Each day, our team is in the field and on the ground, providing direct service, technical assistance, and civic engagement activities leading to policy and practice shifts in public education. The following is a "day in the life" snapshot of our work in our schools and communities.
We enhance teaching and learning
Early Warning Response System
Research conducted by the Philadelphia Education Fund (Ed Fund) and Johns Hopkins University shows that students at risk of dropping out can be identified as early as sixth grade. The study followed 13,000 Philadelphia public school students from their sixth grade year in 1996-97 through 2003-04 -- a year past expected high school graduation. The research showed that, as early as sixth grade, students with any one of the following "Early Warning Indicators": 1) low attendance (less than 80 percent), 2) poor behavior (three or more negative behavior marks, now defined as suspensions), and 3) course failure in math or English – had only a 21% percent chance of graduating high school.
The Ed Fund has taken the learnings from our last ten years of in-school work related to addressing the findings of our seminal research on EWIs and developed a practice to help 18 schools build their own Early Warning System (EWS). EWS is a systematic approach to addressing EWIs that is sustainable, scalable and more cost-efficient per school than other approaches.
The EWS model builds capacity in understaffed schools to access, use, and interpret data to inform instruction, drive interventions, and leverage existing resources to improve student outcomes. The Ed Fund EWS team facilitates EWS implementation by assisting schools in performing five objectives:
1) school-wide needs assessment to inform a plan to enhance school level data inquiry processes so staff members can effectively align actions to assist students in staying on track to graduation,
2) mapping resources to identify existing interventions and approaches at schools to address EWIs,
3) establishing data protocol and educating teachers about data analytics and working collaboratively with them on how to best use EWIs to improve instruction;
4) EWS meeting facilitation to drive the coherent operation of each component of EWS; and
5) targeted professional development and technical assistance.
The successful execution of these EWS objectives will be three-fold, leading to positive and active data culture in schools, more students on-track to graduation, and schools more fully resourced to support students with EWIs.
The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey is not only a funder of EWS, but also an important partner in marshalling neighborhood resources for the 18 EWS schools as well as identifying volunteer engagement opportunities and corporate support.
We assist students to access and succeed in postsecondary education
Middle grades and high school students in 5 Philadelphia public schools are receiving support from the College Access Program.
> Learn more about College Access
Nearly 300 Philadelphia public school youth are studying at colleges and universities across the country with a Philadelphia Scholars "Last Dollar" scholarship.
> Learn more about Philadelphia Scholars
We convene and engage public education stakeholders
We host a monthly forum for education stakeholders that explores school reform issues and lends a critical perspective to the School District of Philadelphia.
> Learn more about the Education First Compact