Unique school models and whole school interventions are designed to promote success for all students. EPIC’s work explores the implementation and effectiveness of these school-wide programs.
Evaluation of UNC System Laboratory Schools
The UNC System Laboratory Schools are operated by six UNC System institutions and are set up to serve students who previously attended a low-performing school and/or were previously low-performing themselves. EPIC partners with Public Impact to evaluate the implementation, management, and impact of these laboratory schools. We measure student enrollment, student and family perceptions of school culture and quality, student achievement and engagement outcomes, the integration of educator preparation into laboratory schools, and best practices of laboratory schools. This work is sponsored by the UNC System, with the goal of providing the UNC System and its laboratory schools with evidence to inform improvement. Please contact Kevin Bastian for more information.
Schools that Lead
Schools That Lead (STL) is a legislatively-funded professional development initiative, grounded in a Networked Improvement Communities (NIC) framework. The hallmark of STL’s continuous improvement initiative is the use of improvement science to focus on incremental changes to address identified student learning issues. The shared aim of the NIC is collaborating to increase on-time graduation rates by reducing the percentage of students with research-backed Early Warning Indicators in attendance, behavior, and course performance. Through a contract with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, EPIC conducted an independent mixed-methods evaluation of the utility and impact of the STL professional development model for improving measurable student, teacher, and school-level outcomes. Please contact Julie Marks for more information.
Rethink Education Evaluation
The Rethink Education Program is intended to better prepare schools and districts to deliver remote and blended instruction to prepare for future learning disruptions, support teachers in an online environment, and improve the capacity of families to support their children working remotely. The Rethink Education Program has three components: professional development to prepare teachers to teach in a blended format; content creation to provide high quality remote learning content in grades K-8 including parent support; and targeted support for economically distressed and rural counties to assist these districts to support blended instruction. This evaluation collects data across all components of the program to support continuous improvement within the program and to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in serving teachers, students, and families across the state. Please contact Sarah Fuller or Julie Marks for more information.
High Dosage Tutoring to Support Pandemic Learning Recovery and School Improvement
With support from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and North Carolina Collaboratory, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is partnering with Union County Public Schools to evaluate a new high dosage, full-year, in-school tutoring program. The project employs quantitative methods to estimate program impacts both retrospectively (pre-pandemic) and prospectively (post-pandemic), qualitative methods to study perceptions and implementation, and cost analysis methods to estimate cost-effectiveness ratios. The objectives of this study are to 1) positively affect pandemic learning loss and school reform through successfully implementing high dosage tutoring in nine elementary schools, 2) learn how to implement this tutoring intervention in the most cost effective manner possible (whole grade versus targeted), 3) evaluate the effectiveness of tutoring in each of the schools and overall, 4) understand the staffing and policy tradeoffs between the two approaches (whole grade versus targeted), and 5) inform future practice of high dosage tutoring in Union County, the state of North Carolina, and elsewhere. Please contact Doug Lauen or Rosie Miesner for more information.
Implementation and Impact Evaluation of ESSER-funded Supports for Recurring Low-Performing Schools
In 2020 North Carolina started utilizing a portion of the state’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to continue support for recurring low-performing schools and districts (RLPSD), including hiring district and school leadership coaches and providing professional development (PD) for teachers. Supported by the North Carolina Collaboratory, EPIC is conducting a mixed-methods study to gain insight into the implementation decisions, challenges, and impacts of ESSER III-funded supports to RLPSD. Specifically, we will utilize interviews, focus groups, and surveys with teachers, principals, district administrators, and instructional coaches to examine: 1) How coaching and PD supports are being implemented in RLPDS; 2) the impact of coaching and PD efforts on teachers’ and principals’ turnover decisions and perceptions of their school’s working environment; and 3) the extent coaching and PD efforts affect student outcomes, such as test scores, attendance, probability of graduation, and post-secondary matriculation and degree attainment. Findings will be shared with coaches and facilitators for short-cycle feedback, and triangulated with data around potential impacts on students, teachers, and administrators to help inform decision-making among local and state-level education stakeholders. Please contact Julie Marks for more information.