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NEA FOUNDATION’S CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAPS INITIATIVE: SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

Project Overview: The Springfield Collaboration for Change (SCC) is a partnership between Springfield Education Association (SEA), Springfield Public Schools (SPS), and a growing number of community groups, including the United Way of Pioneer Valley, the Davis Foundation and the Pioneer Valley Project, to raise academic achievement for all students while eliminating achievement gaps among Latino/Hispanic, African American and low income students.

In the first year of funding from the NEA Foundation the partnership will focus on six schools, to be selected competitively based on need and readiness to undertake improvement measures. The initiative’s strategies will focus on professional development, parent engagement, and collaboration.

The Center for Education Policy in the UMass Amherst School of Education will provide evaluation services for this project.

Springfield Public Schools Demographics and Achievement Gaps:

Enrollment: 25,726
Student Poverty: 78.5%
Diversity: 76%
Black: 30.5%
Hispanic: 41.1%

  • Graduation rate SPS: 54.4%. (State average rate is 81.2%) 44.9% of Hispanics graduated within their 4-year cohort in 2008 (compared to 58.9% for African Americans and 66.8% for white students).
  • English Language Arts (ELA) test: 34% of district students scored at proficient or above (state average was 64%). 31% of Hispanics scored proficient or above (compared to 40% for African Americans and 55% for white students).
  • Math: 26% of students in the district scored at proficient or above (state average was 55%). 19% of Hispanics scored proficient or above (compared to 25% for African Americans and 43% for white students).

Springfield Collaboration for Change (SCC) is a partnership between Springfield Education Association (SEA), Springfield Public Schools (SPS), and a growing number of community groups, including the United Way of Pioneer Valley, the Davis Foundation and the Pioneer Valley Project, to raise academic achievement for all students while eliminating achievement gaps among Latino/Hispanic, African American and low income students.

Key Strategies:

Professional Development: District professional development offerings will respond to curricular and instructional needs of teachers, and will also include training on collaborative decision making for the school level teams, distributive leadership skills for principals, and meeting facilitation skills for teachers.

Professional Learning Communities: Participating schools will partner with their respective two-member coaching teams (retired principal, retired master teacher) to plan and execute innovations in a professional learning community. The professional learning community model will be adapted to include not only student performance and growth data, but teacher satisfaction data and perceptions about curriculum, instruction, and leadership.

Instructional Leadership Specialists: Specialists will be placed in each participating school to provide coaching in content, data analysis and classroom management (according to the needs of the teachers as determined by the school team and teachers' self identified needs).

Parent Engagement: A Parent Teacher Home Visit Project will be expanded in all participating schools. Teachers will be trained in relationship building, visit protocols, overcoming assumptions, conducting open discussions with students and families, and communication skills that will build trust. They will conduct two yearly homes visits, for at least one hour per meeting.

About the NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is an independent public charity created in 1969 and sustained by contributions from educators, corporate sponsors, and other supporters of public education. The Foundation offers grants and programs that support educators' efforts to close the achievement gaps, increase classroom innovations, provide professional development, and salute excellence in education. For more information, visit neafoundation.org.

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Page last updated:  Monday, August 10, 2020 03:21 pm