PROJECT OVERVIEW: While hundreds of schools are implementing reform models through the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration (CSRD) program, most implementations do not meet all nine CSRD criteria. There is growing concern that the models being delivered through the CSRD program have not adequately reached isolated, rural schools in poor communities. The purpose of this planning grant is to develop a rigorous research study proposal that will test the effectiveness of a prototype model (the Promising Futures Model-PFM) that meets the criteria for comprehensiveness and is designed to target middle schools located in isolated rural, high-poverty communities. The planning award will allow the partners and collaborators to set the stage for a three-phase, five-year study to test the effects of a fully implemented PFM on teaching and learning in rural, high-poverty middle schools.
As part of this proposal planning effort, an Interdisciplinary Research Team (IRT) will be formed. This team will include scientists and scholars representing diverse disciplines and perspectives, including economists and rural sociologists. A Delivery Team (DT) will be formed to refine the model to be tested and to ensure that the study proposal adequately addresses the complexity of implementing comprehensive school reform in diverse contexts. In addition to the IRT and the DT, an Advisory Committee will be formed to bring additional expertise (e.g., practitioners, national organizations, and stakeholders) to bear on the study proposal.
The objective of the one-year planning grant is to fully develop a study proposal that incorporates a three-phase, five-year study to answer the following research questions: How does the PFM differ in implementation in diverse contexts with different kinds of teachers? Can the PFM be implemented in any rural community with fidelity? What does it cost? Is it affordable in the rural context? Does the PFM significantly raise student achievement in mathematics and science?