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Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas: Implementing High Quality Arts Programming in a National Youth Serving Organization

May 18, 2018

Experiences of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America suggest that large, multidisciplinary youth organizations can establish high-quality arts program.

Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas: Implementing High Quality Arts Programming in a National Youth Serving Organization, Executive Summary

October 1, 2017

Experiences of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America suggest that large, multidisciplinary youth organizations can establish high-quality arts program.

Teacher Perceptions of Small High Schools

December 1, 2008

This research brief uses data from the School District of Philadelphia teacher survey to assess teacher perceptions of small and large neighborhood high schools.

Faith-Based Partnerships from the Perspective of the Schools: An exploratory study of partnership benefits and challenges in Philadelphia District Schools - Executive Summary

July 1, 2008

In the spring of 2008, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) asked Research for Action to conduct an exploratory study of partnerships between faith-based organizations and schools. The goal of the study was to understand the types of supports and benefits schools receive from their faith-based partners as well as the range of outcomes and impacts that result from these partnerships. This study was based on interviews at 23 schools and surveys received from 54% of all SDP schools. The study found that although nearly half (44%) of schools in the sample had a faith-based partner, the remainder were struggling to create or maintain a partnership (27%) or had never attempted to develop a faith-based partnership (29%). Faith-based partnerships in this study also varied in their complexity, ranging from one-time events to partnerships that provided multiple services, such as use of facilities, monetary donations, mentoring, parental engagement and tutoring services. Although principals cited some challenges to their partnership related to time, funding, staffing, and retaining a consistent volunteer base, most principals also reported positive benefits from these partnerships. Principals at most schools with active faith-based partnerships believed these programs helped improve students' motivation, self-esteem, goal setting, and/or conflict resolution skills.

Informing High School Choices: The Progress & Challenges of Small High Schools in Philadelphia

January 22, 2008

In the School District of Philadelphia in 2007-08, almost one third of high school students attend one of the district's 32 small high schools. Of these, 26 have been newly created or significantly changed since 2002. These small schools have a range of admissions criteria with two thirds being selective admission and one third neighborhood high schools. Along with this increase in high school options has been a growing interest in high school choice, with 73% of eighth graders applying to high schools outside their neighborhood in 2006. However, within the School District of Philadelphia, there is only one 'choice'-the neighborhood high school-for the 51% of rising ninth graders who try to exercise choice but are not accepted to any of their preferred choices. For those students who do attend small high schools, our research suggests that this more personalized environment is demonstrating promising outcomes with regard to improved school climate, improved interpersonal relationships between adults and students and student-to-student, and students' perceptions of their school experience. The small high school model is particularly promising for neighborhood high schools where positive relationships may help stem high dropout rates. Among our five case study high schools, the one small neighborhood high school reported great improvements in climate compared to its previous large configuration, although some lingering climate challenges remained. While positive relationships and improved climate create the conditions for learning, principals and teachers at all five case study schools reported that more was needed to develop and maintain a rigorous academic program for all students. They described the need for common faculty planning time to strengthen their academic program and more flexibility and resources to meet the unique staffing and rostering challenges of small high schools.

The Promise and Challenge of Mentoring High-Risk Youth: Findings from the National Faith-Based Initiative

March 30, 2004

This report, the third derived from research out of the National Faith-Based Initiative (NFBI), examines how faith-based organizations designed and implemented mentoring programs for high-risk youth. Focusing on four NFBI sites (in the Bronx and Brooklyn, NY; Baton Rouge, LA; and Philadelphia, PA), the report takes up three key questions: How were the best practices of community-based mentoring programs adapted to address the specific needs of faith-based mentors and high-risk youth? How did the organizations draw on the faith community to recruit volunteers, and who came forward? And finally, how successful were the mentoring relationshipshow long did they last and what potential did they show?

Moving Beyond the Walls: Faith and Justice Partnerships Working for High-Risk Youth

January 13, 2003

This report examines the development of partnerships among faith-based institutions and juvenile justice agencies in a national demonstration intended to provide mentoring, education and employment services to young people at high risk of future criminal behavior. Given the range of servicesand the needs of the young peoplecollaborations are critical to the communities' efforts. The report addresses the following questions: Can small faith-based organizations work together effectively? Can they develop effective partnerships with juvenile justice institutions? What are the benefits and challenges of both types of partnerships?

Community Change for Youth Development in Kansas City

October 30, 2001

Kansas City, Missouri, is one of six sites in Community Change for Youth Development (CCYD), a national demonstration project aiming to increase basic supports and opportunities available to youth aged 12-20. The lead agency is the YMCA of Greater Kansas City; because of its considerable organizational capacity and relationship with funders, the YMCA was successful in operating and expanding CCYD. This report focuses on the benefits of working with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and the challenges faced by the organization in leading a community-based initiative in three urban neighborhoods.