ERIC Number: ED485680
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jul
Reference Count: 16
The Challenge of Scaling Up Educational Reform. Findings and Lessons from First Things First. Final Report
Quint, Janet; Bloom, Howard S.; Black, Alison Rebeck; Stephens, Lefleur; Akey, Theresa M.
First Things First (FTF) is a major comprehensive school reform that includes three central components: small learning communities of up to 350 students and their key teachers who remain together for several years; a family advocate system, in which each student is paired with a staff member who meets regularly with the student, monitors his or her progress, and works with the student's parents to promote success; and instructional improvement efforts aimed at making lessons more engaging and rigorous, as well as better aligned with state and local standards. This report considers the implementation and impacts of First Things First, one of the major initiatives aimed at changing low-performing high schools that emerged during the last decade. The report arrives at an opportune moment, when President George W. Bush, the nation's governors, and business and foundation leaders have announced a renewed commitment to reforming American high schools, especially schools serving large numbers of low-income students and students of color. Critics have noted the large size and anonymity of many such schools, their poor working conditions, the lower qualifications and inexperience of many teachers, and the rarity of rigorous, challenging instruction. First Things First (FTF)--a comprehensive school reform initiative currently operating in over 70 schools in nine districts across the country--attempts to combat these problems by focusing on building strong relationships, improving teaching and learning, and reallocating resources to meet those first two goals. This report discusses the program's implementation and impacts in the first five districts to launch the initiative.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.Ford Foundation, New York, NY.; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO.; Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA.
Authoring Institution: MDRC