The Barr Foundation launched the Engage New England Initiative in 2017 to support the development of innovative schools to serve students who are off track to graduate from high school.
This research brief identifies promising strategies for embracing student voice in school design based on the experience of Engage New England (ENE) grantees.
Study of the Engage New England Initiative Cross-Site Learning Brief 3: Improving Instructional Systems
This brief examines the efforts of schools participating in the Barr Foundation’s Engage New England Initiative to improve the instructional systems for students who are off track to graduate high school.
Assessing the Alignment between West Virginia’s High School Career and Technical Education Programs and the Labor Market
To support CTE improvement efforts, this study quantitatively assessed the alignment between West Virginia’s high school CTE programs and the labor market, with a focus on alignment to regional high-demand occupations that require moderate occupational preparation.
This was a descriptive study on how secondary teachers implementing the Common Core State Standards for literacy used writing software to facilitate their instruction. Teachers from districts participating in the Literacy Design Collaborative volunteered to be in the study. They were trained on one of three software programs— Criterion (ETS), PEG Writing (Measurement, Inc.), or WriteToLearn (Pearson). The majority of teacher volunteers who were trained on the software used it with their students. Data were collected through an online teacher survey, analysis of backend system data, interviews, and classroom observations.
Most teachers reported that using the software (1) led them to assign more writing, (2) enabled them to focus more on the content and less on the grammar and mechanics of students’ writing, and (3) improved student writing. Teachers expressed frustration that the software was optimized for use with canned prompts and provided less detailed feedback on teacher-generated prompts.
The Human Resources (HR) Pilot was one of three Race to the Top-funded Human Capital Management Initiatives by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The HR Pilot initiative focused on the goal of effecting systemic changes under seven human resources “levers” to drive improvement in teacher knowledge and skills. The seven levers included recruitment, professional development, evaluation, and broader organizational structures and adult professional culture. SRI Education conducted longitudinal case studies of the three pilot districts, examining changes in policy and practices under key levers and factors shaping variation in implementation, including leadership, labor management relations, communication and buy-in, and technical assistance. The report culminates in a discussion of sustainability and lessons learned in district reform.