CLASS Districts Show Noteworthy Student Achievement Gains, Sherwood and Tillamook Show At Least Double the Gains of Comparator Districts

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On state math and reading assessments since the implementation of the CLASS Project, Sherwood and Tillamook school districts have shown at least double the growth of comparator districts in the number of students meeting or exceeding benchmarks in the secondary grades. The CLASS Project provides districts with a framework to integrate expanded career paths, effective performance evaluations, relevant professional development and new compensation models.

Since the implementation of the CLASS Project, Sherwood and Tillamook school districts have shown at least double the growth of comparator districts in the number of students meeting or exceeding the benchmark on state reading and math assessments in the secondary grades. Based on Oregon Department of Education data, other noteworthy gains include:

  • The share of Tillamook students meeting or exceeding the state math benchmark has increased nearly three times the increase for the state as a whole and 3.5 times the increase for a group of demographically similar comparison districts.
  • The increase in Tillamook students meeting or exceeding the reading benchmark was nearly as strong, and again nearly three times the increase for the state and more than four times the increase for the comparison districts.
  • Math and reading gains in Sherwood exceeded comparator district gains. Sherwood math gains also exceeded state-level gains.
  • In the 2009-10 school year, Sherwood students met or exceeded the state benchmark in math and reading at higher rates than the statewide average in every grade tested. Sherwood's meet/exceed rates were between six and 17 percentage points higher than the state average, depending on grade and subject.

Educators in Sherwood and Tillamook have also expressed increased satisfaction in their districts' professional development offerings and overall changes in district culture. They are also expressing a feeling of increased ownership and involvement in improvement plans. The following data comes from polling conducted by Portland State University:

  • 63% of teachers polled in Tillamook agree or strongly agree that as a result of the CLASS Project, teachers in their schools are actively changing and improving their professional practice.
  • 61% of teachers polled in Sherwood agree or strongly agree that as a result of the CLASS Project, teachers in their school have more conversations about teaching and learning.
  • In Sherwood, 82% of teachers feel that there is a high degree of vision for school improvement.

"These CLASS districts are demonstrating what is possible through meaningful conversations about professional practice and the re-structuring of systems to better meet the needs of teachers and students. Educators in these districts are creating more opportunities for leadership, reflecting more on their practice, spending more time collaborating with colleagues and they are seeing great student outcomes," said Sue Hildick, Chalkboard Project President.

The CLASS Project integrates expanded career paths, effective performance evaluations, relevant professional development and new compensation models. Districts create local designs through the collaborative efforts of teachers, administrators, union representatives, classified staff and school board members. There are twelve districts now participating in the CLASS Project: Bend-La Pine, Crook County, Forest Grove, High Desert ESD, Lebanon, Oregon City, Redmond, Salem-Keizer, Sherwood, Sisters, Tillamook, and Vernonia.

A new website, http://www.educators4reform.org, describes the CLASS Project and features video from the CLASS district educators leading this work.

"Especially in these difficult financial times, districts have to make strategic decisions about how money is being spent. Long-term investments in professional development sound like a luxury to many district personnel, but the CLASS districts are clearly demonstrating that such investments pay off," said Dan Jamison, former Sherwood Superintendent and current Chalkboard Project Vice President of Education Policy.

Chalkboard has also applied for $11.3 million dollars in federal funds, through the Teacher Incentive Fund, to support the work of CLASS Project districts. Awards will be announced by the end of September.

"The CLASS Project districts are making the kinds of gains that parents are looking for and our children deserve. Demand for this kind of work continues to grow in districts across Oregon and ultimately every district should have the opportunity to engage in this work." said Sue Hildick, Chalkboard Project President.

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Aimee Craig
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