School2Home is an innovative cost-effective initiative to close both the Achievement Gap and the Digital Divide by integrating computing and broadband technologies into teaching and learning in low-performing middle schools with an intense focus on parent engagement. School2Home has 10 Core Components based on research and experience about “what works” to turn around low-performing schools and optimize the benefits of technology in education. School2Home provides the essential framework anchored in best practices to turn around low-performing schools and the requisite platform to successfully integrate the use of technology to support innovative pedagogy, personalized learning, and other school-improvement programs (including STEM and STEAM). School2Home also helps students to master competencies under Common Core Standards. Once School2Home has been fully implemented in a school, “rooting the culture” of using technology to engage parents and drive education improvement, students show significant gains in academic performance that outpace comparable schools and statewide averages. CETF continues to lead and manage School2Home with a “critical mass” of district and school partners that achieve success to drive education policy and practice statewide.
Highlights of Results:
- CETF and The Children’s Partnership developed School2Home in collaboration with stakeholders statewide, including the California Department of Education (CDE), educators, broadband providers, and technology companies. It was launched in 2009 for beta testing in 2 schools (Stevenson Middle School in Los Angeles Unified School District and Central Middle School in Riverside Unified School District). Over the decade, School2Home partnered with 12 districts and 35 schools, reaching more than 600 teachers and 14,000 student and their parents in high-poverty communities.
- School2Home teacher professional learning curriculum was developed in consultation with CUE and peer reviewed by California State University leading faculty. Parent training materials were developed in collaboration with Families in Schools. School2Home always is customized for each school and district to complement and incorporate it into ongoing other existing school-improvement initiatives.
- An annual Leadership Academy is convened for all School2Home School Leadership Teams to share their progress and “lessons learned.” Each School Leadership Team develops an action plan by the end of the 2-day event to improve implementation of the program. To date, 10 Leadership Academies have been conducted, receiving positive feedback and high marks from participants. CDE, CUE members, and the California Collaborative for Education Excellence are key contributors to the Leadership Academy.
- An independent evaluation is completed annually to measure progress for accountability and provide feedback to CETF and schools for continuous improvement of School2Home. The comprehensive evaluation includes: interviews of principals; surveys of teachers, students, and parents; analysis of academic performance over time and in comparison to a cohort of comparable schools; analysis of compliance with Local Control Accountability Plans and statewide priorities; and effective use of technology. Surveys show that participating parents increase broadband adoption by about 10% for English-speaking families and by about 50% for Spanish-speaking families.
- School2Home is cost-effective at about $1,000 per student for full implementation. This is in contrast to other middle school turn-around programs funded through U.S. Department of Education School Improvement Grants which have averaged $1,710 per student.
School2Home Is the Centerpiece of Neighborhood Transformation
Residents in low-income neighborhoods also often are confronted with an interrelated set of factors and forces—a “wall of poverty”—that constitute a huge barrier to overcome and escape. Some of these factors get in the way of children being able to succeed in school, but they are not the direct responsibility of schools. However, the “wall of poverty” can be overcome and shattered by counties and cities aligning their existing resources and delivering human services through multi-disciplined Integrated Services Teams organized around school attendance areas that are accountable for moving families and their children out of poverty and into self-sufficiency— with measurable outcomes for a better future. Obviously, getting a good education, including the ability to use technology and acquire digital skills, is fundamental to escaping poverty and becoming self-sufficient. Thus, School2Home also is the “centerpiece” of a strategy referred to as Neighborhood Transformation, which fully embraces and incorporates Digital Inclusion. CETF is pursuing Neighborhood Transformation to complement and augment School2Home with a group of visionary local elected officials and pacesetter counties and cities.