Classroom, Inc. commits to expand and enhance its original TTHS program this year. The program will serve 1,000 struggling, low-income high school students, who will work with the original TTHS curriculum. The TTHS program will also expand to support an additional 1,000 students, who will work with an added new feature to the program, The Sports Network-2 (TSN-2), a highly innovative digital learning game specifically designed for 9th graders.
Like all Classroom, Inc. programs, the TTHS program has three integrated components: 1) computer simulations (virtual professional workplace environments, i.e. a sports cable network), which are at the heart of Classroom, Inc.'s approach 2) robust print curricula (teacher and student handbooks, student workbooks, and a nonfiction library); and 3) comprehensive professional development and ongoing site support that help teachers effectively use Classroom, Inc.'s curriculum to deliver results. This year, 1,000 students will benefit from the traditional TTHS format.
The additional 1,000 students who will work with TSN-2, a new computer simulation Classroom, Inc. developed this past year as part of a Gates-funded research project, will be exposed to innovative components that directly address the Common Core State Standards and 21st century learning skills. TSN-2's innovative gaming technology and skills application will serve as a blueprint for Classroom, Inc. as it develops a series of new learning programs over the next three years. TSN-2 was piloted last spring, and is now being provided to TTHS students as a bonus feature to our original TTHS program, and as a stand-alone program to 9th grade classes across the country.
The TTHS program requires a strong commitment from participating schools and Classroom, Inc. The school's commitment includes: principal commitment to a summer and/or school year program for the same cohort of students, ensuring strong recruitment and attendance; planning with the principal, key administrators, and teachers to ensure strong implementation with buy-in from key stakeholders; and school focus on helping students make the critical transitions through school. Classroom, Inc.'s commitment includes: joint planning for summer and school year; customization of the program to meet the needs of each school; training and intensive, ongoing customized support for teachers; and providing software, curriculum, technology support, and student assessment.
June and July 2012: Teacher training, site support, and use of summer program by students and teachers
July and August 2012: Collect and analyze summer school data
June, July, and August 2012: Outreach to new schools and districts to recruit new TTHS and TSN-2 partners
August and September 2012: Teacher training for school year program, TSN-2 teacher training
September through May 2012-13: School year use by students and teachers and site support
June and July 2013: Collect and analyze school year data
Research indicates that ninth grade is a socially and academically pivotal time for students, often determining whether they will complete high school, succeed in college, and have productive careers. However, more students fail freshman year than any other high school grade (Wheelock, A., & Miao, J. 2005. The ninth grade bottleneck. The School Administrator). Low-income students often lack access to high quality-educational resources, and outside the classroom, face complex challenges. These factors combine to make it difficult to see the connection between school work and the possibility for future success in the world, and cause them to lose interest, fall behind, and ultimately drop out of school.
To address these issues, in 2011 Classroom, Inc. launched an intensive Transition to High School (TTHS) program for incoming freshmen. TTHS uses Classroom, Inc.'s current high school-age-appropriate curriculum to help struggling students make significant academic gains, avoid summer learning loss, and accelerate their learning. Aside from academic lessons, students learn such 21st century learning skills as proper workplace conduct, business ethics, teamwork, and how their decisions can affect their communities and peers. This year's TTHS program will serve 1,000 students through its traditional workplace-based computer simulations and print curriculum, and will also expand to serve an additional 1,000 students, who will work with Classroom, Inc.'s newest TTHS program, which is a highly-innovative new digital learning game entitled The Sports Network-2. In preparation for the expansion, during spring and summer 2012, Classroom, Inc. conducted extensive outreach to hundreds of NYC public schools and school districts across the country serving low-income students, to secure strong commitments from participants for the summer and school year program.
SEEKING: Classroom, Inc. is seeking financial resources as well as school and district partners to expand its TTHS program. Additional school and district partners will help Classroom, Inc. to reach more struggling incoming freshmen, and financial resources will allow Classroom, Inc. to continue to strengthen and grow its program in the New York City community and in other major urban school districts around the country.
OFFERING: Classroom, Inc. is offering partnerships with public schools, Catholic schools and community-based organizations throughout the five boroughs in New York and with public and parochial schools nationwide. Classroom, Inc. offers summer and school-year TTHS programs to 8th and 9th grade students in disadvantaged urban areas; on average, 75% of the students served receive free or reduced lunch and nearly 90% are from minority backgrounds. Last year, one-third of Classroom, Inc.'s work took place during the summer and the other two-thirds took place during the school year (in about equal proportion during either school-day or extended-day programs).
Classroom, Inc. is offering partnerships with funders, schools and districts who share its commitment to supporting low-income middle and high school students as they make the academic- and socially-vulnerable transition to high school.