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Redwood City

Boys & Girls Club Participation and English Language Development among English Learner Students

In this analysis, researchers at the Gardner Center used the Youth Data Archive to match English Learning students’ achievement data from the Redwood City School District to attendance data from the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula to study the link between afterschool program participation and English language development. Results from this analysis indicate that Boys & Girls Club attendance is associated with gains in English proficiency from one academic year to the next.

Positive Youth Development in Redwood City, 2012-2013

Since 2011, the Gardner Center has partnered with Redwood City 2020 to study one of its key initiatives, the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Partnership. This report synthesizes interview, focus group, and survey data from youth participants in in-school and afterschool settings as well as community youth service providers to explore youth development in Redwood City, CA.

Understanding Youth Leadership Development: An Examination of the YELL Program

Created in the fall of 2000, Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL) was launched as the inaugural project of the Gardner Center. The afterschool program was initially a pilot project to engage youth in an inquiry process that would assess the needs and strengths of Redwood City middle school students. The program evolved into a unique youth development program in Redwood City and West Oakland with training and experiences in leadership and civic action. Gardner Center research have studied YELL since its inception in an effort to better understand youth leadership development.

A Study of Family Engagement in Redwood City Community Schools

Since 2007, the Redwood City School District (RCSD) and Redwood City 2020 have partnered with the Gardner Center to examine how participation in community school programs shapes students’ outcomes. This brief summarizes the research literature and describes a 2011-2012 study that focused on family engagement practices as well as the factors that promote or inhibit family engagement in five of the district’s community schools. Gardner Center researchers conducted a total of 50 interviews and focus groups with school staff, families, and students.

Exploring the Link between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement

To examine the complex relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement, researchers from the John W. Gardner Center used the Youth Data Archive (YDA) to follow students over four academic years. This study links students’ California Standardized Test (CST) scores in math and English Language Arts (ELA), administered every year, to their performance on the California Physical Fitness Test (PFT), which tests students in grades 5, 7, and 9.

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.

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.

Examining Students’ Perceptions of the School Environment: Sequoia High School’s School Climate Survey

Research has shown that adolescents’ school experiences and perceptions of the school climate can influence their attendance, motivation to learn, and health risk-taking behaviors. At the request of the Sequoia Union High School District, the Gardner Center collaborated with Sequoia High School in the 2011-12 academic year to develop and analyze the results of a survey instrument that tapped all SHS students’ viewpoints of the school environment (e.g., sense of safety).


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