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Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literacy program using storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives.In 2012-2013, a total of 640 students in grades three through six from twenty-three classrooms in eleven schools across the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area participated in the Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program of The Children's Theatre Company (CTC). This report presents the results of an evaluation of the Bridges program. CTC contracted with the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to conduct the study. The purpose of the evaluation was to measure the quality of Bridges implementation and assess student learning in the areas of writing; knowledge and skills in theatre; retelling and dramatization and critical literacy.

In 2009, a Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to the Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative (MMIC) for the project Global Literacy Through Mandarin Immersion and STEM. The funding was expected to continue for a total of 5 years contingent upon annual renewal approved by Congress. However, in 2011, Congress voted to discontinue all FLAP funding. The 3 years' of funding received by the MMIC supported early elementary immersion instruction in Mandarin Chinese that begins at the kindergarten level and the development of a curriculum that has a content focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The schools in the MMIC have added a grade level each year, with the intent of creating the capacity to continue Chinese immersion to grades 7-12. The MMIC contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota to serve as the external evaluator of the project. This report presents CAREI's evaluation of the third year of the grant-funded project. The report includes enrollment and retention data as well as the results of a parent survey and a survey of English teachers (i.e., instructional staff whose positions were in the regular, non-immersion program).

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.

The Partners for Success® (PFS) Program, serving Dakota and Scott counties, provides basic needs assistance (e.g., food, clothing, school supplies) to students and families. In addition, for over 15 years, Family Support Workers (FSW) have collaborated with teachers, principals and school staff in 39 schools to help boost students' educational progress. The two main program goals of PFS are: 1) Establish a standard level of services across districts; and 2) Effectively partner with schools to ensure that all students reach proficiency in reading by third grade. During the 2009-2010 school year, CAREI evaluators focused on the formative aspects of the program. In the second evaluation (2010-2011), CAREI evaluators collaborated with PFS program staff to formulate three specific goals for the evaluation: 1) Determine the extent to which FSWs communicate and collaborate with parents/guardians and teachers to build relationships and improve students' educational performance; 2) Continue to monitor PFS professional development processes and determine how 360 Communities can continue to support and strengthen program activities through capacity building within the organization; and 3) Identify how the program impacts students, families and teachers by focusing on observed changes from the perspectives of teachers, parents/guardians, FSWs, and from analysis of student data. The second year's evaluation was implemented in 10 elementary schools located in six Minnesota cities: Burnsville, Farmington, Hastings, Lakeville, South St. Paul, and West St. Paul. This report summarizes the evaluation data collected from September 2010 through June 2011.

Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literacy program using storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives. In 2010-2011, students in twenty-five classrooms from eleven schools in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area participated in The Children's Theatre Company's Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. The Children's Theatre Company contracted with the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate Bridges in these classrooms. The purpose of the evaluation was to measure the quality of Bridges implementation and assess student learning in the areas of writing; knowledge and skills in theatre; retelling and dramatization; and critical literacy. Highlights from the results of the evaluation study are discussed below.

During the 2009‐2010 school year, Project AIM, a program of the Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago, worked with over nine hundred fifth through eighth grade students in five schools. Project AIM teaching artists collaborated with classroom teachers in these schools to develop residencies that offered students instruction in arts, literacy and/or math. Each residency included thirteen sessions in which the artist provided instruction in the classroom in collaboration with the classroom teacher. In addition to the residencies, Project AIM facilitated the development of learning communities within each school. Project AIM also convened the artists each month for professional development sessions focused on topics such as the emotional and social development of middle grades students and integrating instruction in math and visual art. This report summarizes the results of an evaluation study of Project AIM during the 2009‐2010 school year.

The Developing Readers Project is part of the Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) program that has been implemented since 1997 in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). The mission of AAA is to increase student academic achievement and improve teacher practice by making arts-based and arts-integrated learning essential to classroom instruction through collaborations with artists and arts organizations. The primary goal of the project is to increase the reading achievement of students in the middle grades, with a concentration on working with students in grade 6. The students targeted for inclusion are struggling readers enrolled in schools that have a significantly large proportion of students in poverty as defined by their eligibility for free or reduced price lunch. MPS has contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) to evaluate its implementation of the Developing Readers Project. This document is the year 2 evaluation report that addresses project implementation during the 2009‐10 academic year. The report includes descriptions of the participants and project activities and the results of student surveys, classroom video documentation, and teacher interviews. Also included are the results of analyses of attendance rates during the 2009‐10 school year and standardized reading test performance in spring 2009 compared to spring 2010.

This report describes and examines the meaning and use of critical literacy in The Children's Theatre Company's Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. Critical literacy is an orientation to reading that includes an understanding of how texts (oral stories, books, media) position readers (listeners/viewers), how readers position texts, and how texts are positioned within social, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Critical literacy is central to the philosophy of Bridges, which involves elementary and middle school students in storytelling and creative drama. An important goal of the program is to develop in children the capacity to analyze and challenge dominant social and cultural storylines as they create new storylines through imaginative retellings and reenactments. Of particular interest in this report is how critical literacy is facilitated via various opportunities for drama/creative play and Teacher Artist interactions with students during the four phases of a typical Neighborhood Bridges session.

This report describes and examines the meaning and use of critical literacy in The Children's Theatre Company's Neighborhood Bridges (Bridges) program. Critical literacy is an orientation to reading that includes an understanding of how texts (oral stories, books, media) position readers (listeners/viewers), how readers position texts, and how texts are positioned within social, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Critical literacy is central to the philosophy of Bridges, which involves elementary and middle school students in storytelling and creative drama. An important goal of the program is to develop in children the capacity to analyze and challenge dominant social and cultural storylines as they create new storylines through imaginative retellings and reenactments.

The purpose of the Anoka‐Hennepin Compensatory Education Pilot Program was to determine how the reallocation of funds affects program structure, changes instructional delivery, and provides opportunities for intense professional development in schools. The reallocation allowed the district to change program structure in reading and math instruction at three pilot site schools that were selected for this project because of their proportions of learners at risk. It was at those schools that a number of best practices components were added over four years of programming. Annual evaluation reports have been written every year of the program. This report looks specifically at the components in place in Year 4 of the program. The goals of the program were to have all students: 1) reach high standards; 2) attain proficiency in literacy and mathematics; and have all teachers: 1) vary instruction; and 2) use assessments to guide instruction for diverse learners. The CAREI team collected data using protocols and rubrics while observing classroom teachers and staff at the three pilot schools and 18 extension sites. Data were also drawn from district Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments - Series II (MCA‐II) test databases.