attendance and enrollment rates, less sleeping in class, and less student-reported depression. Policy implications are briefly discussed, acknowledging this to be a highly charged issue in school districts across the United States.


Dissemination With Impact: What Research Suggests for Practice in Career and Technical Education

The purpose of this review is to examine what we know about dissemination, based on both the literature that refers specifically to Career and Technical Education (CTE), and that which is drawn from education and related fields. Ricketts’ (1982) literature review indicated that research on the dissemination of vocational education products was “slightly negative to strongly negative,” and that “The understanding of dissemination’s role in the process of innovation and change is much too weak” (3). After reviewing the published literature in the field, it appears that his assessment of nearly two decades ago cannot be easily challenged. Thus, our purpose is to introduce dilemmas that may advance the CTE dissemination field rather than to validate current “best practice.”


Blocking the School Schedule: Potential for Instructional Change

For seven years, researchers at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, have been conducting evaluations of block scheduling for school districts across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Thirty-six high schools and 14 middle/junior high schools have requested some or all of the following evaluation methods: teacher, student, or parent surveys; classroom observation; or focus groups of teachers, students, or parents.


Monarch Monitoring: A Teacher/Student/Scientist Research Project. Final Report

The Monarch Monitoring Project was a field research experience designed to enhance the capacity of middle and high school teachers to incorporate active research into classroom teaching. Active research was defined as students involved in formulating questions and/or designing research protocol, collecting and interpreting data, and reporting results.


The Problem of Reform in Urban High Schools: A Tale of Two Teams

This research was conducted as part of an Annenberg Foundation funded program. The purpose of the Annenberg Challenge is to trans form teaching and learning through partnerships between schools and artists and arts organizations. The theory of action underlying the initiative is that when teachers and artists collaboratively develop instruction that integrates arts and non-arts disciplines, instruction in non-arts disciplines becomes more effective and student achievement increases. The two teams involved in this analysis were assigned to work with general program ninth graders who had not enrolled in either of two magnet programs at the high school. Their students were at-risk of low achievement, poor attendance, and behavioral problems. The goals of the two teams arts initiative were to (1) help students feel more connected to their team and to school through participating in activities as a community, (2) increase students’ exposure to various arts forms, and (3) infuse arts activities into their classes to improve students’ engagement and understanding.


Minneapolis Public Schools Start Time Study Executive Summary 2001

Effective with the 1997-98 school year, the Minneapolis School District changed the starting time of its seven comprehensive high schools to 8:40 AM and the dismissal time to 3:20 PM. In the fall of the 2000-01 school year, CAREI was asked by the school district to examine the data about student grades and attendance and to repeat the administration of the School Sleep Habits Survey. The district was interested in knowing if the positive outcomes that had been present during the first year of the change were persisting over the long term. This report is the result of that follow-up study, led by Kyla Wahlstrom at the University of Minnesota.


Linking Authentic Instruction to Students’ Achievement Using Peer Coaching: Social Studies Best Practices Grant

In an effort to improve teaching and learning and to assist teachers in implementing the graduation standards, the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning sponsored a project called Linking Authentic Instruction, which provided a group of predominantly secondary social studies teachers in the Minneapolis School District the opportunity to participate in a series of professional development seminars. The goals of the seminars were for teachers to be able to: 1) Translate the theoretical framework that links the Minnesota High Standards and authentic pedagogy (instruction and assessment) into practice; 2) Create peer-coaching teams to embed the authentic instruction criteria into daily practice at each participating site; 3) Implement model lessons and score their own students’ work. This report is a result of an evaluation done to answer these questions.


Evaluating the Long Term Effects of Teacher Enhancement: Final Report (2001)

This is the culminating report of an in-depth, six- year study of science education reform. The reform included teacher enhancement activities as well as curricular materials and was designed to help science students achieve the National Research Council’s Science Standards (NRC, 1995). The longitudinal evaluation project was quite complex, used several data gathering methods and sources, and produced several reports and articles. The evaluation effort had two major components. The first component was designed to compare students who had participated in the reform effort with students from the same site who had not participated in the reform. The second component was to follow a subset of the sites to identify the long-term effects of the reform effort. For all six years of the evaluation effort both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered from principals, teachers and students through extensive site visits and assessment of student outcomes. The purpose of this report is to summarize and condense the findings from the subset sites. It presents the data gathered throughout the course of the evaluation effort by discussing the data from all of the sites as a set and by providing detailed information about each site individually. Furthermore the data are synthesized into a theoretical model for teacher enhancement and curricular implementation, and recommendations for future implementation and evaluation efforts are provided.


Block Scheduling Example Teacher Survey Report (1996-2000 data)

Included in this partial report are some of the questions from the survey which was developed by CAREI to help schools gather perceptions and attitudes from their teachers. It was designed so that schools could survey their teachers before and after adopting a block schedule. Some schools have used it even though they did not switch schedules.


Block Schedule Example Student Survey Report (1996-2000 data)

Included in this partial report are some of the questions from the survey which was developed by CAREI to help schools gather perceptions and attitudes from their students. It was designed so that schools could survey their students before and after adopting a block schedule. Some schools have used it even though they did not switch schedules.


Charting a New Course: A Study of the Adoption and Implementation of Standards-Based Mathematics Curricula in Eight Minnesota School Districts: Final Report to Sci MathMN (Fall 2001)

Across the state of Minnesota, school districts have adopted a variety of new mathematics curricula developed in the 1990s with the support of the National Science Foundation. As of spring 2000, more than 100 districts in Minnesota were using one of these standards-based curricula at the elementary, middle and/or high school levels. This is the final report of the multi-year study of implementation and impact of standards-based curricula in Minnesota in several district settings.


Supporting Standards-Based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics and Science: Lessons from the Minnesota TIMSS Data

More and more school districts are consciously collecting and using a wide variety of data to inform their decision- making processes. This report is an effort to support Minnesota school districts in using data from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to assess the extent to which they are engaging in and supporting standards-based education in these two subject areas. This report is intended for teachers, curriculum coordinators, school and district administrators, and policy- makers who wish to systematically examine how we educate our children in science and mathematics. It is It is not possible to look at our educational practices and outcomes as cause and effect. Rather, the data are intended to highlight the relationships between how we educate our children and what they learn. Introduction Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement 3 organized into five main sections, each of which begins with a summary of the Minnesota TIMSS data on key issues in science and mathematics education at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. At the end of each section are questions to guide educators in reflecting upon their practices at the classroom, school, and district levels and the extent to which these practices promote standards-based teaching and learning.


Working Group on Alternative Calendars

This report from a working group convened by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning examined evidence on the educational and fiscal outcomes of year-round education and issues encountered in implementing year-round educational programs in Minnesota. In October 1998, a Working Group was convened to provide independent advice to the State Legislature on alternatives to the traditional nine-month, September through June school year calendar.


Achieving the Science Standards: A National Study of Inquiry-Based Instruction in High School Science

The National Science Teachers Association’s SS&C(Scope, Sequence & Coordination)project created a new high school science curriculum that coordinated the content in the four basic sciences (life, earth, physics and chemistry) to allow students to study every science every year. The curriculum sequenced activities to encourage teachers to use inquiry-based instruction where students engage in hands-on activities before teachers define concepts.To examine the impact of SS&C, researchers at CAREI designed a comprehensive study comparing students who took SS&C science in 9th and 10th grade to students who did not take the new course. The study used a time-lag design which compares the prior year’s science students to the present year’s science students. The purpose of the study was to closely examine the effect of the standards-based curriculum on both the classroom learning environment and on students’ achievement in the sciences. Thirteen schools implemented the new science course. The schools were located in California, Iowa, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Texas and the District of Columbia and included more than 4,000 ninth graders and 2,500 tenth grade science students.


Evaluating the Long Term Effect of Teacher Enhancement

Although the ultimate goal of teacher enhance projects is to improve student outcomes, the causal path from teacher enhancement projects to changes in student outcomes is difficult to verify. Therefore this evaluation was designed to examine the long term effects of a teacher enhancement project on classroom activities and student outcomes at five different schools through case studies. The longitudinal approach is necessary to determine not only what happens initially but what remains after the funding and “newness” wears off. The enhancement effort was part of the Scope, Sequence and Coordination Project (SS&C) and consisted of two summer workshops, during the year contact, and curricular materials matched to the instructional philosophy presented at the workshops. The measure of persistence is the effect of the teacher enhancement on the schools, as demonstrated by teacher classroom performance and achievement of ninth grade students year after year. This report presents information gathered over four years, 1995-1998, from the five teacher enhancement sites.


Framework and Methodology for The Exemplary Technology-Supported-Schooling Case Studies Project

New conceptual and methodological models are needed to cope with the changes that result from integration of information technology into education. The boundaries of the school are expanding as the virtual activities become more common. The curriculum evolves as the needs of students shift toward information handling and knowledge construction. And new policy issues are emerging. These rapid changes mean that qualitative methods are needed to identify key factors, uncover hidden meanings, and explore alternative conceptual models. The “Exemplary Technology-Supported-Schooling Case Studies” project exemplifies the need for exploration of new concepts and methods. A new conceptual framework for a study was designed for studying technology-supported instructional innovations in leading-edge schools. The methodology and selection of sites for the case studies is described in this report. Overall the approach exemplifies approaches that can be used to study sites successful in dealing with rapid changes due to technology.


Minneapolis Public Schools Start Time Study Executive Summary 1998

Effective with the 1997-98 school year, the Minneapolis School District changed the starting time of its seven comprehensive high schools to 8:40 AM and the dismissal time to 3:20 PM. Prior to the change, classes began at the high schools at 7:15 AM and dismissed at 1:45 PM.


Preparing a Community Progress Report

Minnesota family service collaboratives are encouraged to report on the status of their community on a core set of outcomes and performance indicators as part of a community progress report. Ideally, this report would be issued annually and include year-to-year trend data related to each indicator. This is a resource to help family service collaboratives with their outcome-focused reporting. This monograph includes the following sections: (1) Overview of a collaborative data-based decisionmaking process; (2) Core outcomes and indicators (for both family service collaboratives and children’s mental health); (3) Planning steps for producing an annual community progress report; (4) A bare-bones model report.


Minnesota Charter Schools Evaluation, Final Report

An evaluation team from the University of Minnesota was selected to complete an 18-month study in February 1996 by the Minnesota State Board of Education. The evaluation was to focus on three policy questions regarding Minnesota charter schools, 1) are Minnesota charter schools doing what they were designed to do; 2) are charter schools improving student achievement; and 3) are charter schools successful? This is the interim report completed in December 1996 and presented to the Board in early 1997.


Schools Start Time Study Technical Report, Volume 2: Analysis of Student Survey Data

Effective with the 1996-97 school year, the Edina School District was the first district in the U.S. to change to a later starting time for their high school, going from 7:20 AM to an 8:30 AM start. This Volume II Report reports the data analysis and findings for survey responses from 7,168 secondary students, comparing the results from the Edina students to students in 16 additional school districts in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The report also provides a comparison of findings for students in Rhode Island who also experienced a change to a later start time. The survey used was the School Sleep Habits Survey created by Bradley Hospital at Brown University. A discussion of the comparative findings and possible future research studies is also included.


School Start Time Report: Minneapolis Schools Year 1

The initial purpose of this study was to discover and examine the array of factors inherent in a consideration of changing the starting time for high schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It has gathered information from multiple sources and perspectives, including students, teachers, parents, school administrators, community members, and medical researchers. Effective with the 1997-98 school year, the Minneapolis School District changed the starting time of its seven comprehensive high schools to 8:40 AM and the dismissal time to 3:20 PM. Prior to the change, classes began at the high schools at 7:15 AM and dismissed at 1:45 PM.


Scope, Sequence & Coordination: 10th Grade Science (Evaluation Report)

Scope, Sequence & Coordination (SS&C) is a national teacher enhancement and curriculum development project committed to developing activities that help students become more scientifically literate as defined by the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1995). The SS&C project is guided by the following principles: 1) every student should study every science subject every year, 2) science should explicitly take into account students’ prior knowledge and experience, 3) students should be provided with a sequence of content from concrete experiences and descriptive expression to abstract symbolism and quantitative expression, 4) concepts, principles, and theories should be revisited at successively higher levels of abstraction, and 5) learning should be coordinated in the four science subjects so as to interrelate basic concepts and principles. SS&C was funded by the National Science Foundation to develop and implement the first year of a four year set of activities and this evaluation was designed to document the effect of the SS&C project in relation to the NRC standards. The purpose of this evaluation was to ascertain the effectiveness of the Scope, Sequence, and Coordination project on tenth grade student achievement of the National Science Education Standards.


Scope, Sequence & Coordination: 9th and 10th Grade Science (Synthesis)

The purpose of this report is to synthesize the 9th and 10th grade evaluation reports ascertaining the effectiveness of the SS&C project on ninth and tenth grade student achievement of the National Science Education Standards. Scope, Sequence & Coordination (SS&C) is a national teacher enhancement and curriculum development project committed to developing activities that help students become more scientifically literate as defined by the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1995). The SS&C project is guided by the following principles: 1) every student should study every science subject every year, 2) science should explicitly take into account students’ prior knowledge and experience, 3) students should be provided with a sequence of content from concrete experiences and descriptive expression to abstract symbolism and quantitative expression, 4) concepts, principles, and theories should be revisited at successively higher levels of abstraction, and 5) learning should be coordinated in the four science subjects so as to interrelate basic concepts and principles. SS&C was funded by the National Science Foundation to develop and implement the first year of a four year set of activities and this evaluation was designed to document the effect of the SS&C project in relation to the NRC standards.


Scope, Sequence & Coordination: 9th Grade Science (Evaluation Report)

Scope, Sequence & Coordination (SS&C) is a national teacher enhancement and curriculum development project committed to developing activities that help students become more scientifically literate as defined by the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1995). The SS&C project is guided by the following principles: 1) every student should study every science subject every year, 2) science should explicitly take into account students’ prior knowledge and experience, 3) students should be provided with a sequence of content from concrete experiences and descriptive expression to abstract symbolism and quantitative expression, 4) concepts, principles, and theories should be revisited at successively higher levels of abstraction, and 5) learning should be coordinated in the four science subjects so as to interrelate basic concepts and principles. SS&C was funded by the National Science Foundation to develop and implement the first year of a four year set of activities and this evaluation was designed to document the effect of the SS&C project in relation to the NRC standards. The purpose of this evaluation was to ascertain the effectiveness of the Scope, Sequence, and Coordination project on ninth grade student achievement of the National Science Education Standards.