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The Washington Heights Community Schools Project (CSP) is a joint collaboration of The Children's Aid Society of New York and the NYC Board of Education. Public School 5 and Intermediate School 218 offer an expanded educational day, innovative curricula, on-site dental, mental, and physical health care services, parent and family resource centers, parent classes, college courses for parents, programs for teens, and business and employment programs. Rather than think of their programming as compensatory or preventative, the creators of CSP conceive of it in terms of fostering resilience. That is, as both the school environment, and children and families' personal resources, are strengthened, children are better able to respond to adverse conditions and flourish despite them.

The planning for the evaluation of CSP was funded by the William T. Grant Foundation. The evaluation has process and outcome components. The process study will involve interviews, focus groups, surveys and observations of administrators, teachers, social service providers, parents, and community leaders. The outcome study will use standardized and customized tests and parent/student interviews to assess educational and health outcomes, as well as resiliency traits such as aspirations and self-concept. In order to measure outcomes, the evaluators plan to establish three comparison groups:

Funding Sources

Local school districts may use up to five percent of federal monies that they receive through Title XI of the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) toward coordinating, implementing, and evaluating programs and services. The U.S. Department of Education views these funds as infrastructure money for creating comprehensive services and considers evaluation as an important planning tool. For more information on using Title XI monies for evaluating school-linked services, contact Jeanne Jehl, Executive Director of the Working Group on Comprehensive Services in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education: 202-260-1854. Ask for the Guidance for Title XI.

  • Aggregate: Academic performance of students at PS5 and I218 compared to all city and district schools.
  • Classroom cohort: Academic performance, plus behavior and health outcomes in specific classes in these schools compared to contrast schools. This cohort will involve three matched pairs of classes in grades 6, 4, and Kindergarten which will be tested every other year for 10 years.
  • Longitudinal: Academic, health, behavioral, and “life” outcomes examined in individual children and families over 10 years. A subset of 400 children, chosen from cohorts, will be tested biannually.

Finally, this evaluation will feature the active participation of the target population in both its design and research. The evaluators write that “active participation, advice, and consent from school personnel and parents [is sought] to assure relevance, trust, and commitment long-term.”

For further information, contact:

Rosa Agosto
The Children's Aid Society
212-569-2880

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© 2014 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project