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Race to the Top Wraparound Zone Project

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
June 17, 2011



This memo provides an update on the work of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to implement the Wraparound Zone initiative. It is one of the 34 Massachusetts Race to the Top (RTTT) projects for years 2-4, and one of the five projects that Level 3 and 4 schools must select under RTTT Project Area 6 relative to turning around the lowest achieving schools.

The Wraparound Zone Initiative

The Wraparound Zone Initiative seeks to develop district and school systems to strategically address students' physical, social, and emotional health needs to promote academic success. Many students face barriers to academic learning, particularly in underperforming schools. Often these students come to school challenged by economic, social and emotional issues and have difficulty focusing on learning.

The purpose of the Wraparound Zone Initiative is to build district capacity to support their schools' efforts to meet the non-academic needs of students. Simultaneously, the project aims to improve collaboration between district and school administrators and teachers and community-based partners in order to foster positive school climates and effective academic instruction. In theory, such efforts will spur overall school improvement, thereby raising academic outcomes for students in the Commonwealth's lowest performing schools.

While each participating district will implement the Initiative differently based on the range of community partnerships and student needs, the district must ensure that the following Wraparound Zone Functions will be performed:

  • Each participating school creates a climate and culture that promotes mental health and positive social, emotional, and intellectual growth for students resulting in a new standard of practice understood and practiced by every member of each school community;
  • "participating school implements a proactive system of identifying student needs in key academic and non-academic areas leading to both universal supports and targeted interventions;
  • Each participating school integrates a range of resources to tailor the student services from within the school and the larger community. The range of services includes prevention, enrichment, early intervention, and intensive/crisis response services; and
  • Each participating district monitors school program effectiveness, creates district-wide supports for in-school social workers, and connects families to services by convening relevant agencies and organizations.

Results of the 2011 Wraparound Zone State RTTT Funds Competition

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) anticipated awarding two to three districts with funds to implement a Wraparound Zone in Fiscal Year 2012 (School Year 2011-2012). In April and May 2011, five districts applied to participate in this initiative: Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Springfield and Worcester. One additional district, Lynn, applied to plan implementation of a Wraparound Zone for the following year, Fiscal Year 2013. As such, Lynn is not eligible for the state RTTT funds this fiscal year, but may allocate local RTTT funds to support their planning.

Each of the five applicant districts demonstrated significant readiness and capacity to begin implementation of a Wraparound Zone in two to six schools in the coming school year. The Department has therefore decided to award state RTTT funds in the amount of $16,000 per participating school per year to all of these districts. Among the five participating districts, eighteen schools have been approved to participate in the initiative which will total $2,070,000 in Race to the Top funding. See Appendix A for the list of participating schools.

For those districts and schools that are interested in planning to implement a Wraparound Zone in 2012-13, the Department is making planning grants available. Districts will identify these schools in their RTTT Year 2-4 RFP response due this summer.

Download Excel Document
Districts and Schools Implementing a Wraparound Zone in Fiscal Year 2012

Last Updated: June 24, 2011
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