The Florida State Team composed of well trained researchers from Vanderbilt University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S. Department of Education collaborated for one purpose –”Gearing low performance high schools with effective practice”. The department of education has allotted $13.6 million in support for the improvement of effectiveness. Researchers from the respective universities will apply their quality education practices in low performing schools, particularly traditional high schools and minority groups. According to Cohen-Vogel, native English speakers and English language learners (black and Hispanic 17-year-olds) have a three year learning gap compared to their white counterparts and this under performance will greatly affect the educational and economic wellness of the country.
The researchers will engage partnership with district leaders and teachers from Dallas Independent School District and Broward County Public Schools for the five year project. The newly formed National Research and Development Center on Scaling up Effective Schools will focus on combining their different tested educational policies and the application of these practices for the high school effectiveness. These value added models will be the tools for sharpening effectiveness. Improved student achievement in English/language arts, mathematics and science achievement, reduced probability of student dropout before graduation, and increase enrollment in advanced courses among low performing high schools will be the bases of effectiveness.
But the ultimate goal of the project is the implementation of these practices according to Cohen-Vogel. The research team will dig through the components of the model, updating and gathering more data for the better implementation of the policies in order to identify effective and ineffective high schools. In accordance, the Florida State Team will visit and observe different high schools and administer surveys. This fall Cohen-Vogel and the research team will devote 60 weeks improving and designing professional development for the betterment of school leaders in sustaining student success.