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Introduce myself and ASEI. Where it came from? What it says? What some of the implications are for school and district leaders? test. SK:. Abbott Secondary Education Initiative. Education Law Center Information/Discussion Session December 13, 2005. Abbott Secondary Initiative.

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abbott secondary education initiative

Introduce myself and ASEI. Where it came from?

What it says?

What some of the implications are for school and district leaders? test


Abbott Secondary Education Initiative

Education Law Center

Information/Discussion Session

December 13, 2005

abbott secondary initiative
Abbott Secondary Initiative
  • Grew out of Abbott X decision, June 03
  • Court-ordered review of reform plans for Middle/High Schools
  • ELC/NJ DOE formed workgroup to develop recommendations
  • Abbott Secondary Education Initiative is result
secondary issues
Secondary issues
  • Graduation rates
  • Achievement gaps
  • College preparation & readiness
  • Previous implementation efforts
graduation rates
Graduation rates
  • NJ has the highest HS graduation rate in the nation
  • NJ has one of the highest graduation rates for students of color
  • But this success is not evenly distributed across NJ communities

Source: Center for Education Policy, Harvard Civil Rights Project

abbott graduation rates
Abbott Graduation rates
  • Abbott graduation rates are about 50%. Over 90% elsewhere in NJ.
  • 40-50% of Abbott grads now use SRA.
  • In 2002, 9500 students graduated by SRA.
  • NJ to phase out SRA over 4-6 yrs.
graduation rates6
Graduation rates
  • Urgency of issue for districts, state, communities, economy, NCLB, etc.
  • Graduation rates vs. test scores as focus of school improvement
    • Raises broader issues
    • Requires more fundamental changes
achievement gaps
Achievement gaps
  • About 70% of Abbott students pass HSPA in LA, 45% in Math
  • NJ averages are about 90% LA, 80% Math
  • 38% of whites over 25 have college degree. 21% Blacks, 16% Hispanics.
  • 20% gap between college graduation rates of Black/Hispanic students and whites/Asians.

Source: ELC Indicators Reports, NJ Commission on Higher Education

recent secondary reform efforts in nj
Recent secondary reform efforts in NJ
  • Standards and tests
  • WSR developers
  • Increased “rigor” (eg. American diploma project)
  • Abbott Secondary Education Initiative
national context

Before getting into specifics of ASEI, wanted to mentioned the national context which also played a significant role in shaping workgroup’s discussions and continues to do so as implementation phase begins.

National Context
  • Increasing national focus on HS reform
  • Professional and Policy reports (“Breaking Ranks II,” Gov. HS Summit, Gates Foundation & others)
  • NCLB mandates and sanctions
  • Opportunity and challenge for NJ
national consensus on hs reform

The growing consensus on “best practices” in secondary reform really has two basic sides. Higher academic expectations and demands and a set of reforms to bridge the gap between these expectations and the level of preparation of students entering high school. Lots of complicated issues, but acknowledgement of these two related areas is the basis some common ground between those promoting higher standards and more rigorous tests, and those who see personalization and small as shorthands for the supports needed to bridge gap between where students were and where they were expected to go.

National Consensus on HS reform
  • Increased academic “rigor”
  • Higher standards, harder, high-stakes tests
  • College level work for all students
  • Smaller, personalized school environments
  • More professional collaboration (eg. teams, planning time, prof. dev.)
  • Choice, curriculum themes, and inclusion
national overview
National Overview
  • Approx. 17,300 high schools in the US.
  • 70% of HS students attend schools with over 1,000 students. Nearly 50 percent attend schools with over 1,500 students.
  • In a typical high-poverty, urban US school, about half of incoming ninth-graders read at a sixth- or seventh-grade level.

Source: Alliance for Excellent Education

national context12
National context
  • Hispanic and Black students are more likely than white students to attend
    • large schools
    • schools with higher student-teacher ratios
    • Schools w/high concentrations of poverty

Source: Pew Hispanic Center Report

claims for small schools

Growing research base of support for small school success. Like money, small size is being established as a necessary, if insufficient, element of secondary reform.

Claims for Small Schools
  • Students in smaller schools:
    • post higher test scores
    • pass more courses and accumulate credits
    • graduate and go on to higher levels of education
  • Small schools help close achievement gaps between students in different socioeconomic and ethnic groups.

Source: Alliance for Excellent Education

claims for small schools14
Claims for Small Schools
  • Students in smaller schools have better attendance and lower dropout rates
  • In NYC, dropout rates for schools under 600 students are half those for schools over 2,000
  • In Chicago, small schools have dropout rates one-third lower than big schools.
  • Smaller schools have lower rates of violence and vandalism & more positive school climate.

Source: Alliance for Excellent Education

reasons for small school success
Reasons for small school success
  • More personalized, supportive environment for students
  • More collaborative, team-based environment for staff
  • More school-based control over major decisions about resources, staffing, and use of time
concerns about small schools
Concerns about small schools
  • Selectivity of student population
  • Need to include more students & staff
  • Facilities and resource issues
  • Ability to sustain sports programs, extra-curricular activities, diversity of course choices, etc.
abbott secondary education initiative17

District review of all courses with teacher participation by 2008 to define content and level of courses that carry graduation credit.

Abbott Secondary Education Initiative

Major elements….

  • Small, personalized learning environments for all students, 6-12
  • Improved instruction for college/careers
  • Family advocacy system
asei requires slcs
ASEI requires SLCs
  • SLCs for all Abbott HS/MS students by fall 2008 (HS/300, MS/250)
  • Teacher teams with 2-3 hours of common planning time per week. Stay with students over multiple years.
  • Curriculum themes. Choice for staff/students.
asei supports improved instruction
ASEI supports improved instruction
  • Access to college prep for all
  • Curriculum aligned with NJ standards
  • Review of content in required courses
  • Professional development to support curriculum innovation and improved classroom practice
asei requires family advocacy

Major change in some places. In elementary schools, everyone gets a reading group. In high schools every gets an advisory group. But also supports and time must be in place. In best settings, this becomes a freshman transition elective for 9th graders, a kind of combined academic tutorial, supervised study, support group and Homeroom. Many schools have in form, without content.

ASEI requires family advocacy
  • Each student/family will be matched with a professional staff member in groups of 15-20 students/families per staff member
  • Advocates meet with assigned students weekly
  • Meet face-to-face with each family at least twice/yr.
  • Advocates receive professional support for this role, including training in multicultural perspectives.
  • Advocates assist in the preparation of an academic plan for each student
asei requires
ASEI requires
  • Equitable distribution of student academic profiles and demographic characteristics across SLCs. (no tracking)
  • Equitable distribution of staff experience and demographic characteristics across SLCs
  • Facilities planning to support SLCs
secondary regulations
Secondary Regulations
  • “Small organizational structures may include small learning communities and/or small schools in free standing facilities or within larger facilities….
  • “Placement of teachers and students shall result in an equitable distribution of student academic achievement profiles, demographic characteristics and teacher experience, qualifications and racial/ethnic diversity…”
asei challenge

Nothing about this is easy. But the reasons for attempting it are inescapable. Too many kids are not graduating. Too many others are graduating without the skills they need to succeed. We are losing too many of our kids to the streets, the unemployment lines, and the prisons. These problems won’t go away with business as usual. Abbott is the best schooling funding decision in the country for poor urban schools and if we don’t do a better job of implementing it, we will lose it. And if we lose it, it will be a disaster for our kids, our public schools, our communities and our state.

But there’s a best case too. And that’s that the failure of existing practices to deliver the goods has to some exhausted the traditional bureuacracy that runs the schools and opened up space for change. And while some want to fill that space with vouchers and privatization, we also have a chance to fill it with our own visions of excellence and equity in public education. We can use Abbott to create the kind of schools we want to work in and send our own children to. Ultimately, if the secondary initiative is going to succeed, that’s what it will need to be about.

ASEI challenge
  • Implement secondary initiative or “demonstrate that the goals are being achieved by alternative means.”
  • “I don't think there is a comprehensive city high school that works right now in New Jersey."

Gordon MacInnes, assist. com. of ed.

asei implementation timeline

ASEI team. Sept. 30 rollout

ASEI Implementation Timeline
  • Spring, 2005: ‘Phase I’ Districts selected
  • Jersey City, Orange, Elizabeth, Bridgeton
  • Fall. 2005: All districts form planning cmtes.
  • 2005-2008: NJ DOE provides professional development to all districts. National consultants/ASEI team.
  • Fall 2008, all Abbott High Schools/Middle Schools implement initiative
implementation efforts so far
Implementation efforts so far
  • Technical assistance providers
  • NJ ASEI team and training
  • Advisory Board
  • Status of phase one districts
  • Academic ‘rigor’ districts
  • Network mtgs. for all Abbotts
supplemental efforts
Supplemental efforts
  • Community Foundation of NJ support for youth research/engagement projects
  • Site visits to model schools
  • ELC efforts
  • Need for networking/ across districts and constituencies
current implementation issues
Current implementation issues
  • Status of planning committees
  • Support for budget & facilities planning
  • Need for rollout/constituency building
  • Building technical assistance capacity
  • Equity concerns
  • Need for more coherence and higher profile around secondary reform statewide.
issues for discussion
Issues for discussion
  • Questions and concerns?
  • Who has a stake in seeing the reform succeed?
  • How do we reach/mobilize those groups?
  • Connections to make? Audiences to reach?
  • How to raise the political profile?
  • Education Law
  • Abbott Secondary Education Initiative
  • Dr. Penelope Lattimore, Chief of Staff & Director of the Secondary Education Initiatives

Phone: (609) 292-7451 Fax: (609) 292-4333

  • Dr. Sandra G. Strothers

Assistant Director, Secondary Education Initiatives


Technical Assistance Providers

  • First Things First/IRRE

  • High Schools That Work