October 14, 2013
The goals of The McKnight Foundation's Education and Learning (E&L) Program are "to increase the percentage of students reading at grade level by the end of third grade and to increase access to high quality learning beyond the classroom so that all Minnesota's youth thrive." For this work, McKnight formed strategic partnerships with seven grantee schools in the Twin Cities: * Andersen United Community School, Minneapolis Public Schools * Jefferson Community School , Minneapolis Public Schools * Saint Paul Music Academy, Saint Paul Public Schools * Wellstone Elementary School, Saint Paul Public Schools * Earle Brown Elementary School, Brooklyn Center Community Schools * Academia Cesar Chavez, independent charter school * Community of Peace Academy, independent charter school Each school is focused on dramatically improving results for readers across the PreK-3 continuum. The schools first received a one-year planning grant before submitting a three-year proposal to implement their plans to improve PreK -- 3 literacy outcomes. All seven schools are now in the implementation phase. The McKnight Foundation hired SRI International (SRI) and the Center for Applied Research and Education Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota to evaluate the E&L Program in the grantee schools. The evaluation included only the grantee schools from Minneapolis Public Schools, Saint Paul Public Schools, and Brooklyn Center Community Schools. The charter school grantees are not included in the evaluation. The key purposes of the evaluation are (1) to inform internal stakeholders of the successes and challenges of the work as it is under way so that adjustments can be made and (2) to share lessons learned from implementation with others working to improve the PreK -- 3 continuum and literacy outcomes for students. The evaluation team is collecting and analyzing data on teacher practice and on children's early literacy skills and third-grade reading achievement to assess improvements associated with the initiative.