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classroom practices

Oakland Kids First: Peers Advising Students to Succeed Implementation Study

Oakland Kids First (OKF) is a nonprofit organization that informs district-level policy regarding meaningful family and student engagement and implements youth development programs serving high-school students throughout Oakland Unified School District. Peers Advising Students to Succeed (PASS-2) is OKF’s peer academic advising program that trains older students to teach freshmen about high school graduation and college-eligibility requirements through workshops and mentoring.

Caring and Motivating Middle School Classrooms

In 2009, the Gardner Center began working in partnership with the Redwood City School District to gain a deeper understanding of classroom practices to promote motivation and achievement in middle school. Each spring, all middle school students in the district completed a survey about their motivational beliefs and classroom experiences. In response to conversations with teachers and administrators, the 2011 survey incorporated a new set of questions to capture students’ perceptions of classroom practices that convey care and support.

Practices that Promote Middle School Students’ Motivation and Achievement

As students transition from elementary school to middle school, their motivation to learn declines along with their engagement in learning. This decline is especially troubling for low-income, minority youth who are more likely to have struggled academically during their elementary school years. The decline in motivation and engagement, however, is not inevitable. What happens in classrooms can make a difference by promoting a set of beliefs that help launch young adolescents on positive educational and developmental trajectories.

PLUS: San Jose’s Successful Alternative Education Option

This issue brief is part of a larger study of California Continuation High Schools begun in 2007. During this phase of the study, researchers conducted in-depth site visits and data analysis at 22 continuation high school programs in three California counties from November 2009 to October 2009, interviewing students, teachers, counselors, and administrators. San Jose’s PLUS program stands out among California’s continuation high schools in its design and operation as part of a district menu of alternatives, and in its ‘school-within-a-school’ design.

An Implementation Study of the Art in Action Program

Targeting students in grades K-8, Art in Action’s program consists of 12 age-appropriate lessons per year led by parent and teacher volunteers. The curriculum is based on historically significant artists and their works of art. Through semi-structured discussions, students examine a variety of masterpieces, learning about the artist as well as particular art styles and techniques. Students then apply the concepts they learned to create original works of art.

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