Grant: $62,000 - Corporation for National and Community Service - Jun. 18, 2009
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Award Description: The School Improvement Partnership is a collaboration of Utah State University’s (USU) Center for the School of the Future, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and partnering public schools. The School Improvement Partnership seeks to reduce poverty by improving the educational experience for primary and secondary school students. To accomplish this, the School Improvement Partnership has adopted three main priorities validated by research conducted through the Center for the School of the Future (CSF). These priorities are: behavior support, school leadership, and literacy. CSF has already successfully implemented several behavior-based programs in local schools, which have significantly enhanced the learning environment at local schools (West et al. 2004). Promoting, training, and implementing validated interventions and programs based upon known behavioral principles will sustain positive school environments and increase student achievement. CSF staff, working in partnership with public school collaborators, improve school leadership by emphasizing databased decision making in school-based professional learning communities, developing programs to identify and intervene with students at-risk for behavior/academic problems, and increasing community engagement in local schools and literacy-based initiatives. The creation of positive learning environments and the reduction of antisocial behavior will be accomplished by collaboratively developing programs with school personnel and community members that provide clear expectations, develop trusting relationships, promote skill building, and reward desired behavior. Funding for this project provides CSF with the personnel and resources necessary to influence practice in schools in several areas of the state.
Project Description: During the period June 17, 2009 to September 30, 2009, project staff members have focused on recruiting high quality staff members and developing work plans in accordance with CNCS guidelines. As staff members develop strong working relationships with partnering schools they will begin making progress on the project goals. Project goals and outcomes are measured using performance measures based on the official CNCS project plan. The progress toward each project goal is described below: • Goal 1 – Train at least 50 school faculty and/or staff on databased decision making strategies — Q1 Progress: Project staff completed a needs assessment and developed a work plan for each participating school. No significant training opportunities were completed during this reporting period. • Goal 2 – Increase the amount of community involvement at partnering schools by 10% from the previous school year — Q1 Progress: An assessment of the level of community involvement during the previous school year was conducted at each partnering school. This assessment included an analysis of the total volunteer hours generated by school activities, the cash-value of donations provided to the school, and volunteer/community involvement opportunities currently available for the 2009-2010 school year. • Goal 3 – Achieve significant behavioral and/or academic improvement in 50% of those students identified as the most at-risk — Q1 Progress: Intervention programs used during the 2008-2009 school year were reviewed at each participating school and improvements were considered. Efficacy of the program improvements will be assessed in future reports.
Jobs Summary: The grant funds provided for this project support the creation of four full-time (40 hours/week) VISTA Member positions and the retention of one full-time (40 hours/week) VISTA Leader position. Thus, a total of four FTE are created (VISTA Member positions) and one FTE is retained (VISTA Leader position). VISTA Members are responsible for creating programs to address the needs of at risk youth in partnering schools. They also work with school administrators in efforts to promote databased decision making and collaborative team building among school faculty members. These efforts include developing sustainable materials for school use and training, creating partnerships between schools and community entities, training school faculty and staff members, fund raising efforts, and supporting the implementation of evidence-based practices to improve student outcomes. The VISTA Leader is a source of personnel support for all members serving on the project. Responsibilities of this position include recruiting and assisting in the hiring process for the VISTA Members; providing technical assistance to VISTA Members who are having difficulties with the online support services; acting as a liaison between VISTA members, project supervisors, and state program officers, and assisting in member training. As a result of ARRA funds, five people are placed in full time employment positions with limited benefits. In addition, the support provided by the VISTA members reaches more schools. By working to provide services for students who are at risk, VISTA Members can positively impact the future labor force as well. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 18, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.