Using School and Child Welfare Data to Predict Near-Term Academic Risks: Fact Sheet

Many districts use early warning systems that identify students who are at risk of academic problems or dropping out of high school so they can better support these students. These systems often track attendance, behavior, and course performance—indicators that reliably identify students at risk of dropping out in large urban districts. Although districts typically do not incorporate non-academic risk factors into these systems, research has shown that homelessness, teenage pregnancy, child maltreatment, parental substance abuse, and unsafe living conditions are risk factors for negative school outcomes. This fact sheet describes predictors related to near-term academic problems, meaning academic problems in the next quarter or semester. It draws on a report that details the approach used to develop a predictive model and assesses how well the model identifies at-risk students.

Chicago offers more details on how qualifying families can sign up for free internet plan

Chicago Public Schools released more details Wednesday about its plan to connect 100,000 low-income families to free internet, saying it will lean on more than 30 community organizations to assist with outreach. The district said it will track those efforts closely with a new data dashboard, but it wasn’t able to provide numbers yet on how many families so far have signed up. The $50 million plan, called Chicago Connected, was released in late June. Adrian Segura, the deputy chief of the district’s community engagement department, said Wednesday that families can call the district’s IT department at 773-417-1060 if they have questions or to see if they qualify.

School police give way to more counselors in California districts as demands grow for reform

Faced with a soaring budget deficit and a growing fear of school shootings, Fontana Unified took a drastic step in the early 2010s: First, the board laid off the district’s entire staff of 69 counselors. And then it bought its police department 14 automatic rifles. The San Bernardino County district was not unusual. In the wake of the Columbine school shooting, 9/11 and the 2008 recession, school districts throughout California were making similar choices to cut mental health services in favor of more police, according to a 2019 report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Districts Can Successfully Change the Principal Supervisor Role to Better Support Principals, According to New Reports

Mathematica released two new reports today examining the experiences of six urban districts that participated in The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Supervisor Initiative (PSI). The PSI was a four-year, $24 million effort to redefine the principal supervisor role to focus less on administrative duties and more on developing and supporting principals to be effective instructional leaders. The two study reports indicate that the PSI districts were able to successfully change the principal supervisor role to better support principals compared to other districts that were not part of the initiative. The initiative, which began in 2014, reflects The Wallace Foundation’s longstanding commitment to improving student achievement by strengthening the quality of educational leadership. The two reports provide an independent review of the changes that resulted from the PSI and lessons learned from revising the principal supervisor role.