Improvement Efforts Underway
Applying Our Ideas
At Fresno C2C our goal is the consistent and meaningful improvement of educational outcomes for all of the children in Fresno County. Poverty cannot be a barrier to success. Race and ethnicity cannot define opportunity. We have to ensure that every child in our community has a real chance to live a life of well-being, regardless of race or the level of their parent’s income.
To accomplish this goal C2C is working to develop a culture of continuous improvement and collaborative action through a number of pilots and projects. These are our working concepts:
- We place a priority on solving problems together-we can do more together than the best of us can do by themselves.
- We move from general ideas about what might work to thinking about specifics:
- What specifically is the problem we want to solve?
- What change idea might we introduce and why?
- We understand that this is an iterative process-change ideas are detailed, tested and refined against evidence in a continuous cycle (Plan-Do-Study-Act).
- It is essential that multiple levels of data are shared and linked.
PILOT: Kindergarten Attendance Matters
Target: Third Grade Reading
Research by Attendance Works shows kindergarten attendance affects reading proficiency
- If children are chronically absent in kindergarten, only 41% read at grade-level in 3rd grade
- If children are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade, only 17% read at grade-level in 3rd grade
- Locally, the Fresno USD kindergarten chronic absence rate was 21.07% in FY 16-17 (35 of 62 schools ranged from 20% – 35% kindergartners chronically absent)
- Chronic absence is missing more than 10% of school days, excused or unexcused
Because local kindergarten chronic absence rates are high and attendance is not usually addressed during parent orientation for kinder students, this Fresno C2C workgroup is conducting an improvement pilot to determine if a kinder readiness orientation on attendance with parents reduces chronic absenteeism.
Orientations were conducted in a large group setting and in one-on-one or small groups at two high Latino population schools with high poverty rates. In either scenario, chronic absenteeism was significantly reduced with greatest impact in the small group setting. One phone call intervention to those chronically absent was held in January at Slater Elementary School in Fresno USD, which kept chronic absence from beginning to increase.
The second expanded pilot began in August 2017 with seven schools in Fresno Unified participating, including the original two schools. The first pilot students will be tracked in first grade for attendance and then reading scores at year end. Initial results from the seven schools are trending to repeat the positive outcomes from the addition of the Attendance Orientation to parents.
Initial takeaways from the pilot:
- Kinder parent orientation continues to show positive effects on chronic attendance.
- Small groups show better results than large.
- Parent feedback is positive, especially for first-timers.
- The small amount of teacher feedback obtained is positive.
- Results as to whether kinder orientation on attendance positively impacts first grade without additional investment is mixed to date and not yet known.
- The workgroup intends to track the first cohort through 3rd grade SBAC scores.
Source: Improvement pilot data results provided by Fresno C2C workgroup, 2016-17
PROJECT: Talk, Read, Sing
Target: Kindergarten Readiness
“Talk, Read, Sing” (TRS) is a national public awareness and action campaign through Too Small to Fail. TRS helps parents recognize their power to boost their infant to age 5 children’s early brain and vocabulary development through simple, everyday actions – like describing things while walking outside or singing songs together during bath time. The C2C Talk, Read, Sing workgroup includes members from Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Valley Children’s Healthcare, Fowler Unified, Fresno County Library, Clinica Sierra Vista, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC), Fresno County Public Health-Maternal Child Health, EPU Children’s Center, CalViva Health, Fresno Housing Authority, Comprehensive Youth Services and Kings Canyon Unified.
In the past year, a total of 103 people in 12 organizations received overview training from Too Small to Fail and C2C. The workgroup has now begun conducting a series of train the trainer sessions. The Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission special nutrition program (EOC-WIC) received a training specific to their needs and they have become a valuable partner in expanding TRS. EOC-WIC nutrition specialists share with parents the importance of healthy food and the importance of talking, reading and singing to their kids. The parents receive specific ideas and examples using C2C-developed cue cards as reinforcement. Data also showed that parents did not realize how early they need to begin interaction with their infants and toddlers. TRS has been so well received that Fresno EOC is embedding TRS training across their five WIC sites. United Health Centers WIC is poised to incorporate TRS messages in their nutrition education lesson plans, which will be used across their 14 sites.
Order feature for training materials coming soon…
Target: 3rd Grade Reading
Third grade reading proficiency is a priority for Fresno C2C as children who cannot see properly cannot learn to read. This year, with Fresno C2C communications and fundraising support, the vision screening program launched by The Children’s Movement in 2014 became a fully branded community resource-See2Succeed. The mobile optometry unit visits a different school site each week using Tzu Chi’s Mobile Clinic volunteer resources and van. Children receive a complete eye exam and if needed a pair of glasses, all free of charge. For these children—many able to see clearly for the first time—grade-level reading is now possible.
One pair of glasses can change a child’s entire academic future.
- 15 school districts participating
- 10,000 children prescreened
- 1,000 pairs of glasses made
Expansion of this program has been made possible through a generous donation from the Fansler Foundation.
PILOT: Rime Magic
Target: 3rd, 5th, 8th Grade Reading
Many students struggle with basic word recognition known as decoding. Rime Magic is a program designed to “crack the code” by helping readers to see the natural segmentation patterns of the written word. Youth Safety Partners, together with Fresno C2C, collaborated with the Fresno County Probation Department to conduct a pilot in Fresno County Juvenile Hall to determine the efficacy of Rime Magic in helping struggling readers in juvenile justice settings who are experiencing significant issues with decoding. The study was conducted for two weeks from July 17 to July 28, 2017 in 5 thirty-minute sessions a week. Each session consisted of Rime Magic and supported reading with a challenging book of high interest to the student. The total time for instruction, if a student had 100 percent attendance over the two-week intervention, was 4.5 hours.
This first pilot included students at the Juvenile Justice Court School. Preliminary results showed improvement from five months to over two years in word recognition. There were also huge breakthroughs for each participant in their attitudes, confidence, and enthusiasm for reading.
A second pilot just underway and extending through school year 2017/18 is being conducted at Malaga Elementary School and Sutter Middle School in Fowler. This pilot will determine the impact of Rime Magic on both early learners in first and second grade in preventing decoding issues from the outset and also on struggling fourth and fifth graders. Fresno C2C is providing technical assistance to both the Juvenile Hall and Fowler pilots by measuring and documenting the efficacy of Rime Magic intervention through systematic collection and analysis of the data.