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Office of Planning and Research

ESE Research Update, December 2012

Research from ESE

  • The New Superintendents Induction Program FY2012 Evaluation Report is the annual report written by researchers from University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) about the New Superintendents Induction Program (NSIP). As NSIP completed its second year, findings suggest that the program was increasingly providing critical support to new superintendents' development and district improvement efforts. Most notably, participating superintendents continued to place considerable value on the coaching provided to them.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) contracted with the UMDI to design and conduct a program evaluation of the School Redesign Grant (SRG) program. The Report of Preliminary State Findings emphasizes that the power of the school redesign initiative lies not in the adoption of a single turnaround strategy, but rather in the synergy of a range of turnaround strategies employed within the framework of a clear vision and focused goals. It is the integration of multiple strategies that matters most.

Research on Massachusetts education policy

  • Learning from Consistently High Performing and Improving Schools for English Language Learners in Boston Public Schools, is a product of a three-way collaboration among researchers and practitioners from Boston Public Schools, the Gastón Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the Center for Collaborative Education. They found that principals and Language Acquisition Team facilitators played key roles in vision and implementation of ELL best practices, including creating professional learning communities and providing professional development; that shared cultural and linguistic experiences among staff and families were prevalent; and that staff cultural competence translated into increased family engagement, quality instructional practices, and understanding of the needs of the whole child.
  • Improving Educational Outcomes of English Language Learners in Schools and Programs in Boston Public Schools, also from the Gastón Institute, reports on the outcomes of ELLs at different levels of English proficiency. The researchers found (1) higher dropout rates and lower testing performance among low English proficiency students; (2) a minimal proportion of students reaching academic language proficiency within the period of observation; and (3) particularly deep vulnerability among ELLs of low English proficiency entering district school in middle school and high school. The study also found that English proficiency and designation as a student with disabilities are the strongest predictors of testing outcomes.
  • Enrollment trends in Massachusetts, An Update is a Pioneer Institute White Paper updating an earlier report from 2008 that documented a widespread and significant drop in school enrollment that had begun in 2004. Massachusetts is losing students for two related reasons: the population is not growing very quickly due to people moving out of the state, and the population is old and getting older with a relatively small number of children born each year. By 2020, projections show that Massachusetts could lose another 30,000 students, doubling the loss to date.
  • Forgotten Youth: Re-Engaging StudentsThrough Dropout Recovery. Boston Public Schools has established the Re-Engagement Center, a dropout recovery program that strives to re-enroll out-of-school youth through outreach, personal connections, and a variety of educational options that support students to graduation. This case study, done by the Rennie Center, offers the following considerations for school and district leaders looking to reduce dropout rates: plan for the re-enrollment of out-of-school youth, and shape re-engagement around their needs by including multiple, flexible re-enrollment options; develop partnerships with experienced organizations working to support at-risk youth; create a supportive and welcoming environment for returning youth by finding the right staff and location; and nurture open communication between re-engagement staff and district leadership to shape systematic change.

Last Updated: December 18, 2012
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