Comprehensive School Reform


Findings from the First Implementation Year

December, 2003
Janet Quint, D. Crystal Byndloss

Based on survey data and findings from interviews and observations, this report describes the First Things First reform initiative and its first year of implementation at seven secondary schools, with a focus on three key components: small learning communities, a family advocacy system, and instructional improvement strategies.


Lessons from Research on Three Reform Models

May, 2006
Janet Quint

Recent MDRC evaluations of three high school reform models — Career Academies, First Things First, and Talent Development — offer hope that comprehensive programs can improve low-performing high schools. This research synthesis for policymakers and practitioners offers practical lessons for creating personalized learning environments, helping struggling freshmen, improving instruction, preparing students for the world beyond high school, and stimulating change in overstressed high schools.


Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model

May, 2005
James J. Kemple, Corinne Herlihy, Thomas J. Smith

Talent Development, a high school reform initiative, produced substantial positive effects on attendance, academic course credits earned, tenth-grade promotion, and algebra pass rates for students in very low-performing schools in Philadelphia.


Creating the Conditions and Capacity for Community-Wide Reform in an Urban School District

November, 2002
Michelle Alberti Gambone, Adena M. Klem, William P. Moore, Jean Ann Summers

Take a look inside the Kansas City, Kansas (KCK) public schools and you will find challenges facing any urban district: insufficient funding, large numbers of at-risk students, declining enrollment and teacher shortages. You will also see teachers working in teams and staying with their students for more than one year, lower ratios of students to teachers in key classes and extra time built into the day for professional development.