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Abbott History

Abbott Implementation

A Study of Supplemental Programs and Recommendations for the Abbott Districts


  1. Court's Order

In its May 1997 decision in Abbott v. Burke, the Supreme Court directed the Commissioner of Education to "Conduct a comprehensive study of the special educational needs of students attending school in the twenty-eight Abbott districts, specify the programs required to address those needs ., determine the costs of those needed programs, on a per-program and per pupil basis, and devise a plan for State or State-assisted implementation of the identified programs in each of the twenty-eight Abbott districts."

This report is a response to that order. It identifies the needed supplemental programs, provides individual cost estimates, and outlines a plan for implementing them. However, the most important finding of this study is that implemented as a collection of discrete strategies, supplemental programs alone will not achieve the goal of enabling students in the Abbott districts to achieve the state's Core Curriculum Content Standards. Instead, such programs must be implemented in the context of whole-school reform through which the education of low-income students is rebuilt in its entirety, school by school. Such an approach integrates supplemental programs with each other and with research-supported approaches to regular instruction in a coherent and concerted effort to improve student achievement.

Whole-school programs for elementary schools exist and are sufficiently well documented to pursue implementation. The most promising of these is the Success for All program developed by Johns Hopkins University. As described in more detail below, this report recommends that the Success for All program, or an equivalent one, be implemented in all elementary schools of the Abbott districts. Approaches to whole-school reform exist for middle and high schools, but their research support is not sufficient to warrant their being required at this time. Therefore, this report recommends that supplemental programs be implemented as such in those schools until further research and development provides validated approaches to whole-school secondary reform.

  1. Profile of Abbott Districts

In 1996-97, there were 1,221,145 students who attended school in New Jersey. Children in Abbott districts represent 21.6 % of that total enrollment and constitute 264,070 students. The enrollment includes 119,066 African Americans (45%), 98, 098 Latinos(37%), 39,355 Whites (15%) and 7,551 Native Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders (3%).

Of the total number of students enrolled in Abbott districts, 176,362 are eligible for free lunch. A total of 68,546 students participated in Title I in 1996-97. In addition, there were 26,245 limited English proficient students participating in bilingual and/or English as Second Language Programs.

There are 420 schools in Abbott districts. Of the 420 schools, 319 are elementary, 49 are middle schools, and 52 are high schools.

Since 1996-97, schools in Abbott districts have been failing to meet state standards in reading, writing, and math, as measured by the eighth grade Early Warning Test and by the High School Proficiency Test administered in grade 11. A total of 148 schools in 20 Abbott districts have failed to meet state standards in one or more subject areas for three consecutive years. In addition, 83 schools have failed one or more subject areas for one year, and 29 have failed for two consecutive years. Currently, there are three Abbott districts under state operation and five that have to develop corrective action plans to improve student achievement or face further state intervention.

  1. Conduct of the Study

In response to the Supreme Court's order, the New Jersey Department of Education undertook a study which included the following elements:

  1. Survey
  2. The NJDOE surveyed the 28 Abbott districts to determine 1) what programs and strategies they are currently implementing to address the extra educational needs of their students; and 2) the success, both in implementation and effectiveness, of those approaches. An analysis, prepared by the Mid-Atlantic Laboratory for Student Success (LSS) at the Temple University Center for Research in Human Development and Education (CRHDE), showed that most of the districts are providing a variety of supplemental educational programs, and school-based youth and family services. Most Abbott districts have also incorporated some form of research-based instructional intervention at the elementary school; the most widely implemented being Reading Recovery, Success for All, and the Comer program. It was also found, however, that very few districts reported implementing these supplemental programs as part of a systemic reform effort; and that few had conducted a systematic, comprehensive evaluation of these programs to determine the impact on student performance or achievement.

  3. Participation of Parties and Public
  4. In addition to conducting the survey, the NJDOE held a community meeting in each of the Abbott districts to permit all stakeholders, including parents and community members, to provide input about the specific needs of the students in their communities. Meetings were conducted with the county superintendent chairing, accompanied by staff form the Office of Program Review and Improvement. Comments from stakeholders validated the need to continue to support school reform efforts in the Abbott districts. 

  5. Review of Research on Individual Programs
  6. The NJDOE conducted an extensive review of related research, summarized in Part B of this report. These reviews yielded information and enabled the department to draw conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of various supplemental programs and strategies designed to address the extra educational needs of students attending school in the Abbott districts. Department staff held discussions with two nationally known educational researchers, Dr. Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Margaret Wang, executive director of the Laboratory for Student Success at Temple University. The Commissioner and department staff also had an opportunity to engage in direct dialogue with the court-appointed expert, Dr. Allan Odden, about research-based programs currently operating in school districts across the country.

  7. Comparison with Actual Programs

    In order to confirm the tentative conclusions it reached by reviewing research, the department also examined certain programs in actual practice and consulted with urban district administrators.

  8. Development of Cost Estimates

    Costs were estimated through review of financial information provided by program designers, analyses of the actual cost of currently operating programs, and consultation with experts.

D. General Principles for Implementation

In its May 1997 decision, the Supreme Court also directed the Commissioner of Education to "devise a plan for State or State-assisted implementation of the identified [supplemental] programs in each of the twenty-eight Abbott districts." The Court also underscored the state's responsibility to exercise its authority to the extent necessary in order to assure that all educational funds are used to support children's education, particularly in the special needs districts..

The Court stated that "the Commissioner has an essential and affirmative role to assure that all educational funding is spent effectively and efficiently, especially in the special needs districts, to achieve a constitutional education." It elaborated further that, "the Commissioner may order increased expenditures, make budgetary reallocations and programmatic adjustments, and take summary actions when a district or a particular school is failing to achieve the [core curriculum] content standards."

The State of New Jersey has only rarely sought to address or avert educational failure by dictating the implementation and funding of specific programs. Rather, it has more commonly elected to solicit remedial plans from the districts, and then to review and approve those plans according to pre-established state guidelines. It is only when there is a documented unwillingness or inability of the local administration to make progress that the state has sought to "take over" and directly operate a district.

This essentially deferential approach has not been motivated either by disinterest in educational problems or unawareness of the state's responsibilities, but rather by the following considerations.

First, it is not always evident what types of programmatic and fiscal state directives will be effective. Educational research findings can sometimes be very "soft" because of the number and complexity of the variables that affect student academic performance and the inherent difficulty of isolating and controlling those variables. Of the many studies that exist, not all are of equal quality, and it is often difficult for policy makers to achieve a reasonable degree of empirical certainty that a particular program or strategy will be effective if its funding and implementation were simply ordered.

Second, the success of an educational program or strategy is often affected by variables that are peculiar to the situation in which it is implemented. Educational programs that succeed in one environment often do not achieve equal success when transplanted elsewhere. The existence of situational variation is one reason that the system of public education is structured, staffed and funded to support local decision making.

Third, among the situational variables that greatly affect the success of even the best designed program are the motivation of those who implement it and the quality of their efforts. Obviously, if the educators of a district or school implement a program only reluctantly in order to comply with a state dictum, they will not achieve the same success that they might if they had chosen the program based on their analysis of the problem, their deep belief in its worthiness as a solution, and their commitment to working enthusiastically for its success.

In fact, as described in Part I above, a "supplemental program" that research has shown can succeed -- school-based decision making -- improves education by transferring significant decision-making authority from district offices down to individual schools, not up to the state level. Such a strategy is predicated on the notion that principals, teachers and parents are in the best position to make and correlate decisions concerning curriculum, program, personnel and budget, and also on the idea that they will work together more effectively to carry out their own decisions than ones that are imposed. In effect, in its most comprehensive form, school-based decision making attempts to replicate in urban schools the cohesion of educational purpose and dedicated involvement that often exists among the educators, parents and other residents in small one-school suburban districts, traits of those districts that account in no small measure for their educational success.

Finally, the state's traditional approach has been set forth by the legislative framework in place for the past twenty years.

However, despite some important successes, the Supreme Court's observation is correct that this approach has not produced the desired educational results. Further, the task of fostering the educational success of students in the Abbott districts will grow in complexity and difficulty as academic expectations are raised through the implementation of the state's new Core Curriculum Content Standards. Therefore, the state must indeed intensify its efforts and exercise its authority more directly than it has in the past.

Yet the basic logic of the traditional approach is sound. In fact, the experts with whom the state consulted in developing this report stressed the importance of local initiative and commitment, particularly at the school level, to the success of any program. In particular, the Success for All program, which this study finds to be the most promising available, specifically requires each school to adopt the program by a vote of the faculty in order to enhance its likelihood of success.

Therefore, the plan for state-assisted implementation of supplemental programs attempts to balance increased exercise of state authority with an attempt to generate meaningful local initiative and commitment. It should be noted that the Comprehensive Educational Improvement and Financing Act of 1997 contemplates and authorizes such an approach. The act allows the department to order specific programmatic and fiscal remedies where students fail to achieve state academic standards for three consecutive years. However, wherever possible, this authority is intended for use as a tool to assist the implementation of actions planned and agreed to by the state and the affected district or school.

In the context discussed above, the plan for state-assisted implementation of supplemental programs is predicated on the following principles:

Student Achievement

The implementation strategy will not have succeeded ultimately unless each student in the Abbott school districts is able to achieve the state's new Core Curriculum Content Standards. The standards, adopted by the State Board of Education in May 1996, define what all students must know and be able to do in each major subject by the end of fourth, eighth, and eleventh grades. They establish achievement requirements in language arts/literacy mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, world languages, comprehensive health/physical education, and cross subject workplace readiness. The Department of Education and the Abbott districts have a responsibility to take any and all actions that are needed to enable all students to reach these learning goals.

Balance of State Authority and Local Initiative

To fulfill its part of that responsibility, the department must prescribe the implementation of the array of programs and strategies that research indicates is most likely to produce the desired result. However, it must allow local districts the opportunity to propose alterations, drawn from a limited number of options, by making the case that these alternatives retain all of the needed elements and are supported by a strong local commitment. The Department of Education must also aggressively exercise its authority, primarily by helping districts to clear obstacles to successful implementation of agreed-upon programs and strategies, impediments that are beyond the legal authority of the district to address. Yet, where there is any unwillingness to implement such programs and strategies, the department must exercise its authority, immediately and to the fullest possible extent, to order the needed changes.

School-Level Focus

In order to effect dramatic changes in student achievement, the state must expand its focus beyond the district level to that of the individual school. Focusing attention and authority solely on district plans and budgets is insufficient. Education occurs in schools and classrooms; that is where money must be applied if it is to have any educational effect, and that is where effective programs and strategies must be implemented if students are to achieve state standards. The Department of Education must focus more directly on assuring that funding actually reaches the individual school and that it is used there to support implementation of needed programs.

Wherever possible the department must seek to do so by collaborating with, and working through district central offices. However, in those rare instances where such collaboration may not be attainable, the department must ensure, without fail, that effective programs and strategies are implemented and funded at the level of the individual school.

School-Based Decision Making

The state must exercise its authority and responsibility in a manner that is compatible with, and supportive of the notion of school-based decision making, a research-supported supplemental program. In fact, a major purpose of state intervention in individual schools must be the empowerment and motivation of the principals, parents, teachers of the school and, ultimately, the creation of that common sense of educational purpose that enables many one-school suburban districts to achieve self-directed educational success.

Elementary Emphasis

Particularly in the early stages of implementation, the state-assisted plan must place particular, though not exclusive, emphasis on elementary schools. Early achievement is prerequisite to later academic success, and to be fully effective, school improvement must essentially be preventative, not remedial. It must begin with the creation of a sound foundation and build upward from there.

Research-Based Programs and Strategies

As discussed above, community participation in decision making is an essential aspect of effective school management, and there are many implementation decisions that require such involvement, e.g., who to employ as teachers, what are the codes of student behavior, how to organize parent volunteers. However, fundamentally, the programs and strategies implemented at the school level must be those that are documented through research to offer the best chance for success. State-assisted implementation must assure that the basic programs and strategies implemented and funded are research-based, not merely the result of local consensus and compromise.

Comprehensive Approach

The state-assisteust take a comprehensive approach, rather than a piecemeal one, to assuring effective school-level implementation. Merely appending a grocery list of supplemental programs to the status quo of each individual school would not represent the "essential and affirmative role" of the state, or its responsibility to "take summary action where a district or a particular school is not meeting the content standards," as referred to by the Supreme Court in its May 1997 decision. Nor as an educational approach would it achieve the ultimate purpose of enabling students to master the Core Curriculum Content Standards.

A comprehensive, cohesive approach to whole-school reform offers the best hope for achieving the final goal Such an approach must be designed to integrate research-based supplemental programs not only one with the other, but also with an effective and compatible program of curriculum and instruction, all supported systematically by a well planned school budget. Further, in order to succeed, such an approach must be implemented fully, with integrity, and without fail, uninhibited by the status quo.

Rewards and Sanctions

A system of rewards and sanctions must be developed for each school in the Abbott districts with input from a School Advisory Committee. This system should include recognition and reward for those individual teachers, parents, and administrators that contribute to helping students attain the Core Curriculum Content Standards. At the same time, each Abbott district should develop, with input from building principals, a system of rewards for schools that achieve outstanding success and a system of sanctions available under existing rules and regulations that will apply when an individual school fails to meet state standards for achievement in any of the core content areas.



The major finding of this study is that, in order to affect significant improvements in student academic achievement, supplemental programs must be implemented as part of whole school reform. Whole school programs, which are discussed in the next section of this report, combine supplemental programs and strategies and integrate them with the regular school program in a coherent and concerted effort to enable students to reach learning goals. Therefore, the following individual supplemental programs should be considered as elements of a more comprehensive strategy to be discussed in later sections of this report. Treated as a collection of individual solutions, they will not be fully effective.

A. Half-Day Preschool

Research indicates that children from low-income families often lack exposure to books and other enrichment activities that foster learning. In addition, low-income families are faced with many social and economic conditions which limit their access to high-quality medical, dental or nutritional services that support healthy child development. Safe and secure home and community environments are often lacking and parents lack the information and skills needed to encourage learning.

Well-planned, high quality half-day preschool programs that encompass these services (e.g., instructional, medical, dental, parent involvement and training, etc.) help close the gap between the home and school environments and the educational expectations that lead to academic success. Preschool programs for low-income four-year old children help prepare them for future academic success in the early elementary years.

A number of research studies support this position. Cryan et al. (1992) found that prior attendance in preschool is clearly linked to the successes low-income students have in school. Fromberg (1987), the Ohio Department of Education, (1992), and Sheehan, et al. (1991), found that children who attend preschool experience greater success in the early elementary grades. In addition, study of the High Scope/Perry Preschool, a half-day program, indicates that every dollar spent on the program produced $7.16 in savings in avoided costs by the time participants reached age 27 and also that the participants were more likely to own homes, a second car, report monthly earnings of $2000 or more, and were less likely to receive welfare or other social service (Schweinhart, et al., 1993). The benefits of different service intensity levels (half-day versus full-day programs) have seldom been examined in the context of a single program. Some researchers agree that there is little evidence indicating the ideal intensity level (duration) of early childhood programs (Gromby, et al., 1995). Long-term benefits for children have been generated by programs that serve children in center settings on half-day and full-day schedules (Barnett, 1995; Frede, 1995; Gromby, et al., 1995). In fact, Frede (1995) suggests that variations in duration and intensity across programs are not associated with striking differences in program effects. For several reasons, this report recommends the provision of half-day preschool at this time: the effects of half-day versus full-day preschool are unknown; schools have a constitutional limitation on required school attendance in addition to finite budgets and facilities; studies indicate that many preschool programs are half-day programs; and other daycare providers are available for additional half-days of service for parents who want full-day or extended-day care for their children.

The NJDOE finds that the half-day preschool for four-year old children is a promising approach when incorporated as part of a whole school program. Local child-care providers may be used, either to deliver the programs and services or, in coordination with the district to extend the day for these children. The estimated half-day preschool cost is $2,983 per pupil based on average I&J district classroom costs for teachers, aides, employee benefits; materials and supplies, purchased services and instructional equipment. The cost does not include administration, support or facilities. A sample review of schools conducting preschools reflected a wide range of per pupil spending for a half day of instruction from $1,008 to $5,016. However, the large majority of schools reviewed had costs under $2,983 per pupil.

B. Full-day Kindergarten

According to the literature, students from low-income families frequently lack the cognitive, social and affective skills necessary to become successful in school. Many of these students must develop a set of engagement and social behaviors that will lead to positive interactions with school staff, other students and academic success. Furthermore, medical and other health problems must also be diagnosed and addressed early to ensure students come to school prepared to learn.

Studies have shown that well-planned, developmentally appropriate full-day kindergarten programs for five-year olds clearly provide one of the most cost-effective strategies for lowering the dropout rate and helping children at-risk become more effective learners in elementary school, particularly in first grade (Fromberg, 1987).

Research indicates that full-day kindergarten programs can produce an immediate boost in intelligence quotients (Barnett, 1995), have long-term impact (Barnett, 1985; Gromby, et al 1995), improve basic skills performance when the children reach high school, decrease student failure rates and below grade-level performance, decrease discipline problems, and improve rates of graduation (Karweit, 1987). Other studies have found greater behavioral benefits in full-day programs, such as academic engagement and positive social interactions, e.g., more likely to approach the teacher, less expression of withdrawal, anger, shyness and blaming behaviors, than in half-day kindergartens. (Sheehan, et al., 1991). Sheehan also found significant differences on all academic engagement scales. Other researchers have also found a positive relationship between participation in full-day kindergarten and later school performance (Cryan, et al., 1992; Karweit, 1989; Puleo, 1988). In a comparison of similar half and full-day kindergarten programs, full-day kindergarten children exhibited more independent learning and increased classroom involvement, particularly in working with peers, than did five-year olds in half-day programs. (Cryan, et al., 1992; Finn, 1997; Holmes & McConnell, 1990; Puleo, 1988). Increased academic engagement is particularly important for learning, because it sets the stage for successful behavior patterns and academic achievement over the years to follow (Finn, 1989; 1993).

The NJDOE finds that since full-day kindergarten is a promising approach when incorporated as part of a whole school program, Abbott districts should provide full-day kindergarten programs for all five-year old children. The proposed full-day kindergarten cost is $4,108 per pupil based on a full day of instruction and average I&J district classroom costs for teachers, aides, employee benefits, materials and supplies, purchased services and instructional equipment. The cost does not include administration, support or facilities. A sample review of schools conducting full-day kindergartens reflected a wide range of per pupil spending from $1,747 to $5,264. However, a majority of schools reviewed had costs under $4,108.

C. Reduced Class Size in 1-3 Reading

Research shows that low-income students who experience school failure are frequently in classrooms characterized by low-student motivation, fewer protracted student/teacher interactions around instruction and more class time spent on disruptive or 'off-task' student behaviors. Parents and teachers of these students are concerned that students receive adequate attention and that teachers are able to control their classes in order to improve student performance. In addition, students with learning deficits or socioeconomic disadvantages frequently find it difficult to succeed in the traditional classroom environment, where most instruction is provided in group settings. Furthermore, and most importantly, difficulty in mastering reading skills is one of the main characteristics of students who do not succeed in the primary grades. The National Commission on Time and Learning (1994) reported that, on a national average, schools spend 51 minutes of instruction on each subject area, including reading.

As studies have shown, smaller class sizes allow the teacher to be in direct contact with individual students for a larger portion of the time; allow for an increase in the frequency of interactions; reduce the distractions; increase opportunity for assessment, feedback, and reinforcement which should result in increased amounts of learning (Gullo & Burton, 1993; Mosteller, 1995; Swanson, 1991).

Research supports large reductions of class size in the early grades, particularly for children from low-income backgrounds (Cacha, 1984; Cooper, 1989; Finn & Achilles, 1990; Gullo & Burton, 1993; Mostseller, 1995; Odden, 1990). The largest and best controlled study measuring large reductions in class size is the "Tennessee Class Size Study," which involved 7,000 pupils and demonstrated the effects of smaller class size in all subjects on primary school pupils' learning rates (Mosteller, 1995). Cacha (1984) concluded that smaller classes are more effective at the primary level for basic skills instruction, and with low-ability, low-income or minority students. Other researchers support this finding. Finn (1997) and Slavin (1987) found that small class sizes are probably most beneficial in reading so that students reach third grade reading on grade level. In addition, research has found that, given the increased costs associated with reducing class size, schools would provide the most benefit by focusing on reduced class sizes in grades 1-3 in reading, targeted to low-income students achieving below grade level combined with the use of tutors and extended instructional time (Odden, 1990). The effectiveness of this strategy is determined by the extent to which it produces improvement in the quality of instruction. The evidence is compelling that small classes, e.g., 1:15 ratio, can be effective, at least in the early grades, particularly for reading instruction, and that the benefits persist and must be used jointly with other modifications to the learning environment to achieve and maintain academic achievement.

Tutoring in reading instruction has demonstrated increased reading achievement in programs such as Reading Recovery and Success for All (SFA). This strategy provides individual attention to students who may be performing below grade level or are falling behind their peers in any academic area. One-on-one tutoring or small group instruction, e.g., 1:5 ratio, is one of the most effective forms of instruction (Slavin, Karweit, & Madden, 1989; Wasik & Slavin, 1993). The Success for All program recommends that in first grade, individual students who are not performing at grade level receive tutoring for 20 minutes, one-on-one, from a tutor who is a certified teacher. Success for All students who fall behind their peers in reading, as determined through an eight-week assessment program, are provided small-group tutoring by certified reading teachers for a 20-minute session during times other than reading or math. Low-performing first grade students, however, receive priority one-on-one tutoring to prevent reading failure (Slavin, Madden & Wasik, 1996). Critics contend that, while the use of certified tutors has contributed to significant reading achievement in SFA, it does increase the cost of the program considerably. However, research indicates that tutoring needs to be a part of an overall plan to tailor instruction to a student's special needs in order to improve reading skills (Archambault, 1989).

Extending the instructional time for reading to 90 minutes, is another approach used in the Success for All program. Students are heterogeneously grouped for most of the day in small classes. During reading, students are regrouped according to reading levels with students in the same level placed in the same class, for a period of 90 minutes in the morning or afternoon in smaller classes, e.g., 1:15 teacher to student ratio (Madden, Slavin, Karweit & Livermon, 1989). Class size is smaller since certified tutors and all other staff (such as art, music, special education, ESL, or librarians) are available to teach reading during the common reading period (Slavin, et al., 1996). Sufficient numbers of certified, trained staff are required for successful implementation of the program. According to Slavin, "To have a full 90 minutes of active, productive, instruction, having only one reading group is essential." This cross-grade grouping for reading, is a form of the Joplin Plan which has been found to increase student achievement (Slavin, 1987). Using the extended instructional time for reading, the Success for All program has been effective in increasing reading achievement for students in grades one to three and sometimes in grades four to six as well.

The NJDOE recommends that as part of a whole school approach, the Abbott districts provide: 1) smaller class sizes of one teacher for every 21 students in grades K-3 and 1:23 in grades 4-5; 2) one-to-one tutoring for low-performing first, second and third graders; and 3) extended instructional time in reading to 90 minutes per day with a 1:15 ratio for all pupils at grades 1-3. The cost of one-to-one tutoring is $4,208 per pupil based on the salary and benefits, using the I&J district average, for 3.5 certified teacher tutors for every 50 pupils in grades 1-3 reading below grade level. The cost of reducing the reading class size for pupils in grades 1-3 from 21 to 15 for 90 minutes daily is $361 per pupil based on the salary and benefits, using the I&J average, for 1.5 additional certified teacher tutors per 250 pupils.

D. Social Service Referral and Coordination

Low-income families face many problems related to poverty, e.g., substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and parenthood, inadequate housing, violence and crime. "All of these conditions, well-documented in the research literature, place children at greater risk of school failure and increase the likelihood that they will drop out of school further limiting their opportunities for future success (Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1993)." These families have limited financial resources and have friends and relatives who may not be better off (Melaville, Blank & Asayesh, 1993). These families often live in communities that have weakened infrastructures which pose a number of problems for families requiring health and social services which may not be available or, when available, are not accessible. Services are also often unacceptable to families who must use them or focus on family weaknesses and problems rather than their strengths (Melaville, Blank & Asayesh, 1993). These children and families may also have difficulty benefiting from traditional services and support programs because they have low levels of literacy, are non-native English speakers or are newcomers to the country; lack transportation and child care or have work schedules that conflict with program hours (U.S. Dept. of

Education, 1996). Community schools offer an avenue to deliver needed academic, health, and social support services for this population to increase the likelihood that they will succeed in school.

Many models of community schools exist, including family resource centers, community school programs, information and referral programs, school-based and school linked comprehensive health programs and New Jersey's School-Based Youth Services Program (Dryfoos, 1994; U.S. Dept. of Education, 1996). These models deliver health care; health education; mental health and family counseling, drug and alcohol counseling; academic tutoring; recreation; employment services; parenting education; and/or child care on site or through linkages with other community agencies. A comprehensive community school program is offered before and after school hours, extending the school day and during the summer, extending the school year. The schools provide space and coordination, and community-based organizations provide services.

Many national organizations recommend establishing community school partnerships and collaborations to provide school-based youth and family services to ensure access to these services (National Education Goals, 1993; Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989; McCart & Stief, 1996; Decker & Boo). School-based Youth Service or Family Service Centers are community school models at the secondary level that provide direct services and referral for health, mental health and family counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, recreation, employment services, parenting education, and/or child care services (Dryfoos, 1994). At the elementary level, programs need to focus on screening and assessing children's needs and not necessarily provide direct services. An identified person coordinates preventative activities during and after school, on weekends and in the summer and makes referrals to appropriate social and health services. These models which serve a broader audience have been called family resource centers, community schools, full-service schools and New Jersey's Neighborhood Community Services Center.

Although, the evidence on the effectiveness of community school programs is still inconclusive, some short term evaluations found positive effects on student performance, attendance and dropout rates (Lavely & Berger, 1996; US General Accounting Office, 1993; Haertel & Wang, 1997), increased teachers' knowledge of child development and sense of responsibility to children (Wang, Haertel &Walberg, 1993) and better work habits (Fankel, Harvell & Wauchope, 1997).

The evaluation of Connecticut's Family Resource Centers revealed that students who received case management exhibited higher academic achievement and better work habits, despite absenteeism (Frankel, Harvell & Wauchope 1997). Other studies indicate social and behavioral effects showing that incidents of retention, special education placement and remaining in school are positively influenced as in the Florida Full Service Schools (Lavely & Berger, 1996) and the New Beginnings program in California (Hickey et al., 1990). Programs targeting teen pregnancy prevention show declines in pregnancy rates, delayed first intercourse and more use of birth control clinics and contraceptives.

The NJDOE recommends that elementary, middle and high schools in the Abbott districts offer an appropriate social service delivery system which provides health and social services to students and families, within the context of a whole school program. The proposed costs for social service and referral at the elementary level is $158 per pupil based on the salary and benefits for a social worker and parent liaison for 535 pupils as recommended by the CSOS. In the middle school and high school, a community services coordinator is proposed at a cost of $64,500 and $69,400 per school respectively for salary and benefits.

E. School-based Decision-making, Including School-based Budgeting and Parental Involvement

Research indicates that low-income students, already at risk of school failure because of poverty often face many educational disadvantages related to school management and leadership, such as ineffective planning, inexperienced teachers, high teacher turnover rates, and low parental and community involvement in the school governance and planning processes.

Studies have shown that school reform efforts are more effective and long-lasting when carried out by people who have a sense of ownership and who are closely affected by management decisions. School-based decision making, with active involvement of all stakeholders, e.g., teachers, administrators, students, parents, community members, in planning, budgeting and governance, is associated with successful reform efforts, including improvements in student achievement. Such decision-making must focus on translating remote policy into direct practice, led by a school principal, who serves as an instructional leader, spearheading school reform (Wang, et. al. , 1994 ).

Many parent involvement programs have focused primarily on fund-raising efforts, open houses and scheduling social events. A major criticism of parent programs, in the past, has been their failure to link adequately to school goals (Liontos, 1997). School-based decisions must involve parents in a meaningful way and include goal-specific budgeting, focused parental education and learning, and the establishment of specific targets for improving student achievement and setting goals and strategies for reaching those targets in a systematic manner. Parent involvement and participation in school decision-making focused on genuine educational issues must be integral to school governance and planning.

The Carnegie Corporation (1994) found that well-planned parent programs have a measurable impact on student achievement if they link parents to schools, foster the adult family members' parenting skills and career development and involve parents in governance and decision making.

As part of the implementation of a whole school program, NJDOE recommends that school-based decision making should be implemented in all Abbott schools, thus empowering and motivating principals, parents, teachers and students with a common sense of educational purpose. The proposed costs for school-based decision making, budgeting and parent involvement are integrated into the Core Curriculum Content Standards, funded in the base budget.

F. Increased Security and Codes of Conduct

According to the research, deteriorating community norms regarding acceptable behavior have directly influenced the level of disruptive behavior in schools. This disruption can have a negative effect on learning for all students. To address problems of student disruption and violence, every school must clearly establish a code of conduct defining the obligations of students regarding acceptable and unacceptable behavior and communicate the consequences that will result from the student's success or failure in meeting their obligation. Schools should also employ full time security personnel to assist in enforcing the codes of conduct and ensuring school safety. Other protective devices such as metal detectors may also be necessary. At the middle and high school levels, where the severity of the disruption increases, students responsible for these negative behaviors must be removed.

The NJDOE recommends that Abbott districts employ full-time security personnel and other protective devices, as well as establish codes of conduct, to increase security and to foster an appropriate learning environment as part of a whole school program. The costs of a security guard for each school is: elementary, $61 per pupil based on one guard for a school of 535 pupils; and middle and high schools $146 per pupil based on one guard for every 225 pupils. The 1 to 225 ratio is comparable with ratios proposed in some spending plans for the Abbott Parity aid. It should also be noted that security costs are also subsumed in the average Abbott district costs for operation and maintenance which were used in the school based budget in Appendix B. These funds could be used to supplement the security guards or for additional maintenance needs.

 G. Instructional Technology

It is apparent from a review of the literature that students who reside in low-income communities have little or no access to technology, books and other educational materials that can provide them with the background knowledge and skills that are essential to later success in reading, in school in general and to function in a global economy. Students that come from low-income households tend to have lower performance in basic and advanced skills and drop out of school in greater numbers than those students that come from wealthier households. They also have little or no exposure to computers at home.

Increased use of technology in school districts has the potential for leveling the playing field. Technology breaks the barrier of time and place, enabling students in any community to have unlimited access to information, to the vast array of curriculum and instruction offered in the state, and to information and ideas needed to master the state's core curriculum content standards. All students will need to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to function in an economy that is characterized by rapidly changing technology and increasing economic competition.

Research indicates that technology in the classroom improves student motivation and attitudes about themselves, offers ways for increasing family involvement in their children's education, and helps students master basic and advanced skills (Abelman, Haslem & Pringle, 1996). The key to effective use of technology is to integrate it into the instructional program at the classroom level. Technology can have a significant impact on the education of students from low-income households whose education has focused on basic and lower-level, repetitious rote skills with little attention to comprehension, problem-solving, mathematical reasoning and composition--the skills necessary to function in the real world (US Department of Education, 1993).

The NJDOE recommends that in order to level the playing field and ensure equity and access to the information, all Abbott districts and schools must integrate technology into the instructional program as part of the implementation of a whole school program. The proposed cost per pupil is $267 based on a computer ratio of 1:5 with a five year replacement schedule, peripherals, software, wiring and a full-time technology coordinator for an elementary school of 535 pupils. Similar allocations are proposed for the middle school and high school. All Abbott districts will receive at no cost: connection to a high-speed fiber optic network; an interactive television (ITV) classroom, if not in place and reduced access fees. As part of Distance Learning Network Aid they will receive $40 per pupil for purchases of hardware and software. They will also be provided professional development opportunities through the Educational Technology Training Centers established by the Department of Education in each county of the state.

 H. Continuous Professional Development

According to the research, students who perform poorly need administrators and teachers who are experienced, well trained and utilize a variety of classroom management and instructional strategies. Furthermore, all students in the state must meet higher standards embodied in the core curriculum content standards in order to graduate from high school and succeed as a citizen and worker in our society. The content standards will require that teachers develop the knowledge and skills needed to deliver effectively the education that is defined by these standards. Currently, teachers of these students sometimes utilize more teacher-directed instructional strategies, provide insufficient corrective feedback that encourages questioning and complex cognitive and emotional responses and provide little praise (Sykes, 1988). Traditionally professional development has been a "one shot," piecemeal approach which in many instances did not focus on the needs of students nor was it based on research on how adults learn.

The intent of professional development is to continuously improve the performance of teachers, administrators and other professional staff by providing them with a variety of rich and meaningful learning experiences that are based on students needs and on how best to educate students who face many educational disadvantages. It must be an ongoing and sustained approach to professional growth of teachers and school administrators. All of the widely implemented programs reviewed in this paper include an on-going program of professional development with regular feedback and support for classroom teachers. Facilitators who are focused on instructional improvement, teacher training, mentoring and ongoing support should be part of a quality professional development program.

To be effective in educating all students, professional development must focus on the learning of both the individual school employees and improvements in the capacity of the entire staff to solve problems and renew itself. Sparks (1995) identified the following essential elements of professional development: must be driven by a strategic plan for the district, the school, and other departments; focus on the school, focus on student needs and learning; provide multiple forms of job-embedded learning; focus on the study of teaching and learning processes; address a combination of generic and content-specific skills; use trainers to provide consultation, planning, and facilitation services; provides for continuos improvement in performance for everyone; and viewed as an essential and indispensable process and responsibility performed by all administrators and teachers. The criticism of professional development programs is that they are narrow in design and purpose and disregard what practitioners consider necessary and important (Dilworth & Imig, 1995). Also, high quality staff development costs money and takes a significant amount of time (Dilworth & Imig, 1995).

The NJDOE recommends that, since the intent of professional development is to improve student performance, every Abbott district and its schools must implement a professional development program that is continuous, focuses on student achievement of the content standards, and is based on ongoing professional renewal, strengthening the knowledge base on effective practices and subject matter knowledge of teachers and administrators. Implementation of the whole school program necessitates a comprehensive professional development program. The cost is 2% of the district budget for salaries plus the substitute costs for 6 release days for teachers and aides. For the elementary school the amount is adjusted to include a full-time facilitator and training costs for Success for All and is $398 per pupil.

 I. Alternative Education Programs

Research indicates that dropout rates are high in communities with high poverty rates and contribute to individual and collective disadvantages which result in lower status occupations, less participation in social institutions, and lower personal incomes (Sternberg, Blinde, & Chan, 1984). The longer students are allowed to continue in schools without experiencing academic success, the higher the chance of eventual dropout. Each year's class of dropouts will, over their lifetime, cost the nation about $260 billion in lost earnings and foregone taxes (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989). Research estimates that each added year of secondary education reduces the probability of public welfare dependency in adulthood by 35 points (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989).

There are many different strategies and existing programs which are often used in combination with each other in the same school that address dropout prevention (Slavin & Fashola, in press, 1997). Primary prevention strategies provide students with "high quality elementary and middle school experiences that deal with key precursors to dropout including low achievement, retention in grade, dislike of school and related outcomes (Slavin & Fashola, in press, 1997, p. 79)." Intervention strategies include increasing the quantity and attractiveness of the secondary curriculum, alternative education programs, whole school reforms intended to improve the achievement and social development of children, tutoring, (Slavin & Fashola, in press, 1997), and personalizing the high school experience through mentoring strategies (Smink, 1990).

One of the best known practices in combating the dropout problem and improving achievement of disruptive, older students is to place them in an alternative school program. In general, alternative education programs provide a more personalized atmosphere through individualized program options; a balance between cognitive and affective learning; and facilitate shared decision-making among school administrators, teachers, parents and students. Due to the smallness and intensity of these programs (8 or 10 to one teacher/student ratio is recommended) students benefit from individual program plans or contracts that include academic and behavioral objectives that deal with the whole person (Dryfoos, 1990). Practices include empowering staff, often through site-based management approaches, active learner engagement through cooperative learning techniques, and authentic assessment (Gregory & Smith 1987). Programs also include services such as work study opportunities, community service involvement, life-skills training, job search training, vocational education, social services and personal growth counseling (e.g., anger management, assertiveness training and prosocial skills development).

Research indicates that placing older, disruptive, and disaffected students in alternative education programs not only reduces the disruption in the regular school, but fosters positive lifestyles and increased academic achievement (Wehlage, et al., 1989), reduces aggressive behavior and develops emotionally healthy individuals (Arnove & Strout, 1980). Moreover, the small size and individualized focus of these programs allow for the much-needed increases in the level of counseling, parental/family involvement, and instructional support (Wehlage, et al., 1989). The intensity of these programs led to success with difficult populations by increasing retention rates, school classroom attendance, basic skills, scores on scholastic aptitude tests; vocational skills and positive experience in the working world; decreasing dropout rates, incidence of discipline actions, truancy and violence; and increasing students' sense of control over their lives. Students are also less likely to disconnect from the educational environment, as a result of either personal or academic reasons (Archer, 1982; Arnove & Strout, 1980).

Specific secondary alternative education programs have shown to have a significant impact on dropouts, college attendance, school performance, or related outcomes in rigorous evaluation in comparison to controls groups. Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program (VYP), a cross-age tutoring program, has been found to be effective in reducing the drop out rate and increasing reading achievement (Slavin & Fashola, in press, 1997). Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success (ALAS), a dropout prevention program for high risk middle or junior high school Latino students which uses a collaborative approach between home, school and the community (Slavin & Fashola, in press, 1997), has been effective in lowering the dropout rate. According to Slavin & Fashola (in press, 1997) who reviewed the ALAS research, the ALAS program worked well for the students in the treatment groups and especially well for students in the second special education cohort and the high risk group.

Alternative school programs designed to increase college attendance include Upward Bound, SCORE, AVID and GRAD. These programs focus on ensuring that promising low socioeconomic status and other minority students ages 13-19 do what is necessary to attend college. Upward Bound is the oldest and largest program and it has been evaluated the most thoroughly. Slavin & Fashola (in press, 1997) report that Upward Bound students enter post secondary education at a higher rate than comparison students and that they earned more academic credits during high school. SCORE, another dropout prevention/college preparatory program for at-risk students in grade 9 - 12, equips participants with the tools that they need to stay in high school and to attend college by providing them with such services as professional counseling and study skills. Anecdotal evaluations of the SCORE program show that changes over time in dropout and college enrollment rates are large and shown in many schools. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is another high school program for low-achieving students with potential who are placed in rigorous college prep courses and are taught to excel academically. Research indicates that AVID students compared to non-AVID students had a greater rate of attending four-year institutions. GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams), a comprehensive dropout prevention/college attendance program which provides summer academies, paid internships in local businesses and interventions, to improve schoolwide discipline, parent involvement and quality of instruction has been effective in improving the graduation rates of participants as well as their college attendance (Slavin & Fashola, in press, 1997).

The NJDOE recommends that an alternative middle school and an alternative high school be established in each Abbott district at a recommended cost of $275,000 per alternative school. Also at each alternative school, a dropout prevention specialist/counselor is proposed at an estimated cost of $64,500 at the middle school level and $69,400 at the high school level based on the related salary and benefits costs.

 J. School-to-Work or College Transition Programs

Research indicates that, frequently, students who face numerous socioeconomic and educational disadvantages drop out of high school, and that many who do graduate lack marketable skills and go no further in their education. Even many who go on to education do so with little sense of career direction to guide their educational posts-secondary choices. For many of these students, what they learn in school appears to have little relevance to the 'outside world.' As well paid employment increasingly requires sophisticated skills, school-to-work or college transition programs offer a coherent system of connected programs aimed at linking school-based and work-based learning to prepare youth for careers, employment, and further education.

For these students, school-to-work/college transition programs also offer an opportunity to learn life skills that contribute to good citizenship and productivity in the workplace. These types of programs encourage local partnerships of employers, organized labor, educators and public agencies to build and implement the local partnerships. An effective, high-quality school-to-work/college transition program has the following key elements: school-based features, e.g., career majors that combine academic and vocational instruction and linking high school programs to post-secondary programs; work-based learning, e.g., providing opportunities for students to get work experience and training coordinated with their school-based studies; connecting activities, e.g., recruiting employer partners, matching students with workplace opportunities; and career development, e.g., activities in schools and workplaces to help students become aware of their interests and strengths.

Based on a review of the literature, an obstacle to program implementation is the extent to which employers are willing to participate, since some employers believe students do not contribute enough to warrant the effort (Baily, 1993; Ball & Wolhagen, 1981). Bailey (1993), however, has found that low-quality work experiences do not to contribute to school retention payoffs. Other research indicates that key influences on the quality of the learning experience are the ability of the adult mentors to instruct students and assist students in balancing the role of student as worker and learner (Bailey, 1993). Furthermore, the existing research on these programs suggests that students who participate in school-to-work transition programs tend to demonstrate improved attitudes toward school, increased school attendance, a reduction in drop-out rate, and a greater likelihood of attending a community college or university (Stern, Raby & Dayton, 1992).

School-to-work or college transition programs (STW/C) programs tend to be especially beneficial to students from low-income families who are in danger of failing, even though the STW/C programs can support all students. STW/C programs for middle and high school students differ in purpose and balance of school and work task. However, they involve three types of program integration: academic and vocational learning in school; school-based and work-based learning experiences; and secondary and college learning opportunities. Organizational structures that deliver STW/C programs include: cooperative education programs; tech prep programs; school-based enterprises; career academies; and youth apprenticeship programs.

Although evaluation results are scanty, several broad conclusions emerge from available information (Osterman & Iannozzi, 1993). Clearly students from low income families who participate in some STW/C programs (e.g., co-op education and career academies) show improved attitudes toward school, increased school attendance, a reduced drop-out rate and greater likelihood of attending a community college or university. Since programs are evaluated as a whole, it is unknown which program components actually contribute to these positive student effects. As might be expected, however, low-quality work experiences have been found not to contribute to school retention payoffs. One study shows that school-based enterprise students are highly motivated to learn and report having better overall experiences relative to students who hold jobs outside of school (Osterman & Iannozzi, 1993). Studies on career academies indicate that daily attendance tops 90 percent; career academies graduate a larger percentage of students; a larger proportion of students find jobs through the school and perceive that the jobs are related to the school program; career academy students are just as likely to continue into post-secondary school as comparison groups (O'Neil, 1990; Stern, Raby, & Dayton, 1992).

 The NJDOE recommends that each Abbott district must implement school-to-work/college programs that contain the four key elements outlined above. Funds are provided in the district budget, consistent with the Core Curriculum Content Standards.

 Appendix "A" summarizes the supplemental programs described above, indicating their cost and their application to elementary and secondary schools.



The Department of Education approached its study by first identifying those supplemental programs indicated by research to be essential to meeting the extra educational needs of low-income children at risk of school failure. However, it became evident as a result of our research that the programs identified below must be essential components of any approach to whole school reform.

The department examined several widely used programs of whole-school reform such as the Success for All (SFA), Accelerated Schools, Adaptive Learning Environments Model (ALEM), Comer School Development Program, and Modern Red Schoolhouse, that incorporate most, if not all, of the components described above. This examination also included Reading Recovery, which is not a whole school program and is limited in scope to grades kindergarten and first grade but, is a widely used instructional program. Based on the survey conducted in the Abbott districts, over 50% of the 28 districts currently implement the Reading Recovery program.

Success for All surfaced clearly as the program of whole school reform that showed the most promise of enabling students in the Abbott districts to achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards. This elementary school program is based on years of research and effective practices in beginning reading, and an appropriate use of cooperative learning (Slavin, 1995; Stevens, Madden, Slavin & Farnish, 1987). Success for All is a comprehensive approach to school improvement that involves changes in every aspect of elementary school organization, instruction and curriculum. The program focuses on preventing school failure by ensuring that all students are reading at grade level at grade three. The Success for All program has been evaluated in more than 70 elementary schools in ten states and found to be effective in increasing reading achievement (Center for Social Organization of Schools, 1997). The essential elements of the program include one-to-one tutoring by certified teachers with low achieving students, particularly first graders; innovative approaches in preschool and kindergarten, and in grades 1-5 in reading and writing; frequent assessment of student progress; a family support program; and other elements. It also includes Roots and Wings, two recently added elements, that focus on mathematics and social studies and science respectively. Math Wings, is a constructivist (focused on higher order skills and metacognition) mathematics curriculum for grades 1-5. The other is WorldLab, a social studies/science curriculum, designed for grades 1-5, which emphasizes simulations and group investigations. While a stronger focus on school based decision making would be necessary in the department's recommended approach to the whole school program, Success for All is a research-based program that supports the tenets that the NJ Department of Education supports.

The research on learning indicates that program variables such as well-designed textbooks, alignment, and instructional group and classroom activities are as important to positive outcomes as are other aspects of instruction (Wang, 1994). A review of all supplemental programs indicates that many have elements that lead to student success. These programs, however, tackle different aspects of school content and organization and they are at different stages of development that may require further evaluation in a school setting.

The Accelerated Schools Project began in 1986 as a K-6 comprehensive approach to school change, designed to improve schooling for children at-risk. Instead of taking a remedial approach for disadvantaged students with learning deficits, the project organizes the whole school community to accelerate learning by providing all students with challenging activities traditionally reserved for students identified as gifted and talented (National Center for the Accelerated Schools Project, 1997).

The implementation process takes approximately six years for a traditional school. Essential to this transformation is a five-stage "Inquiry Process" which consists of a process for problem-solving, pilot-testing an experimental program and evaluating the pilot test using an assessment tool kit provided by the National Center for the Accelerated Schools Project. The model requires the establishment of a unity of purpose for staff, parents and students and the building of a common implementation plan for the new vision. A school steering committee provides the governance system and leadership for a collaborative process which includes training and establishing targets for improvements and a system of accountability. The philosophy of the Accelerated Schools Project rests on three interrelated principles: unity of purpose; empowerment coupled with responsibility; and building on strengths. The project schools participate in a systematic process, the "Inquiry Process," to transform the entire school, rather than focusing on a particular grade, curriculum or approach to teaching (Wang, Haertal & Walberg, 1997).

School site decisions and responsibility are key to the accelerated schools' design. A school's steering committee, composed of the principal, teachers, other school staff, students and parents, provides governance and leadership. The entire school community, however, is involved in making important educational decisions. The school community takes responsibility for implementation and the outcomes for decisions related to curriculum, instructional strategies, materials, personnel, and the allocation of resources. The values of accelerated schools include: equity; participation; communication with the community; a reflective process in which students and teachers engage in problem-solving exercises, active learning and interpretive approaches to curricula; experimentation and discovery; trust; and risk-taking. The entire curriculum of the school is enriched through an emphasis on language development in all subjects.

Staffing decisions are made by the site-based management committee. No particular staffing configuration is required in the program model. The emphasis is on the participation of school staff in the entire accelerated school's process, as indicated above.

Estimates of training and staff development costs for the Accelerated Schools program range from $3,000 to join a state network to $26,000 to train a core team of school administrators and selected faculty and parents to join separate from a state network. Participant training costs for a school range from $48,000 to $116,000. Additional time demands on students and school staff are from 1 to 10 hours per week.

Adaptive Learning Environments Model (ALEM) is a K-8 whole-school reform program, currently being extended into the middle and high school. This research-based program consists of several interrelated components. ALEM has a site-specific implementation plan that takes into account the school's improvement needs, the learning characteristics of the students, staff expertise and staffing patterns, the curricula and other implementation resources. A school-wide organizational support and a teaming process includes regular and specialist teachers in the planning and delivery of instruction and related services. The instructional-learning management system focuses on the development of student self-responsibility for behavior and learning progress. An integrated assessment-instruction process provides an individualized learning plan for each student that includes whole-class and small-group instruction, as well as one-on-one tutoring, based on an ongoing analysis of the diverse needs of the students, resource availability and instructional efficiency. Staff development is focused on the implementation needs of the individual staff on an on-going basis. A family and community communication plan enhances the school's connection with them so that responsibility for school success is shared amongst all partners. Lastly, a school-linked, coordinated health and human service delivery system focuses on healthy development and wellness of each student (Wang, Haertal & Walberg, 1997). Four workshops provide participants with knowledge and skills to implement the program.

Based on 15 years of research, student achievement results across a variety of school sites compare favorably with national, district and population test norms. ALEM is aimed at improved student achievement through content mastery and the development of positive self-perceptions of cognitive and social competencies. Special Education students in ALEM classes have reported improved social competence and self-esteem, and the program has met with strong parental approval (Wang, Haertal & Walberg, 1997). 

The Comer School Development Program (SDP) is a nationally recognized program, established in 1968 in two of the lowest achieving schools in New Haven by Dr. James Comer, a psychiatrist at Yale University's Child Study Center. This program focuses on bridging the gap between the home and the school by identifying and addressing the underlying problems of students and their families and involving all school staff, community agencies and parents in designing appropriate solutions to identified problems. The SDP is not a program, but a process for involving all stakeholders in the development of school plans that focus on improving: school climate, instruction, collaboration with local social and health providers, and parental involvement in the schools.

The SDP includes a governance and management team, a mental health or support staff team and a parents' program. The School Planning and Management Team (SPMT) is composed of teachers, representative from the student and staff support team, parents, support personnel and the school principal. This team is responsible for guiding the school's improvement efforts which include the development of the school plan, periodic assessment of programs and student performance, staff development, and curriculum development and implementation. The mental health or support staff team or the Student and Staff Support Team, is composed of a guidance counselor, nurse, social worker, psychologist, speech therapist and special education staff. Their responsibilities include the development of strategies to help teachers solve students' behavioral and instructional problems, as well as establishing linkages with social and health agencies to provide students and their families with services. Finally, the parents' program or Parental Involvement Team plays an active role in schools by serving on various committees, including the SPMT, and by volunteering to work in schools.

Decisions by all team members are made by consensus, and include collaboration with all stakeholders and using a no-fault problem solving approach. The SDP requires approval and support of the superintendent and the board as well as hiring staff. The staff consists of a program facilitator, along with instructional and mental health staff.

As a result of the implementation of the SDP program in New Haven, Connecticut, students who had once ranked lowest in achievement among 33 elementary schools, by fourth grade had caught up to grade (Comer, 1988). Furthermore, the researcher states that money and efforts expended for educational reform will have limited benefits to poor minority children unless the underlying developmental and social issues are addressed Comer, 1988). Another source , Squires and Kranyik, report that the Comer program succeeds because it supports a change in the school culture and it focuses on child development (Squires & Kranyik, 1996).

The Modern Red School House (MRSH) is a K-12 program based on a blend of reform strategies and on the principle that all students can meet high standards through a system of mastery and assessment. The emphasis is on transmitting a common culture and on democratic government. The primary grade through intermediate grade curriculum is based on E.D. Hirsch's Core Curriculum. This program requires school-based management, multi-graded classes and assessments conducted by the MRSH, which may be linked to state standards. Results have shown improvement in students' ability to pass state-administered essential skills tests. Parents are especially satisfied.

The following three phases of implementation have been identified, with twelve professional development modules available to support implementation: Creating a baseline curriculum; adapting the curriculum and organization to meet the individual needs of students; and setting assessment in place. While schools are not required to complete all training modules, the assessment system must be in place along with the curriculum that supports it, within five years.

The MRSH program philosophy is articulated through six tenets of reform, which include high standards for all, transmission of a common culture and respect for diversity, school choice for students and teachers, use of advanced technology, and flexibility and accountability for teachers and principals.

There is a strong emphasis on core academic subjects (mathematics, science, English, history and geography). The primary and intermediate curriculum is based on E.D. Hirsch's Core Curriculum and the upper-level curriculum relies on the James Madison series developed by the U.S. Department of Education. The required assessment process, which is overseen by MRSH, uses the Advanced Placement exams as benchmarks, with testing at the 4th, 8th and 12th grades.

The site-based management is required of all MRSH schools. The instructional design features multi-graded classrooms where mastery of the common curriculum is the primary concern, and teachers have considerable freedom to exercise their professional judgment in deciding how to accomplish the mission.

Staffing design and specific staffing requirements are decisions that are left to the school management teams. The school leadership team serves three-year, staggered terms of office. About 20 days of professional development for each teacher at test sites for MRSH have been average. Teachers in MRSH sites design and attend a summer institute which provides foundation skills.

While there is considerable variability of cost for implementing the MRSH, depending on site parameters, the expense of technical assistance, capacity building and materials ranges from $90,000 to $150,000 over a three-to-four year period, exclusive of the cost to upgrade educational technology to MRSH specifications.

The NJDOE recommends that all elementary schools in the Abbott districts be required to implement Success for All, a model of whole school reform focused on improved student achievement. The district and school may present a convincing case as to why it should be permitted to establish an alternative research-based, whole school reform model which includes the Comer School Development Program, Accelerated Schools, the Adaptive Learning Environments Model, and the Modern Red School House. The burden of proof, must rest heavily with the district and school to show convincingly that an alternative model will be equally effective and efficient, or that it is already in place and operating effectively.



  1. Vision of Effective School

Effective state-assisted implementation of such a comprehensive approach for elementary schools must begin with a vision of the type of reformed elementary school that must be created if students in the Abbott districts are to achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards. Such an effective elementary school must provide a research-based program of curriculum and instruction supported by, and integrated with, an appropriate array of research-proven supplemental strategies. The ultimate purpose of state-assisted implementation must be to assure that any and all necessary actions are taken to make that vision, or a comparable one, a reality in each Abbott elementary school.

As noted above, this study finds that the Success for All and Roots and Wings program is the best documented and preferred approach. Therefore, the following more specific description of the type of elementary school that state-assisted implementation ought to produce draws heavily and directly from "Success for All."

Educational Mission and Philosophy

The effective elementary school for low-achieving poor students conceives of its mission as enabling each of its students to achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards. It sees that mission not only as a lofty ideal, but also as an attainable reality. To fulfill it, the school is dedicated first and foremost to enabling each elementary student not only to read on grade level and achieve basic skills, but also to begin acquiring the higher-order thinking and problem solving skills presented by the state's curriculum standards. School staff and members of the community are committed to working together in a comprehensive, concerted effort in order to ensure that each child achieves immediate success and maintains his or her self-confidence and enthusiasm for learning.

School-Based Leadership and Decision Making

To foster a common sense of purpose around achieving this mission, the school maintains its own planning and decision making structure. In order for the supplemental strategy of school-based decision making to succeed, it is essential that the school be led by a strong, effective principal. The principal is ultimately responsible for involving parents and faculty in setting annual student achievement targets; developing goals for realizing those targets through the implementation of research-based programs and strategies; leading a concerted implementation effort; planning and managing a school-based budget in direct support of that effort. The principal is also responsible for evaluating, rewarding and sanctioning staff, and is ultimately accountable in meaningful ways for the school's success in enabling students to achieve state standards.

In order for school-based decision making to succeed, it must also provide for participation of parents and teachers. In the effective elementary school, this is achieved through a School Advisory Committee comprised of parent representative, teacher representatives, and representation from other key groups and offices. The Committee meets regularly to review the progress of the school and to help the principal identify and solve problems.

School Environment

The school environment is safe and conducive to learning. Supplemental strategies, including the assignment of a full-time security officer, are employed to secure the school building. The School Advisory Committee establishes a code of conduct which clearly defines acceptable and unacceptable student behavior and the consequences of each. The Committee develops means of assuring that parents understand the code of conduct and are willing to actively support its terms.

Research-Based Curriculum and Instruction

The school curriculum and classroom instructional practices systematically apply the findings of cognitive research and principles of constructivist learning to enable all children to reach the Core Curriculum Content Standards.

A particular emphasis is placed on assuring that all students achieve fourth-grade language arts standards through a research-based reading curriculum. Such a curriculum begins with the supplemental programs of half-day preschool and full-day kindergarten, emphasizing the development and use of language. The K-1 language arts curriculum provides intensive instruction through which students learn to read meaningful and interesting stories, transitioning gradually from teacher reading to student reading and from oral language to written symbols. Instruction in grades 2-5 emphasizes cooperative learning activities aimed at enabling students to master the vocabulary and content of stories. Homework reading is an integral part of the program.

Tutoring is available in 20-minute sessions for students who are having difficulty keeping up. Consistent with the school's success-oriented philosophy, the supplemental program of tutoring is designed specifically to support students' success in the regular reading curriculum, rather than being an isolated pull-out program with its own compensatory education objectives.

Curriculum and teaching in other subjects emphasize development of the higher-order thinking and problem solving skills targeted by the state's standards. Therefore, working alone and in groups, students are routinely encouraged to use content information to solve real-world problems, including problems that have basic relevance to the world of work. Basic skills are not taught in isolation but rather are embedded in higher-order thinking and problem solving skills, which are taught from the earliest grades. Instruction is designed to connect students' learning to their past experiences. Students are given opportunities to engage in open-ended explorations using cooperative learning tasks, the scientific method, the Socratic method, and group discussion.

The effective elementary school employs a full-time facilitator to assist the principal in providing leadership in the area of research-based curriculum and instruction. The facilitator maintains contact with the research findings, helps plan the program, assists with scheduling, meets with grade-level teams, and visits classrooms and tutoring sessions to provide assistance and advice. The facilitator also serves on the School Advisory Committee.

Media and Technology

The supplemental program of education technology is employed extensively, not merely for its own sake, but rather in ways that are specifically designed to support the school's research-based approach to teaching and learning. The school is wired with fiber optics, and provides distance learning and Internet access. Computers are strategically placed in the media center and all individual classrooms at a ratio of one computer to every five students. The school employs a full-time media/technology specialist to assure that school and classroom libraries have appropriate materials to supplement the research-based curricular and instructional program. Also the school employs a full time technology coordinator who coordinates the implementation and use of educational technology throughout the school.

Student Grouping and Extended Reading Time

Students are grouped heterogeneously in self-contained classrooms for homeroom and instruction in most subjects. Sufficient numbers of certified elementary teachers are employed to allow class sizes of no more than 21 in grades one through three and 23 in grades four and five. Preschool and full-day kindergarten have reduced class sizes of 15 and 21 respectively.

The supplemental strategy of reduced reading class size (grades 1-3) is achieved by regrouping homogeneously for daily 90-minute reading periods, during which all qualified staff, including tutors, teach reading to achieve a 15:1 class-size ratio. This strategy enables all students, including special education and bilingual/ESL students to be included in the reading program without attending pullout classes.

The school employs five additional certified elementary teachers, who serve as tutors and also teach reading during the 90-minute periods. In all, a school of 493 kindergarten through grade 5 students and 84 half-day preschool students requires 35.5 certified elementary teachers, including tutors.

Professional Development

All staff of the school are engaged in an organized, continuous program of professional development, focused incisively on developing that knowledge and those skills that are directly relevant to the school's research-based curricular and instructional program. All teachers participate in three days of training prior to initial implementation of the reading program and in six staff development days during each school year. Ongoing training and assistance provided by the facilitator and other experts aids the school staff in getting goals and making decisions.

Student and Family Services

The effective elementary school maintains a Family Support Team consisting of a Title I parent liaison, the school facilitator, a school counselor, a school social worker, and a school nurse. The Family Support Team encourages parent involvement in the school and in students' learning, trains parents for volunteer roles, intervenes to solve behavioral, nutritional, attendance and other problems, receives teacher referrals of students who are not making progress, and in turn makes referrals to appropriate health and human service agencies. Ideally, the Family Support Team is connected to a community organization that uses the school's facilities, after hours and on weekends, to provide a comprehensive Community School Program.

The School-Based Budget

The effective elementary school is supported by a school-based budget which is managed by the school principal with input from the School Advisory Committee. The school-based budget is an integral part of whole-school reform in which all programs and finances are joined at the school level in a coherent effort to support student academic achievement. It is also an effective mechanism for assuring that funds actually reach the school in sufficient amounts to support its program.

Further, the school-based budget is a crucially important aspect of the research-based supplemental program of school-based decision making. Such decision-making, and the communal involvement it seeks to encourage, are rendered ineffective unless they include some degree of control over resources. School-based financial management empowers the principal, teachers and parents of the school to correlate resource management with educational goals and programs. Therefore, it provides a specific and important incentive for those who represent the school community, and who too often are on the bottom rung of the decision-making ladder, to become involved in the school program. For these reasons, school-based budgeting is the best way to combine the individual cost analyses requested by the Supreme Court with the effective implementation plan the Court required.

In order to implement school-based budgeting for the effective elementary school, it is necessary to decide the amount of funding that must be provided to the school to enable it to implement all of the needed supplemental programs in the context of whole-school reform. Appendix "B" summarizes the items included in a recommended budget of approximately $4.221 million that such an effective elementary school would need to be provided for the school year 1997-98.

The budget lines combine the items normally included in an elementary school budget with all of the program elements referred to above in the description of the effective elementary school for low-achieving poor students. Budget amounts are based on average expenditures for 1995-96 and average elementary salaries for 1996-97 of schools in New Jersey's wealthiest (I&J) school districts indexed forward by the CPI to 1997-98, and also on cost information provided by the Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS), Johns Hopkins University, for the Success for All and Roots and Wings program, upon which the description of the effective elementary school is largely based. Consistent with analyses provided by CSOS, the Appendix "B" budget is based on a K-5 elementary school with 500 students, plus 84 preschool students.  

  1. Implementation Process

The plan for state-assisted implementation of supplemental programs in the context of whole-school reform will include the following components: 

Affected Schools

The goal of state-assisted implementation must not merely be the improvement of average success at the district level as measured against current state requirements in reading, writing and computation. Instead, as stated in the Core Curriculum Content Standards, the goal must be to enable each student to achieve much higher academic expectations in a wider range of subjects, as represented by the learning requirements of the new standards, which are being phased in over the next four years. Few elementary schools in New Jersey will reach that goal simply by maintaining the status quo, and Abbott district schools that enroll low-income students are especially at risk of not doing so. Therefore, the Department of Education will require all elementary schools in the Abbott districts that receive state aid for supplemental programs to implement those programs as part of a whole-school reform.


The state, the Abbott districts, and key consulting organizations have a finite capacity to rebuild elementary schools at the needed level of quality. For example, the Center for Social Organization of Schools, which sponsors the Success for All program, projects a capacity to work with about 50 New Jersey schools in the first year of implementation. Therefore, the state-assisted implementation plan must span three-to-five years, with highest priority being placed in the initial years on those Abbott elementary schools where students are not meeting current state requirements for academic achievement.

Development and Approval of District and School Plans

The Department of Education will require each Abbott district to develop a three-to-five year schedule for phasing in whole-school reform across all of its elementary schools, identifying which elementary schools will be affected in each year. This schedule will require state approval based on a review of current student performance data and other relevant considerations.

The district will also be required to identify the whole-school program that will be implemented in each elementary school targeted for year one. Exercising its essential and affirmative responsibility for the education of students, as described in the Supreme Court's May 1997 decision, the Department of Education will prescribe the Success for All program, expanded to include all of the supplemental programs identified in this report and illustrated in its vision of the effective elementary school, as the one which must be implemented.

However, recognizing the importance of local commitment and the fact that other alternatives already exist and will likely be strengthened over time, the department will permit districts to make the case for implementing the Comer School Development Program, the Accelerated Schools Program, the Adaptive Learning Environments Model, or the Modern Red School House Program as alternatives to Success for All for a particular school. To justify one of these whole-school alternatives, the district must show that the program will be adapted to incorporate all of the supplemental programs identified by this study and that a greater commitment to the alternative exists among parents and educators of the individual school. This commitment would be considered evident if the school is already implementing one of these alternative designs.

In addition, the district may choose to justify for a particular school a whole-school alternative other than those identified in the previous paragraph. However, in that event, the district will bear a heavy burden of proving that an adequate research base exists to support a prediction of effectiveness, that school-level commitment to the alternative is sufficiently strong to enhance success, and that the program will successfully integrate all of the essential supplemental programs with a well-designed, research-supported program of curriculum and instruction.

In each instance, the district must show that the program has been chosen by the school faculty and its principal in consultation with a School Advisory Committee. The district plan must also: 1) describe the process by which each whole-school program will be implemented in each elementary school; 2) present for each school the school-based budget contained in Appendix "B," adapted to reflect the school's actual characteristics; and 3) demonstrate a commitment to assuring that the funds needed to support each school budget will be provided as the highest financial priority of the district.

State Assistance

The Department of Education will assist each district in the development and implementation of its plans for school-level implementation. In particular, the department will form teams to review the budgets and programs of each district thoroughly to identify reallocations needed to establish whole-school reform at the school level as the district's highest financial priority. The department will also provide a liaison to the district and to each of its affected schools, and it will broker the supportive involvement of other organizations and institutions. Further, the department will developed accelerated versions of its major improvement initiatives to support whole-school reform in the Abbott districts, initiatives such as the Safe Schools Initiative, the Educational Technology Program, and the Professional Development Initiative.

One of the most important ways that the state can assist is by clearing obstacles to implementation, especially where the district's legal authority to do so is limited -- for example by establishing policies requiring participation in professional development, by waiving state regulations, or authorizing budgetary reallocations.

The Department of Education must also assist the central offices of the Abbott districts in making the transition from centralized to site-based management and decision making. In this regard, the potential exists to make the Abbott districts statewide models, not only of sound educational practice, but also of consolidated management. Such a model would allow more educational decisions and actions to occur at the school level and support services to be provided a compatible manner to many schools by a centralized office.

It should be noted that the Department of Education is currently being reorganized and restaffed to perform these functions. Two new offices, the Office of Program Review/Improvement and the Office of Fiscal Review/Improvement have been established to take the lead in identifying instances where assistance is needed, in reviewing programmatic and fiscal obstacles, and in outlining the needed solutions. A Special Assistant to the Commissioner for School Improvement has been employed to coordinate departmentwide participation in this process. Regional assistance teams are being formed to maintain close contact with individual districts and schools.

Exercise of Authority

In those rare instances where there is a demonstrated unwillingness on the part of a district or school to implement whole-school reform or to make the required organizational, programmatic or fiscal changes, the Department of Education must exercise its essential and affirmative responsibility by directly ordering such changes. Fulfillment of this responsibility may include:

    • requiring the district to appropriate funds in the needed amount to support the school-based budget;
    • directly budgetary reallocations to free funds for school-based budgets;
    • ordering staff retraining or staff replacement; or
    • requiring participation in specific professional development programs.

Obstacles to Exercise of State Responsibility

It must be recognized that the status quo presents significant obstacles to the realization of the vision of the effective elementary school described in this report. Indeed, existing constraints may place certain actions beyond the reach of the Department of Education and the State Board. Unless otherwise addressed, these constraints may render that vision to be less than fully attainable.  

Funding and Revenues

The school-based budget of each elementary school must consistently be supported by all of the revenues that are potentially available to such schools through the district budget. The desired educational results will not be achieved if various categories of state, local and federal funds are used incoherently to support disparate or contradictory philosophies and practices. Educational reform is a restructuring of philosophy and practice, not an add-on to the status quo. If this restructuring does not include fiscal reform, then those factors that prevent current funds from reaching the school level in an appropriate form and amount will inhibit additional money from doing so as well.

The department reviewed the all of the revenues that are earmarked for elementary schools in the budgets of Abbott districts, leaving aside funds for central office administration. This review indicates that the average current amounts ought to be sufficient to support the average school-based budget (see Appendix "B").

However, the amount of funding actually needed will be also function of: 1) the amount needed to support each actual school-based budget; 2) the extent to which the educational status quo can be replaced, rather than only supplemented, by whole-school reform: and 3) the amount of revenue that can be garnered after reallocation. These determinations can be made only through implementation.

District and School-lountability

In order for a district to assess, evaluate, monitor and effectively implement a program or reform effort, it must establish a system of accountability. This system must include the establishment of baseline data and the identification of progress benchmarks and standards that are linked to the core curriculum content standards. The results obtained from this accountability system are used to make informed decisions about program improvement.



The department studied the body of research available on secondary schools. Our study to date indicates that much secondary school research is spotty, largely anecdotal, and inconclusive. It is acknowledged, that the department at this point has not had sufficient time to ascertain whether there is an equivalent body of research for secondary whole school reform models as exists for the elementary schools. No one program appears to be sufficiently comprehensive to enable the department to realize its goal of identifying a model for whole school reform with proven effectiveness, for ensuring student success and improving student achievement.

Therefore, the department will not recommend a specific model of whole school reform at the secondary level. Ultimately, this approach is essential and must be recognized as the goal.

Promising research-based secondary models were identified that approach whole school reform from a variety of perspectives and with varying degrees of documented effectiveness. They are described in Appendix C.

Abbott districts should be encouraged to experiment with and pilot these models to determine their viability. The department will work with districts and support their efforts.

It is recognized that until such time as a suitable whole school reform approach for secondary schools can be identified, a partial approach to implementing supplemental programs will have to suffice. Even when an effective whole-school model of secondary school reform has been identified and implemented, however, there will be students who, for a variety of reasons, cannot have their needs addressed sufficiently or appropriately in the regular program. Some students may be at greater risk of school failure and dropout because of disruptive behavior, disaffection, adolescent pregnancy and parenthood, substance abuse, or various other circumstances, and cannot or will not be accommodated in a regular school program. Other students may require a linkage with social services that provide supports enabling them to function in school and stay in school; or may need to be helped to make an effective school-to-work or school-to-college transition.

All of these students require one or more supplemental programs, coordinated with the regular program in their middle or high school. Based on the department's exploration to date, the following appear to be most promising: alternative schools and dropout prevention, community schools, increased security and codes of conduct, school-to-work/college, instructional technology, continuous professional development, and school-based decision making and parental involvement. It is the department's intention to assist each Abbott district in implementing these programs using a planning and approval process similar to that for elementary schools, as described in the previous section. As in the case of elementary schools, budget reviews will be undertaken to ensure that funds are used to support these programs before additional resources are sought.

As discussed above, a whole-school approach to implementing supplemental programs is not proposed for middle schools and high schools at this time. However, site-based decision making, including site-based budgeting is recommended as a way of providing meaningful school-level involvement and assuring that funds reach the school level. For these reasons, this study examined school-based costs for middle and secondary schools using methodology consistent with the illustrative elementary school-based budget. Salaries and most costs are based on average expenditures of the I & J districts. Facilities operations and maintenance and food service expenditures are based on average expenditures of the Abbott districts because they are substantially higher than those of the I & J districts.

At the middle school, enrollment is 675 students in grades 6 through 8, with 1.5 percent assumed to have severe learning disabilities and served in out-of-district placements. Class size is 23 at all grade levels. Twenty percent of the population receive 90 minutes of basic skills remedial instruction per day at reduced class size of 15. Twelve percent of the population receive 90 minutes of bilingual instruction per day.

Allocations include 46.5 teachers, a principal and a vice principal, two guidance counselors, a school nurse, a media specialist/librarian, four clerical staff and one aide. An allocation is also included for a full-time community services coordinator. An allocation is also included for a full-time technology coordinator. An allocation of three security guards is provided for a ratio of one security guard for every 225 students. Allocations are included for employee benefits and substitute coverage. Nonsalary instructional allocations are provided for materials and supplies, technology/distance learning, other equipment, curriculum consultants, extracurricular activities, professional development and summer curriculum development. Nonsalary noninstructional allocations are provided for facilities operation and maintenance, small facilities projects, supplies, equipment, purchased services, food services and miscellaneous expenses. The middle school budget totals $5,436,400.

At the high school, enrollment is 900 students in grades 9 through 12, with 1.5 percent assumed to have severe learning disabilities and served in out-of-district placements. Class size is 24 at all grade levels. Twenty percent of the population receive two periods of basic skills remedial instruction per day at reduced class size of 15. Twelve percent of the population receive two periods of bilingual instruction per day.

Allocations include 53.5 teachers, a principal and two vice principals, four supervisors of instruction, three guidance counselors, a school-to-work counselor, two school nurses, a part-time attendance officer, a media specialist/librarian, nine clerical staff and one aide. An allocation is also included for a full-time community services coordinator. An allocation is also included for a full-time technology coordinator. An allocation of four security guards is provided for a ratio of one security guard for every 225 students. Allocations are included for employee benefits and substitute coverage. Nonsalary instructional allocations are provided for materials and supplies, technology/distance learning, other equipment, curriculum consultants, extracurricular activities, professional development and summer curriculum development. Nonsalary noninstructional allocations are provided for facilities operation and maintenance, small facilities projects, supplies, equipment, purchased services, food services and miscellaneous expenses. The high school budget totals $7,930,300.

Revenue sources were also examined in the same manner as the elementary school and include all aid programs under CEIFA, parity aid provided pursuant to the Supreme Court decision of May 14, 1997, and federal aid entitlements. Reductions are made for each school's proportional share of central office costs, out-of-district tuition for students with severe learning disabilities and the cost of an alternative school at each level. At the middle school, total available revenue for the school-based budget is $6,096,767 in schools where at least 40 percent of students are low income and $6,012,392 in schools where at least 20 percent of students are low income. At the high school level, total available revenue for the school based budget is $8,994,119 in schools where at least 40 percent of students are low income and $8,881,619 in schools where at least 20 percent of students are low income.

As discussed above, the actual school-based budget of each middle and high school will be calculated school-by-school to account for individual variances.


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Half-Day Preschool $ 2,983 per pupil
Full-Day Kindergarten $ 4,108 per pupil
Reduced Class Size in K-3

Reading (From 21 to 15)

$ 361 per pupil
One-to-One Tutoring $ 4,208 per pupil
Social Service Referral
And Coordination
$ 158 per pupil, elementary
$ 64,500 per school, middle
$ 69,400 per school, high
Increased Security, Codes of Conduct $ 61 per pupil, elementary
$ 146 per pupil, secondary
Alternative Schools $339,500 per school, middle
$344,400 per school, high
Instructional Technology $ 267 per pupil, elementary
$ 252 per pupil, middle
$ 234 per pupil, high



The school-based budget for purposes of this illustration is generated for a school size of 584 pupils (500 kindergarten through grade 5 pupils plus 84 preschool pupils) consistent with the elementary population used by the Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS) of the Johns Hopkins University to estimate the costs associated with Success for All and Roots and Wings. All pupils other than those with severe learning disabilities are served in the regular classroom consistent with the neverstreaming concept under the Success for All program. One and one half percent of the elementary population is assumed to have severe learning disabilities and are placed out of the district. The school-based budget contains cost estimates sufficient for the Rapid Start Plan for the following components:

  • an average class size of 21 students in kindergarten through grade three, 23 students in grades four and five, and 15 students in preschool (these class sizes also compare favorably to those used by CSOS)
  • a half-day prekindergarten program
  • a full-day kindergarten program
  • a 90 minute daily reading period for all students in kindergarten through grade three. Pupils are regrouped by reading level in classes of 15 in grades one through three.
  • a 20 minute daily session of one-to-one tutoring by certified teacher-tutors for students in grade one through grade three reading below grade level
  • 298 minutes of overall instruction per day
  • a full-time facilitator who works with the teachers in administering the Success for All program
  • a full-time family support specialist/social worker and a full-time parent liaison which comprise a Family Support Team
  • 35.5 teachers, including 5 certified teacher tutors, assisted by seven aides in prekindergarten and kindergarten to deliver instruction which integrates Success for All, Roots and Wings, and other instruction in the Core Curriculum Content Standards to both regular and special education students, except those who are severely disabled
  • professional development for implementation of both Success for All and Roots and Wings consistent with prices quoted by CSOS
  • substitute coverage for six staff development days for teachers and aides
  • a principal
  • a guidance counselor, a nurse, a technology coordinator and a media services librarian
  • a security guard, two clerical workers and three aides to assist in the delivery of support and administrative services.

  The budget also assumes that all instruction in language arts and literacy, world languages, mathematics, science, social studies, health and the arts will occur in the regular classroom, with instruction in physical education occurring in a specialized setting. Both regular and specialized instruction will help students to achieve the Cross Content Workplace Readiness Standards.


  • Technology

The budget allocates resources to provide one personal computer for every five pupils and assumes its replacement on a five-year cycle. Additional associated costs for peripherals, software, and networking are allocated at a rate of 25 percent of the revolving costs of computer purchases, plus $40 per pupil for distance learning.

  • Extracurricular/Cocurricular Activities

Participation in activities supplemental to the core curricular program has been shown to correlate with positive academic and social results among students. The budget allocates resources for this purpose.

  • Vacation and Sick Leave

The expected cost of substitutes is determined by the number of sick and personal days taken by teaching staff. Assuming an absentee rate of four percent and a 180-day school year, such assumed absences would represent an annual seven days per FTE. The total days per school are calculated, and a per diem rate of $67 per day is applied to determine the substitute pay cost.

  • Benefits

The budget includes allowances for employee health, life and dental insurance benefits. In addition, unemployment insurance payroll taxes are calculated for all employees and included. PERS and FICA for noncertificated staff are also included.

  • Food Service

The budget includes resources to cover the excess costs of the food service fund (Sales and Federal Reimbursements).

  • Other Elements

The remaining elements include books, supplies, purchased services, equipment, security, operations, and maintenance.

  • Cost Analyses

Salaries contained in these assumptions are based on the average salaries of the I&J districts for 1996-97 indexed forward by the CPI to the 1997-98 school year. Most other costs are based on average audited expenditures of the I&J districts for 1995-96 indexed forward by the CPI to the 1997-98 school year. Professional development costs were based on those first year prices quoted by the CSOS. Computer costs were based on current retail market prices, notwithstanding that schools generally buy in less expensive bulk orders and receive discounts from most vendors regardless. Also note that no adjustment was made to the allocation for equipment which was based on the I&J average which contains computer and other technology equipment expenditures of the I&J districts. Operations and maintenance of plant costs are average audited expenditures of the Abbott districts for 1995-96 indexed forward by the CPI to the 1997-98 school year since these expenditures exceeded those of the I&J districts. Subsumed within these expenditures is the cost of security personnel (Note that the budget also specifically includes an allocation for one security guard in addition to those already reflected in the operations and maintenance average). Excess costs of the food service fund are also average audited expenditures of the Abbott districts for 1995-96 indexed forward by the CPI to the 1997-98 school year (Note that average excess food service fund expenditures were nine times that of the I&J districts).













Teacher Tutors












Social Worker








School Nurse




Parent Liaison




Media/Tech Coord.




Security Officer
























Subtotal Salaries and Benefits






Curriculum Materials/Supplies



Technology/Distance Learning



Other Equipment



Curriculum Consultants



Extracurricular Activities



Professional Development



Summer Curriculum Development




Subtotal Instructional Materials/Supplies






Facilities Operation and Maintenance



Facilities-small projects









Purchased Services



Food Services (excess costs)







Subtotal Administration Materials and Supplies









The school-based budget revenues are estimated for all state and federal aid sources which are received by all Abbott districts. No discretionary fund sources are considered, however, the department will work closely with Abbott districts in order to maximize the amount of discretionary aid received. State sources are based on the amounts contained in CEIFA and the FY'98 Appropriations Act.

Federal sources are calculated using a straight average per pupil amount for all Abbott districts with the exception of IDEA where the actual program per pupil amount is used with an assumed classification rate. Actual numbers will vary based on individual district circumstances such as county locations, Title I allocation and concentration of low income pupils. All federal sources are based on 1997-98 entitlements.

The whole school approach used in Success for All and Roots and Wings encompasses the entire elementary curriculum including its Title I, special education, bilingual education, ESL, and other special programs. Such an approach dictates that a coordinated application of all state and federal revenues be used in preparing the budget. The 1994 reauthorization of Chapter 1 as Title I (of the Improving America's Schools Act) introduced many opportunities for significant school-by-school change for disadvantaged children. The new Title I provides the opportunity to incorporate all subjects and broader performance measures by permitting the use of Title I funds flexibly to meet the needs of the whole school population in schools in which 50 percent of students are in poverty. Title I is encouraging a focus on adoption of proven practices, moving away from its long-term focus on remediation and classroom aides. An emphasis on site-based management within Title I and in education reform more broadly is giving school staffs the resources and authority to select their own paths to reform.

The school-based budget contains revenues and assumptions as follows:

CEIFA T & E is 105 percent of T&E Amount per pupil for each school level, the top of the T&E range. Elementary, middle and high school amounts per pupil are $7,056, $7,903 and $8,467, respectively. Most Abbott districts are at or near this level. Funding sources are Core Curriculum Standards Aid, Supplemental Core Curriculum Standards Aid, Stabilization Aids and local tax levy.

ECPA converted from district enrollment per pupil amounts to prekindergarten and kindergarten per pupil amounts. ($465 to $2,860 @ 20% low income concentration and $750 to $4,612 @ 40% low income concentration) Prekindergarten enrollment assumed to be equivalent to kindergarten. Twenty-one districts qualify at the 40 percent level. Seven qualify at the 20 percent level.

DEPA and Distance Learning aid are distributed consistent with CEIFA.

Bilingual is based on 12 percent bilingual enrollment, the Abbott average based on 97-98 funding.

Special education is based on the school level classification rates contained in the Comprehensive Plan for Educational Improvement and Financing Act (May 1996) and assumption that most classified students are in Tier III, with 1.5 percent of school enrollment being in Tier IV and sent out-of-district, based on observations when developing the four tiers.

Parity Aid is based on weighted I&J average of $7,829 elementary, $8,768 middle school and $9,394 high school consistent with the school level weights contained in CEIFA. Unweighted average was $8,664.

Title I (Helping Disadvantaged Children Meet High Standards) for these purposes is based on the per pupil average of $367 for all Abbott students in grades kindergarten through 12 using 1997-98 entitlements and the student divisor used for the parity calculation. Also, at-risk counts indicate that 18 districts qualify at the 50 percent level and would be able to fully fund additional SFA costs through Title I, except for the additional costs of preschool and full-day kindergarten given the assumptions and estimates contained in the Johns Hopkins University publication.

Title II (Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Program) for these purposes is based on the per pupil average of $9 for all Abbott students in grades Kindergarten through 12 using the same methodology for Title I.

Title IV (Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act) for these purposes is based on the per pupil average of $11 for all Abbott students in grades Kindergarten through 12 using the same methodology for Title I.

Title VI (Innovative Education Program Strategies) for these purposes is based on the per pupil average of $11 for all Abbott students in grades Kindergarten through 12 using the same methodology for Title I.

IDEA Basic for these purposes is based on a 15 percent classification rate, including speech, and the $470 per pupil aid amount applied to the Kindergarten through grade 12 population.

IDEA Preschool for these purposes is based on a 15 percent classification rate, including speech, and the $630 per pupil aid amount applied to the preschool population.




40% Low Income

20% Low Income

Grades 1 Through 5/T&E (417 x $7,056)



Kindergarten/T&E (83x$3,528)









ECPA (166 x $4,612 or $2,860)

$ 765,592

$ 474,760

DEPA (500 x $425 or $300)



Distance Learning (500 x $40)



Bilingual (500 x 12% x $1,073)



Special Education Tier III(500 x 5.5% x $5,945)



Special Education Tier I & IV(500 x 1.5% x $8,850)





$ 939,003










Grades 1 Through 5/Parity Aid (417x $773)



Kindergarten/Parity Aid (83 x $387)



Total State Sources






Title I (500 x $367)



Title II (500 x $9)



Title IV (500 x $11)



Title VI (500 x $11)



IDEA-B (75 x $470)



IDEA-P (12 x $630)






Total Federal Sources






Total All Sources






Share of Central Office Costs



Out-of-District Tuition



Total Available Sources









 Project on High Performance Learning Centers

This program was developed with economically disadvantaged middle school students, grades 6-9, at risk for academic and other difficulties, based on the principles for transforming middle-grades education delineated by the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1989). It incorporates: small, personalized learning communities; a core academic program; teachers specially trained to teach this age group; the improvement of academic performance by fostering health and fitness; family and community connections; site-based management; and a commitment to ensure success for all students. Among the most noteworthy aspects of the program are its emphases on the staffing of middle schools with teachers who are specially trained to teach this age group and on enabling teachers and school-level administrators to make key pedagogical, management and budgetary decisions. Other worthwhile components are the development of students critical thinking skills through a core of common knowledge and the infusion of health, citizenship education and career education and guidance into all subject areas.

This promising whole-school model is now in its seventh year. Results to date, based on data collected through the third year, have shown gains in reading and mathematics and behavioral outcomes to be most pronounced for at-risk students in schools where the model has been most fully implemented. More longitudinal data are now being collected. Although the program appears to succeed in lowering failure rates, improving attendance and improving scores on writing assessments, its other outcomes are not measurable by standardized testing.

ATLAS (Communities of Authentic Teaching, Learning, and Assessment for all Students)

A pre-K-12 program for a senior high school and all of its feeder schools, ATLAS combines tested reform strategies, including authentic assessment, personalized learning and management structures into one comprehensive model. It uses a pathway approach, from the primary grades through high school. Combining the work of Comer (School Development Program), Gardner (Multiple Intelligences), Sizer (Coalition of Essential Schools), and the Education Development Center, the model aims to change teaching and learning, school management, and the roles of community social service providers. Because it is a relatively new program and a complex one, only limited reports on student performance are available thus far. Although the program has demonstrated some early successes in student achievement on state assessments and reading tests, its effectiveness, to date, has been determined primarily by ethnographic studies using observation, interviews and reviews of written materials.

 CES (Coalition of Essential Schools)

The CES model focuses on redesigning instruction in an entire high school so that students acquire the habits of mind that enable them to question and reason. It uses personalized instruction and is based on nine common principles on which teachers must reach consensus. Each school's faculty must then decide how to apply the principles in their unique school contest. Evidence on the success of this program includes improved attendance, decreased dropout rates; increased test scores and an increased number of high school graduates admitted to college. Since most CES-sponsored research has focused on the process and progress of translating the principles into practice, evidence of the impact of CES on student outcomes is still inconclusive. Because implementation of the this model requires collaboration among teachers, it would be more likely to work as intended in a "house plan" or "school-within-a school" setting. The faculty of each school must decide how to apply the guiding principles in their unique school context.


This is a K-12 curricular reform project which seeks to provide a rigorous liberal arts education to all students in a school. Its objectives are to help students develop the skills necessary to earn a living, think and act critically as responsible citizens and to become lifelong learners. Although the curriculum content areas and instructional principles are fixed, the Paideia group works with individual schools to help them adapt its model to local circumstances. The curriculum consists of eight subject areas and three strands: 1) acquisition of knowledge; 2) development of skills; and 3) enlargement of understanding and appreciation. The strategies used in the Paideia program are direct teaching, coaching, supervised practices, Socratic questioning and active student participation. Staff training and technical assistance are provided by Paideia. The program would adapt readily to a schoolwide project or a school-within-a-school. Among its advantages are its concentration on the essence of the learning process and its strengthening of teachers' problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution skills. Although the program appears to succeed in lowering failure rates, improving attendance and improving scores on writing assessments, its other outcomes are not measurable by standardized testing.