a3 NYC: Attend, Align, Achieve: Validating a Model for School Turnaround

January 20, 2011  • Education Innovation Forum and Expo

The Children’s Aid Society, in partnership with the United Federation of Teachers (the nation’s largest teachers union), The Harlem Children’s Zone, Good Shepherd Services, and the NYC Department of Education (the nation’s largest LEA), has developed a model for school turnaround with a focus on elementary schools plagued by persistent low performance and where 30% or more children are chronically absent. a3 NYC: Attend, Align, Achieve seeks to validate the Children’s Aid Society’s community school model, which combines a broad range of student and family support services with high-quality academic instruction to improve outcomes for children. The project’s objectives, measured against matched comparison schools, are to: 1) improve academic performance; 2) increase student engagement; 3) increase community engagement; and 4) build the school’s capacity for high quality academics and support services. a3 NYC employs two core strategies: reducing non-academic barriers to achievement, and providing professional development and capacity building to foster a school environment, teaching force, and support system in which every child thrives.

a3 NYC has an additional benefit: it identifies chronic absenteeism — missing a month or more of school a year– as an indicator of low-performing schools in need of turnaround. Chronic absenteeism and poor achievement are highly correlated.

a3 NYC is designed to benefit approximately 4,500 students and families at nine low-performing elementary schools in the highest need neighborhoods in NYC: Central Harlem, the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn. The Center for Advanced Study of Education at the City University of New York will serve as evaluator.

To learn more, contact Katherine Eckstein.