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The results from this three-year research study, conducted with over 9,000 students in eight public high schools in three states, reveal that high schools that start at 8:30 AM or later allow for more than 60% of students to obtain at least eight hours of sleep per school night. Teens getting less than eight hours of sleep reported significantly higher depression symptoms, greater use of caffeine, and are at greater risk for making poor choices for substance use. Academic performance outcomes, including grades earned in core subject areas of math, English, science and social studies, plus performance on state and national achievement tests, attendance rates and reduced tardiness show significantly positive improvement with the later start times of 8:35 AM or later. Finally, the number of car crashes for teen drivers from 16 to 18 years of age was significantly reduced by 70% when a school shifted start times from 7:35 AM to 8:55 AM.

Truancy has reached epidemic levels in schools in the United States. School truancy is associated with delinquency, substance abuse, educational failure, and school attrition. This paper describes 2010-2011 evaluation results of the be@school truancy intervention program in Hennepin County, Minnesota's most populous county. The program was implemented to increase school attendance through coordinated, progressive early intervention efforts that provide educational and support services to school-age children and their families. Over 6,000 children, grades K-12, and their families were referred to the program. The evaluation compared children's attendance records before and after program interventions. Results showed a significant reduction in unexcused absence rates among students whose families participated in parent group meetings. Moreover, students whose families received community agency support had significantly fewer absences than their counterparts who received no such support. The findings suggest that early school interventions that include community and parental involvement can markedly reduce student truancy rates.

This conference paper was presented at the 2012 Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) Conference.

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students' social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.

Youth Frontiers is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. In September 2008, Youth Frontiers, Incorporated (YF) contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of YF programming over three years. The purpose of our evaluation is threefold: to determine the extent that participation in YF programming increases students' social and emotional learning competencies; to determine if participation helps students feel more connected to peers and adults in their school communities; and to determine whether YF retreats have a positive effect on youth participants and the school as a whole.

Since the early 1990s, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) has shifted from supporting independent prevention activities in states and localities to focusing on comprehensive prevention strategies. The State Incentive Grant (SIG) program, launched in 1997, was described by CSAP as representing a major step toward increasingly comprehensive and coordinated prevention programming at both the local and state levels. Participating states have received three years of funding at approximately $3 million a year. The ultimate purpose of the SIG initiative is to prevent or reduce substance abuse among youth ages 12-17 years by re-engineering the process of prevention programming. In this report we focus on summarizing Minnesota's work between 1999 and 2002 related to the development of a comprehensive, statewide prevention strategy, including the coordination of prevention funding. Findings are presented regarding the key elements of the SIG program and Minnesota's approach that were put in motion to re-engineer the ATOD prevention system; the characteristics of 22 local grantees that received SIG funds; and the re-engineering outcomes achieved as of the end of 2002. A full description of the methods used to collect and analyze information related to the Minnesota SIG initiative is included in Appendix A. II.

The Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP) was a series of rigorous, content-focused, summer science institutes offered regionally throughout Minnesota for K-12 teachers of science. Institutes were provided in biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and scientific inquiry - addressing the Minnesota Science Standards in each area - with at least one K-5 and one 6-12 institute offered in each of five regions each summer. MnSTEP completed the third and final year of summer institutes and school year follow-up for Minnesota K-12 science teachers, including licensure programs in both high school physics and chemistry. Over three years, MnSTEP delivered 47 standards based science content institutes involving 914 teachers, who then taught more than 85,000 students. This report presents information on performance outcomes for year three of the project including results of pre- and post-assessment data for the year two cohort of teacher participants in the summer 2008 institutes. We presented an evaluation of the year one cohort in the 2008 MnSTEP Evaluation Report. We provide performance outcomes for the year one cohort in this report as a supplement to the 2008 report and for comparison purposes to the year two cohort.

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) was awarded a 5‐year grant by the U.S. Department of Education for a Small Learning Communities (SLC) project that was implemented in its seven comprehensive high schools. The funding period began in July 2005 and ended in July 2010. Two main goals were established for the project. Goal 1 was to close the achievement gap between students of color and White students in reading and mathematics while raising the achievement of all students. Goal 2 was to increase the graduation rate and post‐secondary readiness of all students. This evaluation report describes MPS's attainment of these two goals in the final year of the 5‐year project and across all 5 years.

Project SUCCESS (PS) is a youth-development organization working with students in public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. For over 18 years, the program has worked to motivate students to set goals, plan for the future, and pursue their dreams. The program seeks to accomplish these goals by collaborating with teachers, facilitating in-class workshops with students, and providing access to theater experiences and other special programs and services (e.g., one-on-one assistance, college tours, school performances, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) adventures). In August 2011, PS contracted with the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct an evaluation of its program. During the 2011-2012 school year, evaluators focused on building a foundation of evaluation activities that can be expanded on in future years. The purpose of the evaluation was to gather information to help program staff better understand how the program impacts students and teachers. This information is expected to help guide guide further exploration of program effectiveness.

The be@school Program was implemented to increase school attendance and to improve community connections across Hennepin County through a coordinated early intervention effort that provides educational and support services to school-age children and their families. The program builds on the Minneapolis schools' attendance improvement activities which include making automated calls to parents after the first unexcused absence, sending a Principal's letter to parents after three unexcused absences, and offering helpful resources to the families. This report presents evaluation findings for the 2010-2011 school year of Hennepin County's be@school Program. The program used early intervention strategies with individual families to address children's poor school attendance. Over 6,000 children in grades K-12 and their families were referred to the program during the time frame under study. Referrals came from 21 school districts, charter schools, and independent schools across Hennepin County. The evaluation focused on comparing children's attendance records before and after program intervention. Additionally, analyses were completed between students whose families participated in the program and those who were referred, but did not participate (comparison group). Qualitative data analyses were also carried out to identify impediments to school attendance. Throughout this report, demographic information and program activities are described and related to the findings.

Educational leadership can have strong, positive, although indirect, effects on student learning. The full report of our study--Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning--provides evidence and analyses to substantiate this claim. As well, our study also unpacks how such leadership has these strong positive effects. Leaders in education--including state-level officials, superintendents and district staff, principals, school board members, teachers and community members enacting various leadership roles--provide direction for, and exercise influence over, policy and practice. Their contributions are crucial, our evidence shows, to initiatives aimed at improving student learning. This study was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation.