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Final Evaluation Report: Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model

**Updated 8/26/16 with Value-Added Addendum

Minnesota Statutes 122A.40, Subdivision 8 and 122A.41, Subdivision 5, require that all districts evaluate teachers beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statutes, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group in early winter 2011 to consult with the MDE Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013-2014 school year.

The Model consists of three components for evaluating teacher performance: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school from across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the sites implemented the full Model (all three components) and 11 implemented one or two components. Fourteen of the 17 districts are located outside of the Twin Cities metro area. Total enrollments ranged from 202 to 7,510 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) in the College of Education and Human Development to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot implementation. CAREI conducted surveys and interviews with participating teachers and summative evaluators and with MDE staff responsible for the development and implementation of the pilot. This final report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted from March to June, 2014, when the pilot year was concluding.

**Due to the data required for value-added assessment, the evaluation of the value-added subcomponent of student learning and achievement was completed after submission of the final evaluation report. The updated final evaluation report includes the value-added addendum.

Please note that the student engagement component is featured in the following publication:

Dretzke, B.J., Sheldon, T. D., & Lim, A. (2015). What do K-12 teachers think about including student surveys in their performance ratings? Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 27(3), 185-206.


Interim Evaluation Report: Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation and Peer Support Model Pilot

**Updated 3/4/14
The revised copy of this report is now available at the link above. Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

Minnesota Statute requires that districts begin evaluating teachers in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statute, during early winter 2011, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group to consult with the Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model (hereafter “Model”) and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013- 2014 school year (hereafter “Pilot”).

The Model includes three components: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the districts are implementing the full Model (all three components) and nine districts are implementing one or two components of the Model (see Appendix I). The size of participating districts varies widely, ranging from 287 students to 7,356 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot. This report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted during November and December 2013 with Pilot participants.

This interim status report  summarizes preliminary data and encompasses only the first three months of the school year; thus readers should not over-generalize the findings or conclusions presented here. The purpose of this interim report is to provide formative feedback to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The final evaluation report can be found here and above.


A Conceptual Framework for How Evaluators Make Everyday Practice Decisions

How do evaluators make decisions about how to approach an evaluation in their everyday practice? What are the bases for evaluators’ approach choices? In what ways do evaluators think about evaluation models? The evaluation literature remains unclear about what specific information evaluators consider when making decisions in response to everyday situations. This article introduces a conceptual framework for studying evaluators’ practice decisions that focuses on situation awareness in response to an evaluation context, practical reasoning as the bases for decision making, and reflection in action in response to changing environments. A study of how evaluators think through their work and make decisions about when, where, and why some strategies are used and others are not, may help to inform the field about everyday decision practices.


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.


Saint Paul Public Schools Chinese Articulation Project

In 2006, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) received grant funding from the Department of Education’s Foreign Language Assistance Program to support its Chinese Articulation Project (CAP). The three-year funding period started on September 15, 2006, and ended on September 14, 2009. SPPS established four main goals for the project: 1. Expand the Chinese program. 2. Articulate and align the Chinese language curriculum and instruction to provide continuity of student experience, standards-based programming, and district-wide structure. 3. Enrich the Chinese language program to provide a comprehensive rigorous academic experience. 4. Develop a national model and demonstration site of the articulated Chinese language program. CAREI was asked to evaluate the project’s impact in each of these areas.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Arts for Academic Achievement: A Compilation of Evaluation Findings from 2004-2006

This report summarizes results of the first two years of a three-year evaluation of the Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) program. To accomplish these goals, AAA provides schools a structure, resources, and support for collaborative projects between teachers and artists. The purpose of the projects is to increase the amount and quality of arts-based and arts-integrated learning by students. The major objectives of this study were to 1) examine student learning, as measured by standardized tests, in a larger set of grade levels, and 2) measure student effects not otherwise captured by standardized assessments.


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: 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.


Arts for Academic Achievement: Summative Evaluation Report

The purpose of this report is to summarize findings from our longitudinal evaluation of the Arts for Academic Achievement program. The strength of the evidence for our findings varies, but these distinctions are not elaborated in this summary report. Detailed descriptions of the study design, data collection methods, and further exploration of the study results are located in the individual reports listed at the end of this document.


Saint Paul Public Schools Excel Program

Superintendent Patricia Harvey and the Board of Education have set Saint Paul Public Schools on a course to provide a world-class education for all students. A major district policy initiative to support this goal was the bold step of ending social promotion, the practice of passing students on to the next grade regardless of whether they’ve mastered their work. In fall 2001, the Saint Paul Public Schools launched the Excel program – currently a one-of-a-kind initiative in Minnesota schools – as an alternative to merely retaining students in the same classroom and program in which they did not succeed the first time. This report summarizes the current implementation status of the Excel program, the characteristics of students who participated in 2001-02, and presents findings regarding the effects of the Excel experience on student performance. The final section summarizes what has been learned based on one year of Excel program implementation.


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.


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.


Professional Development for Authentic Pedagogy in the Social Studies: An Evaluation

Throughout the state of Minnesota, teachers have been attending brief staff development workshops to familiarize themselves with the Minnesota Profile of Learning and to help them use model performance packages in their classrooms. The movement toward more authentic standards-based performance assessment, however, requires a significant shift in thinking about teaching and learning–changes in assessment require corresponding changes in instruction. With funding from the Department of Children, Families and Learning, the Authentic Pedagogy in the Social Studies (APSS) project provided secondary social studies teachers with sustained professional development to assist them in their implementation of the graduation standards throughout the 1998-99 academic year. This evaluation looks at the program’s impact on instruction, assessment, and student learning.


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.


Toward Authentic Assessment AND Instruction: A Framework for Educators

Toward Authentic Assessment AND Instruction: A Framework for Educators is a handbook for teachers interested in developing more meaningful teaching and learning experiences in their classrooms. It was developed as part of a project entitled Authentic Pedagogy in the Social Studies (APSS), a collaborative effort between three Minnesota school districts (La-Crescent- Hokah, Minneapolis, and West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Public School Districts) and the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. The APSS Project, funded by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, brought middle and high school social studies teachers from each of three districts together for monthly seminars during the 1998-99 academic year. The day- long seminars focused on how the principles of authentic pedagogy could be translated into classroom practice. Specifically, the goals were that teachers be able to: 1. Translate the theoretical framework that links the Minnesota High Standards, authentic assessment tasks, and authentic instruction into practice; 2. Create meaningful assessments and corresponding rubrics that address the Minnesota High Standards; and 3. Evaluate Minnesota High Standards performance packages and teacher-designed assessment tasks, student work, and one’s own teaching in terms of authenticity. This guide describes the content and structure of the seminars, so that others may learn from our experiences.


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.

+ Career & College Readiness

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.


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.


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.


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.

+ Communities

Trends, transitions, and subgroup differences on the pathway to a family-sustaining hourly wage for Minnesota students

Earning a family-sustaining hourly wage (FSHW) serves as an important indicator of a family’s economic well-being. In this study, we describe the educational pathways individuals take and explore whether or not these pathways led individuals to earn a FSHW as an adult. Until recently, understanding the specific pathways that lead to a FSHW has proven difficult, primarily due to a lack of longitudinal data at the individual level. To address this challenge, this study utilized a unique dataset, the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS). SLEDS offers researchers access to deidentified, individual-level educational and employment data that spans from kindergarten through employment, making it possible to examine the specific pathways that lead to a FSHW.


An Evaluation of the Cultural Contextualization of the Incredible Years Parenting Program for African American and Hmong Cultural Groups

The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (Wilder) and the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood (SPPN) received funding from the Greater Twin Cities United Way, which served as a grant-making intermediary in Minneapolis and Saint Paul for the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), to deliver culturally contextualized versions of the Incredible Years program to African American and Hmong parent groups in the SPPN. The report provides background on the cultural contextualization of the Incredible Years parenting program for African American and Hmong parent groups. The program theory, logic model, and outcomes of interest are also described because they helped to shape the implementation and impact evaluation questions and study design. Results for the implementation and impact evaluation are described followed by a conclusions section that summarizes the findings and provides recommendations.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


Traditional Native Culture and Resilience

This scholarly article by Iris HeavyRunner and Joann Sebastian Morris discusses native culture and spirituality in the context of resilience. This article was originally published in CAREI’s Research|Practice newsletter titled “Resiliency: A Paradigm Shift for Schools.”

+ Curriculum and Instruction

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.


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).


Saint Paul Public Schools Chinese Articulation Project

In 2006, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) received grant funding from the Department of Education’s Foreign Language Assistance Program to support its Chinese Articulation Project (CAP). The three-year funding period started on September 15, 2006, and ended on September 14, 2009. SPPS established four main goals for the project: 1. Expand the Chinese program. 2. Articulate and align the Chinese language curriculum and instruction to provide continuity of student experience, standards-based programming, and district-wide structure. 3. Enrich the Chinese language program to provide a comprehensive rigorous academic experience. 4. Develop a national model and demonstration site of the articulated Chinese language program. CAREI was asked to evaluate the project’s impact in each of these areas.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Arts for Academic Achievement: Perspectives of Long-Term Teachers and Principals

This report summarizes perspectives of teachers and principals who have been involved in Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) for multiple years. Through teacher focus groups and telephone interviews with principals, the study participants talked about the benefits of AAA that they had observed for students and teachers, and what they had learned over the years about integrating the arts and partnering with artists.


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


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.


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.


Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (CETP) Evaluation, 2001-2002

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has played a major role in the attempts to improve science and mathematics education. According to the NSF, the Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (CETP) program was designed to significantly improve the science, mathematics, and technology preparation of future K-12 teachers and their effectiveness in these areas. The NSF funded the Core Evaluation Project to design and develop a data collection and reporting system for the CETP program. The CETP Core Evaluation developed surveys, a classroom observation protocol, and a teacher artifact scoring rubric to gather information on the impact of the CETP program. The Core Evaluation collected a variety of data in 2001-2002 derived from open ended and scaled survey items and classroom observations and artifacts. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were necessary to provide a complete picture of the CETP collaboratives.


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.


Leadership for Literacy Grant Evaluation Report

The Leadership for Literacy Grant, competitively awarded to Minnesota School District 622, has had a goal of building leadership for literacy through the design and implementation of professional learning communities. Grant resources provided for a set of activities, which were designed to foster a collaborative culture in the district among teachers and staff.
The objective of the CAREI research team was two-fold: to determine the extent to which grant activities promoted professional learning communities and, to identify strengths and weaknesses of these activities from the perspective of the participants.


Saint Paul Public Schools Excel Program

Superintendent Patricia Harvey and the Board of Education have set Saint Paul Public Schools on a course to provide a world-class education for all students. A major district policy initiative to support this goal was the bold step of ending social promotion, the practice of passing students on to the next grade regardless of whether they’ve mastered their work. In fall 2001, the Saint Paul Public Schools launched the Excel program – currently a one-of-a-kind initiative in Minnesota schools – as an alternative to merely retaining students in the same classroom and program in which they did not succeed the first time. This report summarizes the current implementation status of the Excel program, the characteristics of students who participated in 2001-02, and presents findings regarding the effects of the Excel experience on student performance. The final section summarizes what has been learned based on one year of Excel program implementation.


Seven Topics in Education: A Review of the Literature for School District 112

Changes of every sort pose significant challenges to school districts today. It seems each day we are confronted with a new set of concerns, which force us to ponder again the best approach to schooling. Schools today, for instance, are under pressure from all sides to be fiscally efficient, rigorously accountable for student outcomes, and technologically advanced; while at the same time we demand that those schools be safer, more nurturing and also beautifully designed. These elements need not be mutually exclusive – that is to say – they may co-exist. The challenge for decision makers is to strike that perfect balance of benefits, both short and long term, with costs. This document is aimed at addressing seven topic areas in education. It is hoped that the document will stimulate questions, encourage discussion, and provide some guidance for decision making.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

+ Leadership

Minnesota Principals Academy: 2-Year Follow-up Survey of 2015–17 Cohorts

The Minnesota Principals Academy (MPA) is an executive development program designed to enhance the performance of school leaders in order to improve educational outcomes for students. The program is housed in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in the College of Education and Human Development, with financial support provided by the Minnesota Legislature and participants’ school districts. In this report, we describe the results of a survey designed to better understand how participation in the MPA is impacting alumni participants’ practices in their schools and districts two years after their participation in the program. The survey was administered in Spring 2019 to participants who began the program in 2015 and completed the program in June 2017.


Minnesota Principals Academy: End-of-Program Report for the 2017–19 Cohorts

The Minnesota Principals Academy (MPA) is an executive development program designed to enhance the performance of school leaders in order to improve educational outcomes for students. The Center for Applied Research and Education Improvement (CAREI) serves as the program evaluator with the intention of providing information on the extent to which participants, upon completion of the program, changed their behaviors or gained knowledge and skills in the areas covered by the MPA. This report summarizes the results from surveys administered across three 2017–19 MPA cohorts. MPA participants from the three 2017–19 cohorts completed a retrospective pre/post-survey in spring 2019 about their leadership practices, skills, and behaviors both before and after participating in the program. Supervisors of MPA participants also completed a survey in spring 2019 to provide information on changes in participants in the areas covered by the MPA curriculum. The survey results were overwhelmingly positive and described a pattern of change for the participants in the key areas identified by the MPA curriculum.


Minnesota Principals Academy Final Report: 2015-17 Northwest and Twin Cities Cohorts

The Minnesota Principals Academy (MPA) is an 18-month executive development program designed to enhance the performance of school leaders and improve educational outcomes for students. MPA uses the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) executive development program, to provide principals with research-based information that they can use in their schools.

The purpose of this evaluation was to describe and understand the MPA as a resource and training program for school and district leaders. Our evaluation is designed to answer the following questions:

1. To what extent have participants gained knowledge in the areas covered by the Minnesota Principals Academy (NISL) curriculum?
2. To what extent do the supervisors of Minnesota Principals Academy participants see a change in participants’ knowledge in the areas covered by the Minnesota Principals Academy (NISL) curriculum?
3. To what extent have student outcomes (e.g., scores on statewide reading and math tests) in participants’ schools changed as a result of participation in the Minnesota Principals Academy?

This report provides information on the first two evaluation questions for the two cohorts who just completed the program. The third evaluation question cannot be addressed until after the participants have had time to make changes in their practice (e.g., it may be useful to analyze test scores after spring 2018 statewide testing). The Northwest (NW) Cohort began their work in July 2015; the Twin Cities (TC) Cohort began in October 2015. Both groups completed the MPA in June 2017.


Final Evaluation Report: Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model

**Updated 8/26/16 with Value-Added Addendum

Minnesota Statutes 122A.40, Subdivision 8 and 122A.41, Subdivision 5, require that all districts evaluate teachers beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statutes, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group in early winter 2011 to consult with the MDE Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013-2014 school year.

The Model consists of three components for evaluating teacher performance: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school from across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the sites implemented the full Model (all three components) and 11 implemented one or two components. Fourteen of the 17 districts are located outside of the Twin Cities metro area. Total enrollments ranged from 202 to 7,510 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) in the College of Education and Human Development to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot implementation. CAREI conducted surveys and interviews with participating teachers and summative evaluators and with MDE staff responsible for the development and implementation of the pilot. This final report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted from March to June, 2014, when the pilot year was concluding.

**Due to the data required for value-added assessment, the evaluation of the value-added subcomponent of student learning and achievement was completed after submission of the final evaluation report. The updated final evaluation report includes the value-added addendum.

Please note that the student engagement component is featured in the following publication:

Dretzke, B.J., Sheldon, T. D., & Lim, A. (2015). What do K-12 teachers think about including student surveys in their performance ratings? Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 27(3), 185-206.


Interim Evaluation Report: Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation and Peer Support Model Pilot

**Updated 3/4/14
The revised copy of this report is now available at the link above. Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

Minnesota Statute requires that districts begin evaluating teachers in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statute, during early winter 2011, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group to consult with the Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model (hereafter “Model”) and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013- 2014 school year (hereafter “Pilot”).

The Model includes three components: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the districts are implementing the full Model (all three components) and nine districts are implementing one or two components of the Model (see Appendix I). The size of participating districts varies widely, ranging from 287 students to 7,356 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot. This report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted during November and December 2013 with Pilot participants.

This interim status report  summarizes preliminary data and encompasses only the first three months of the school year; thus readers should not over-generalize the findings or conclusions presented here. The purpose of this interim report is to provide formative feedback to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The final evaluation report can be found here and above.


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.


Minnesota Principals Academy Evaluation Report

The purpose of the Minnesota Principals’ Academy (MPA) is to create a statewide network of district and charter school leaders who are motivated and have the skills to create and sustain schools in which all students are on the path to college readiness by the end of high school. Using the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) model, the MPA enables cohorts of practicing principals to implement leadership best practices from education, business, military and other fields to work on behalf of their students and schools. The MPA is designed after the NISL train-the-trainer program, and is delivered in two and three-day segments that span over the course of one year. The program’s curriculum combines face-to-face instruction in workshops, seminars, and study groups using interactive Web-based learning. The CAREI evaluation team collected several forms of data in order to assess the degree to which the Minnesota Principals Academy (MPA) met program goals. Data included: (1) observations of MPA units, (2) an online survey of principals; (3) an online survey of teachers; (4) phone interviews with principals; and (5) phone interviews with training facilitators. In addition, the CAREI team analyzed participant evaluations of MPA units that were administered by program coordinators.


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


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: 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.


Review of Research: How Leadership Influences Student Learning

This report examines the available evidence and offers educators, policymakers and all citizens interested in promoting successful schools, some answers to the questions: How leadership matters, how important those effects are in promoting the learning of all children, and what the essential ingredients of successful leadership are. 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. 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.


Education Minnesota’s TALL Project: Teachers as Learners and Leaders (Second Annual Evaluation Report)

Using money appropriated by the Minnesota Legislature through the Department of Children, Families, and Learning, Education Minnesota created TALL as a way to help teachers strengthen the quality of professional development in schools.
During the first year of TALL (2000-01), approximately 600 Professional Development Activists (PDAs) representing 250 school districts systematically analyzed the condition of professional development in their school districts (Phase I) and wrote action plans to address weak areas (Phase II). Most action plans focused on the compliance with professional development statutes and state requirements. Many districts needed to work on issues such as the structure of their Staff Development Committees and the use of money that was to be set aside for professional development.
In the second year (2001-02), with the support of Education Minnesota, the PDAs began the work of improving the quality of their professional development programs. During Phases III, IV, and V, TALL trainers offered sessions that focused on the themes of leadership, change, and the use of data. TALL trainers introduced the PDAs to the Action Research Project, a tool designed to get their district colleagues more actively involved in the improvement of professional development. After each TALL session the PDAs reflected on their training experience.
The evaluation in year two focused on the progress of TALL participants in Phases III-V, the content and congruence of the TALL documents completed by PDAs, and changes in TALL participation.


Leadership for Literacy Grant Evaluation Report

The Leadership for Literacy Grant, competitively awarded to Minnesota School District 622, has had a goal of building leadership for literacy through the design and implementation of professional learning communities. Grant resources provided for a set of activities, which were designed to foster a collaborative culture in the district among teachers and staff.
The objective of the CAREI research team was two-fold: to determine the extent to which grant activities promoted professional learning communities and, to identify strengths and weaknesses of these activities from the perspective of the participants.


Education Minnesota’s TALL Project: Teachers as Learners and Leaders (1st Annual Evaluation Report)

The Minnesota Legislature provided assistance in the form of categorical aid for staff development. State law required school districts to set aside two percent of their basic revenue for staff development. During the 2000 session, the Legislature allocated money to the Department of Children, Families, and Learning (CFL) for a number of Best Practice grants. One of these Best Practice grants was earmarked for Education Minnesota. This grant became the Teachers as Learners and Leaders (TALL) project.
During the first year of TALL (2000-01), approximately 600 Professional Development Activists (PDAs) representing 250 school districts systematically analyzed the condition of professional development in their school districts (Phase I) and wrote action plans to address weak areas (Phase II). Most action plans focused on the compliance with professional development statutes and state requirements. Many districts needed to work on issues such as the structure of their Staff Development Committees and the use of money that was to be set aside for professional development.


Toward Authentic Assessment AND Instruction: A Framework for Educators

Toward Authentic Assessment AND Instruction: A Framework for Educators is a handbook for teachers interested in developing more meaningful teaching and learning experiences in their classrooms. It was developed as part of a project entitled Authentic Pedagogy in the Social Studies (APSS), a collaborative effort between three Minnesota school districts (La-Crescent- Hokah, Minneapolis, and West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Public School Districts) and the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. The APSS Project, funded by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, brought middle and high school social studies teachers from each of three districts together for monthly seminars during the 1998-99 academic year. The day- long seminars focused on how the principles of authentic pedagogy could be translated into classroom practice. Specifically, the goals were that teachers be able to: 1. Translate the theoretical framework that links the Minnesota High Standards, authentic assessment tasks, and authentic instruction into practice; 2. Create meaningful assessments and corresponding rubrics that address the Minnesota High Standards; and 3. Evaluate Minnesota High Standards performance packages and teacher-designed assessment tasks, student work, and one’s own teaching in terms of authenticity. This guide describes the content and structure of the seminars, so that others may learn from our experiences.

+ Professional Development

Final Evaluation Report: Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model

**Updated 8/26/16 with Value-Added Addendum

Minnesota Statutes 122A.40, Subdivision 8 and 122A.41, Subdivision 5, require that all districts evaluate teachers beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statutes, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group in early winter 2011 to consult with the MDE Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013-2014 school year.

The Model consists of three components for evaluating teacher performance: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school from across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the sites implemented the full Model (all three components) and 11 implemented one or two components. Fourteen of the 17 districts are located outside of the Twin Cities metro area. Total enrollments ranged from 202 to 7,510 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) in the College of Education and Human Development to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot implementation. CAREI conducted surveys and interviews with participating teachers and summative evaluators and with MDE staff responsible for the development and implementation of the pilot. This final report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted from March to June, 2014, when the pilot year was concluding.

**Due to the data required for value-added assessment, the evaluation of the value-added subcomponent of student learning and achievement was completed after submission of the final evaluation report. The updated final evaluation report includes the value-added addendum.

Please note that the student engagement component is featured in the following publication:

Dretzke, B.J., Sheldon, T. D., & Lim, A. (2015). What do K-12 teachers think about including student surveys in their performance ratings? Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 27(3), 185-206.


Interim Evaluation Report: Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation and Peer Support Model Pilot

**Updated 3/4/14
The revised copy of this report is now available at the link above. Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

Minnesota Statute requires that districts begin evaluating teachers in the 2014-2015 school year. In response to the statute, during early winter 2011, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) convened a work group to consult with the Commissioner to develop a state model for teacher growth and development. In winter 2013, MDE released the Minnesota State Teacher Development, Evaluation, and Peer Support Model (hereafter “Model”) and began planning for a pilot of the Model during the 2013- 2014 school year (hereafter “Pilot”).

The Model includes three components: 1) teacher practice, 2) student engagement, and 3) student learning and achievement. Sixteen school districts and one charter school across Minnesota agreed to participate in the Pilot. Six of the districts are implementing the full Model (all three components) and nine districts are implementing one or two components of the Model (see Appendix I). The size of participating districts varies widely, ranging from 287 students to 7,356 students.

In August 2013, the Joyce Foundation funded the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of the Pilot. This report summarizes results of surveys and interviews conducted during November and December 2013 with Pilot participants.

This interim status report  summarizes preliminary data and encompasses only the first three months of the school year; thus readers should not over-generalize the findings or conclusions presented here. The purpose of this interim report is to provide formative feedback to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The final evaluation report can be found here and above.


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.


Sustainability and Transferability of Instructional Reforms

The schools in this group of case studies each made the commitment to improve student learning by implementing innovative pedagogical practices using technology. These innovations involved great investments in time and financial resources. Therefore, it is encouraging that the teachers say they will continue the innovations, and that teachers from all of the schools studied held this view. It appears that a change has occurred in teaching practices, not only at the school (meso) level, but also at the level of the individual teacher (micro). This level of change is important for sustainability because school- level changes may over time threaten the implementation of the innovations school-wide. Individual teachers, on the other hand, can continue the innovations to some extent within their own classrooms.
At the same time, there is reason for concern about the transferability of these reforms to other schools. The issues of funding, changes in local and state policies, changes in school leadership,teacher turnover, and teacher burnout all limit the transferability of these innovations to other schools.


FACETS: Focus on Arts, Culture and Excellence for Teachers and Students

In 2008, a 3-year Professional Development for Arts Educators (PDAE) grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) to support professional development for arts educators. The funded project was titled Focus on Arts, Culture and Excellence for Teachers and Students (FACETS). Project funding provided professional development opportunities for music and visual arts teachers in elementary and middle schools characterized by high poverty, where 50% or more of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. FACETS had two primary purposes. One was to enhance music and visual arts teachers’ knowledge and skills related to providing effective instruction for students of the ethnic/cultural backgrounds present in their classrooms, especially African American, Somali, Hmong, Latino/Hispanic, and American Indian students. The second was to support the creation of on-going professional learning communities (PLC’s). MPS 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 an evaluation of the 3 years of the FACETS project, 2008-2011, including a description of the components, the modifications that were made from year to year, and the results of teacher surveys and teacher interviews.


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.


Minnesota Principals Academy Evaluation Report

The purpose of the Minnesota Principals’ Academy (MPA) is to create a statewide network of district and charter school leaders who are motivated and have the skills to create and sustain schools in which all students are on the path to college readiness by the end of high school. Using the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) model, the MPA enables cohorts of practicing principals to implement leadership best practices from education, business, military and other fields to work on behalf of their students and schools. The MPA is designed after the NISL train-the-trainer program, and is delivered in two and three-day segments that span over the course of one year. The program’s curriculum combines face-to-face instruction in workshops, seminars, and study groups using interactive Web-based learning. The CAREI evaluation team collected several forms of data in order to assess the degree to which the Minnesota Principals Academy (MPA) met program goals. Data included: (1) observations of MPA units, (2) an online survey of principals; (3) an online survey of teachers; (4) phone interviews with principals; and (5) phone interviews with training facilitators. In addition, the CAREI team analyzed participant evaluations of MPA units that were administered by program coordinators.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Implementing Arts for Academic Achievement: The Impact of Mental Models, Professional Community and Interdisciplinary Teaming

The following paper explores the impact of several factors on the implementation of the Annenberg-funded Arts for Academic Achievement program in the Minneapolis Public Schools. using survey data collected from elementary teachers in spring 2001. This program sought to increase the integration of theatre, music, visual arts, and other art forms into core curriculum as a means of increasing overall academic achievement. Specifically, we examine the contributions of two important sociological concepts related to teaching practice: mental models and professional community, along with the specific teaching strategy of interdisciplinary teaming as employed in the program.


Education Minnesota’s TALL Project: Teachers as Learners and Leaders (Second Annual Evaluation Report)

Using money appropriated by the Minnesota Legislature through the Department of Children, Families, and Learning, Education Minnesota created TALL as a way to help teachers strengthen the quality of professional development in schools.
During the first year of TALL (2000-01), approximately 600 Professional Development Activists (PDAs) representing 250 school districts systematically analyzed the condition of professional development in their school districts (Phase I) and wrote action plans to address weak areas (Phase II). Most action plans focused on the compliance with professional development statutes and state requirements. Many districts needed to work on issues such as the structure of their Staff Development Committees and the use of money that was to be set aside for professional development.
In the second year (2001-02), with the support of Education Minnesota, the PDAs began the work of improving the quality of their professional development programs. During Phases III, IV, and V, TALL trainers offered sessions that focused on the themes of leadership, change, and the use of data. TALL trainers introduced the PDAs to the Action Research Project, a tool designed to get their district colleagues more actively involved in the improvement of professional development. After each TALL session the PDAs reflected on their training experience.
The evaluation in year two focused on the progress of TALL participants in Phases III-V, the content and congruence of the TALL documents completed by PDAs, and changes in TALL participation.


Leadership for Literacy Grant Evaluation Report

The Leadership for Literacy Grant, competitively awarded to Minnesota School District 622, has had a goal of building leadership for literacy through the design and implementation of professional learning communities. Grant resources provided for a set of activities, which were designed to foster a collaborative culture in the district among teachers and staff.
The objective of the CAREI research team was two-fold: to determine the extent to which grant activities promoted professional learning communities and, to identify strengths and weaknesses of these activities from the perspective of the participants.


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.


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.


Education Minnesota’s TALL Project: Teachers as Learners and Leaders (1st Annual Evaluation Report)

The Minnesota Legislature provided assistance in the form of categorical aid for staff development. State law required school districts to set aside two percent of their basic revenue for staff development. During the 2000 session, the Legislature allocated money to the Department of Children, Families, and Learning (CFL) for a number of Best Practice grants. One of these Best Practice grants was earmarked for Education Minnesota. This grant became the Teachers as Learners and Leaders (TALL) project.
During the first year of TALL (2000-01), approximately 600 Professional Development Activists (PDAs) representing 250 school districts systematically analyzed the condition of professional development in their school districts (Phase I) and wrote action plans to address weak areas (Phase II). Most action plans focused on the compliance with professional development statutes and state requirements. Many districts needed to work on issues such as the structure of their Staff Development Committees and the use of money that was to be set aside for professional development.


Arts for Academic Achievement: Arts Integration – A Vehicle for Changing Teacher Practice

Arts integration, a teaching approach that uses concepts integral to both arts and non-arts areas, is increasingly being used to reach disenfranchised learners while at the same time replenishing teachers and changing teacher practice. The purpose of this paper is to present evidence of teacher practice change from research on a large urban school district’s arts integration initiative by addressing the question, “What effect has arts integration had on teacher practice?”


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.


It’s OK to be Stupid: Contributions Professional Community Makes to Exemplary Technology Use

Many American schools have invested in computer access and technology support (Anderson, 2000) and have written technology plans that state their vision for the use of technology. At many schools there are individual teachers who make creative use of technology in their instruction. Through the site selection process for this study we encountered numerous instances of such schools and teachers; what was much harder to find were the sites where all or most teachers were incorporating creative approaches to technology and where the school’s staff shared the vision for technology as a support to teaching, learning, and school improvement. The schools in the Exemplary Technology Supported Schooling Case Studies Project were selected, in part, because together their staffs were thoughtfully integrating technology into classroom pedagogy and had identified how it could support student achievement. A quality technology support program is key for teachers’ uses of technology (Ronnkvist, Dexter & Anderson, 2000). So, it was not a surprise to us to learn that there were also considerable levels of technology access and strong technology support programs at these successful sites. The school’s technology leaders had obviously taken efforts to make it easier for teachers to learn to use technology to enhance teaching and learning, and to make it a priority to do so. What emerged in the data was the contribution to the use of technology made through the professional community in the school.


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.


Professional Development for Authentic Pedagogy in the Social Studies: An Evaluation

Throughout the state of Minnesota, teachers have been attending brief staff development workshops to familiarize themselves with the Minnesota Profile of Learning and to help them use model performance packages in their classrooms. The movement toward more authentic standards-based performance assessment, however, requires a significant shift in thinking about teaching and learning–changes in assessment require corresponding changes in instruction. With funding from the Department of Children, Families and Learning, the Authentic Pedagogy in the Social Studies (APSS) project provided secondary social studies teachers with sustained professional development to assist them in their implementation of the graduation standards throughout the 1998-99 academic year. This evaluation looks at the program’s impact on instruction, assessment, and student learning.


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.


Toward Authentic Assessment AND Instruction: A Framework for Educators

Toward Authentic Assessment AND Instruction: A Framework for Educators is a handbook for teachers interested in developing more meaningful teaching and learning experiences in their classrooms. It was developed as part of a project entitled Authentic Pedagogy in the Social Studies (APSS), a collaborative effort between three Minnesota school districts (La-Crescent- Hokah, Minneapolis, and West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Public School Districts) and the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. The APSS Project, funded by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, brought middle and high school social studies teachers from each of three districts together for monthly seminars during the 1998-99 academic year. The day- long seminars focused on how the principles of authentic pedagogy could be translated into classroom practice. Specifically, the goals were that teachers be able to: 1. Translate the theoretical framework that links the Minnesota High Standards, authentic assessment tasks, and authentic instruction into practice; 2. Create meaningful assessments and corresponding rubrics that address the Minnesota High Standards; and 3. Evaluate Minnesota High Standards performance packages and teacher-designed assessment tasks, student work, and one’s own teaching in terms of authenticity. This guide describes the content and structure of the seminars, so that others may learn from our experiences.


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.

+ School Day Structure

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


Seven Topics in Education: A Review of the Literature for School District 112

Changes of every sort pose significant challenges to school districts today. It seems each day we are confronted with a new set of concerns, which force us to ponder again the best approach to schooling. Schools today, for instance, are under pressure from all sides to be fiscally efficient, rigorously accountable for student outcomes, and technologically advanced; while at the same time we demand that those schools be safer, more nurturing and also beautifully designed. These elements need not be mutually exclusive – that is to say – they may co-exist. The challenge for decision makers is to strike that perfect balance of benefits, both short and long term, with costs. This document is aimed at addressing seven topic areas in education. It is hoped that the document will stimulate questions, encourage discussion, and provide some guidance for decision making.


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.


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.


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.


Working Group On Alternative Calendars

In the last decade, the number of schools with year-round calendars has increased five-fold. Currently, over 2 million students are enrolled in the more than 2,900 year-round programs in the United States. Interest in alternative school calendars continues to grow as more and more school districts explore ways to manage rapidly increasing enrollments and improve student achievement. 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. The Department of Children, Families and Learning secured the services of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota to provide facilitation for the sessions, conduct relevant research, and prepare the final report. Although the charge of the Working Group was to examine issues regarding the reallocation of the existing instructional time through changes in the school calendar, the related issue of extending or adding time continued to surface in the broader context of how schools can best utilize instructional time to ensure that all students are well served. While recognizing that the issues of reorganizing and increasing instructional time are closely related and often occur simultaneously, the group agreed to remain focused on programs that restructure existing time by altering the school calendar and, of those, the one most commonly implemented: the year-round school calendar.


Alternative Calendars: Final Report by the Working Group: Table 4. Minnesota schools with year-round calendars interviewed January 1999

Table 4 was extracted from: Alternative Calendars: Final Report by the Working Group. 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.


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.


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.


Block Scheduling: Structure and Professional Community Matter

The question examined here is whether differences in the characteristics of professional community found in the schools related to their success in implementing block scheduling. The name block scheduling is given to a schedule that has fewer, usually four, class periods per day for approximately twice the usual number of minutes. This paper draws from data collected in a broader study conducted by the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), University of Minnesota, on effects of block scheduling on high school teaching and learning.


1995-97 Extended Learning and Year-Round Programs: An Overview

Beginning in 1995 the Minnesota Legislature allocated funding to promote year-round and extended day, week, and year programs. This report describes the nature of these programs and related outcomes. Profiles for each program are in the appendices.


Extended Learning and Year-Round Programs in Six Districts: An Overview

Beginning in 1995 the Minnesota Legislature allocated funding to promote year-round and extended day, week, and year programs. This report describes the nature of these programs and related outcomes. Profiles for each program are in the appendices.


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.


1997-98 Extended Learning and Year-Round Programs in Six Districts: An Overview

In 1995, the Minnesota Legislature began allocating funding to promote year round and extended day, week, and year programs. This report describes the nature of the programs offered during 1997-98 school year and their related outcomes. Profiles for each program are located in the appendices.


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.


Report Study of the Four-Period Schedule for Anoka-Hennepin District No.11

During the school year 1994-95, the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) conducted a study of block scheduling for the Anoka-Hennepin school district. Two high schools, Champlin Park and Blaine had a 4 period schedule and two, Coon Rapids and Anoka, had a 7 period schedule.


Primer Extended-Period (Block) Schedules

This primer offers an overview of scheduling options for block or extended-period schedules.

+ Social & Emotional Development

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.


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.

+ Student Health

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Collaborative Initiatives to Develop Integrated Services for Children and Families: A Review of the Literature

This review of the literature is intended for use by organizations and agencies who are working collaboratively to improve outcomes for children and families by developing integrated services in their communities. The factors outlined in this review have been identified by researchers, experienced service practitioners and organizational theorists as key components in designing, implementing and evaluating the impact of collaborative initiatives to develop integrated services. The information is organized in a framework that reflects primary areas of importance in evaluating the implementation (or processes) and impact (or outcomes) of collaborative initiatives focused on service integration.