For the 2014-2015 program year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area adapted some new components to our existing Literacy programs. The intent is to serve a broader number of youth across the organization with the intent of monitoring the impact of these programs to demonstrate outcomes that are tied to their school success. The new components involved the implementation of new curriculum and taking on some new strategies that met the needs of a broader scope of youth across the six Club sites, while expanding services to several additional extension sites across the Portland metro region.
The primary addition to the Literacy & Education programs was the addition of Interactive Novel Studies, described below, the addition of this component is a phase 1 approach for the 2014-2015 program year.
Interactive Novel Studies (phase 1)
Youth are divided by grade level reading groups and focus on specific reading curriculum based on novel studies that align with school district’s curriculum. Each curriculum is spead out over 4-6 weeks. In addition to reading the daily materials, staff engage participants in high yield learning activities and hands on projects tat directly relate back to the assigned reading topic. This multi-sensory approach to reading and engagment of participnts in a hands-on experiential learning activities, provides a strong connection to reading assignments and comprehension of the reading material. Youth participate in, and complete a number of staff guided projects to help reinforce and demonstrate their comprehension of the readings, these projects include high yield activities such as:
Projects are designed to be fun and engaging while also encouraging teamwork and the development of independent interests in learning. Reading Curriculum is designated by Program Administration in conjunction with Literacy Staff, so that sets of books can be rotated throughout the individual site locations, creating a consistent agenda of reading materials, curriculum and high yield learning activities that are easily planned and transferred from one site location to another throughout the program year.
The addition of this new curriculum component is a valued resource, but also provides an important connection between Club members learning activities during afterschool hours that keeps them engaged in the same materials that are used in their local schools. The addition of the high yield learning activities which is provided at the Boys & Girls Clubs provides youth a learning environment which is strongly reinforces a childs comprehension of curriculum, and engages them in activities which are directly tied back to the Interactive Novel Studies
At the start of the program year (September of 2013), there were 223 total youth enrolled in the Literacy Intervention program; however by year end there were 190 of the original youth who maintained enrollment as participants. The 33 youth who did not remain in the program were dropped primarily due to families moving outside of the program service area (an issue that is common among the low-income families who are served by the Boys & Girls Clubs, where families tend to be more transient due to employment needs, loss of housing or other family connections).
As participants dropped out of the program, new youth were enrolled; however, these youth were not tracked with the original cohort group that began in the fall, to ensure that the outcome data would not be distorted. At year end, Including the new youth who joined the program late, there were a total of 221 youth enrolled - 190 who had maintained participation through the entire program year and 31 youth who joined mid-year (December 2013) or later.
All 190 youth who were tracked for reading proficiency gains ranged from 1st through 5th grade students. The Literacy Intervention staff utilized DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessments to track and measure the reading proficiency of all participants. The assessments were administered every two months to gauge the progress of youth, with the pre and post test scores for the program year being used to measure participant reading achievement gains. The average documented reading proficiency gain for the 190 youth was 66% at year end. The fact that the entire cohort group achieved 66% median gain demonstrates that the participants clearly exceeded the goal of 40%.
In the coming 2014-2015 program year, which will begin in September 2014, we plan to implement a math intervention component that will help provide opportunity to reinforce math skills among participants. However, at this current time, the final decision on the program implementation has not been completed. We are working in conjunction with five local school districts to receive their input on what this program should be and how to track the outcomes most effectively, while supporting our participant’s in-school time. We do however anticipate being able to report on the outcomes of this academic math program at the close of the next program year.
The 2012-2013 program year, marks the seventh year of Targeted Literacy Intervention Programs being offered at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area (BGCP). This locally developed program was first implemented in 2006, to address a critical educational need among Club members who had been identified as struggling readers and who were failing to reach their grade level benchmarks: a trend that BGCP recognized was also coinciding with a dropout epidemic that had exceeded 50% in Portland Public Schools.
In response to this need, in September 2006, the first afterschool Literacy Center was established at the Meyer Memorial Boys & Girls Club, located in the community of Sellwood. In September 2007, the program was expanded to a second location with the grand opening of the Regence Boys & Girls Club in North Portland. In that same year, an in-school pull-out program was established in partnership with Rosa Parks Elementary School (co-located in the same facility as the Regence Club). In 2009, BGCP further expanded the program through the establishment of Literacy Centers at its remaining four Club facilities located across the Portland metro area; today, these programs remain operational at each of the following Club locations:
The high school dropout rate in the Portland area has been studied at length, and it is clear that there are early predictive factors (as early as elementary grade levels) among youth who fail to stay in school: 1) Students of minority are five times more likely to drop out; 2) Only 40% of students living in poverty graduate; and 3) Youth from single parent homes are almost twice as likely to drop out. These contributing factors are the reality for the majority of youth attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, where nearly 60% of members are minorities, nearly 70% come from low socio-economic circumstances, and one-third of members come from single parent homes. Furthermore, depending upon the disparities found within communities of individual Club sites these statistics rise drastically; for example, in North Portland as many as 85% of Club members served are minorities, 90% of members are from low-come families, and nearly 60% are from single parent homes.
If educators want to shrink the number of students who drop out of high school each year, they must greatly increase the number who can read proficiently by the time they're in fourth grade. Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says that for students who aren't proficient in reading by the time they enter the fourth grade, it's "pretty hard for them to catch up on anything."
Beyond these well documented factors lies another instrumental issue which impacts the academic success of more than 10 million children in this country. According to the National Institute of Health 1 out of 5 youth (20%) are struggling with unique learning traits which impact the development of their reading success. This reality, compounded with the socio-economic factors listed above, is something that is witnessed each and every day among members who attend the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland. The alarming rise in dropout rates is not a coincidence—this crucial issue cannot be ignored.
During the 2012-2013 program year, a total of 266 youth participated in the Targeted Literacy Intervention Programs. Most often, youth are referred into the program because they are not meeting their age appropriate benchmark goals, they have been identified with a unique learning trait, or they are displaying signs of becoming disengaged in the educational process. Youth were enrolled into the program with their parents/caregivers authorization.
Each of the six Literacy Centers were open between the hours of 2:30 pm to 8:00 pm (Monday through Friday). Literacy Instructors developed hour-long lesson plans for small groups of 8 to 12 children, with multiple groups rotating into the Centers throughout the program day. Small groups consisted of youth ranging from 1st through 5th grades and groups were organized to meet both the age and skill appropriateness of participants. For example; a child may be a strong reader, yet struggle with his/her writing skills, and therefore might take part in a grade level reading group, while he/she is assigned to a writing group more appropriate for their skill level. All instruction time is designed to engage the involvement of the child’s visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities, while focusing on the simultaneous teaching of both the phonetic rules and the generalizations of the English language.
Throughout the course of the year, youth participants took part in the Targeted Literacy Intervention programs for an average of 4 hours a week, or for one hour a day during their regular attendance at the Club during afterschool hours. To measure the achievement of youth participants throughout the year, youth took part in regular Oral Reading Fluency testing, using the nationally recognized testing measurement known as DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills). The outcomes of these assessments enable instructors to gauge the needs of youth and their individual development in reading skills.
Based upon scores obtained from the DIBELS assessments given throughout the program year, youth participants demonstrated the following outcomes:
Additionally, we also can observe that among the six Club sites that the following is true:
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area’s ultimate focus is centered upon being a catalyst for societal change; an effort that we clearly understand is not accomplished alone, but in-hand with many local community partners. To this end, during the 2013-2014 program year, BGCP plans to expand the number of youth served through the Targeted Literacy Intervention programs, but additionally is committed to obtaining empirical evidence demonstrating the reading proficiency of Club members by the end of the 3rd grade year. BGCP will accomplish this by administering DIBELS assessments to a minimum of 100 youth per site location (600 youth total) at the start and end of the program year.
The youth who will take part in these assessments will be a cohort (enrolled in grade levels 1st through 3rd grade), yet who are not enrolled in the Targeted Literacy Intervention programs. BGCP will use the outcomes of these assessments to further evaluate the effectiveness of our overall youth development programs on the educational success of Club members by the end of the 3rd grade; compared to their grade-level peers throughout the Portland metro area. This cohort of 600 youth will be evaluated during the fall of 2013 and again in the spring of 2014. The expectation of these assessments will be to demonstrate the impact of reading development upon youth who participate in a structured ongoing youth guidance and development program and the impact upon their reading skill development, compared to the general population.
For the past seven years, the academic outcomes which have resulted in the lives of youth who have participated in the Targeted Literacy Intervention programs have been demonstrated by measurable evidence; however, the impact on the lives of program participants has extended well beyond their educational achievements. Other areas of positive impact that are being witnessed in the lives of youth who take part in these programs are:
The evidence related to outcomes of the Targeted Literacy Intervention Programs is clear and has demonstrated the potential to both support and promote healthy learning development among youth who are recognized as struggling readers. Moreover, there is warrant for continued public and private support and investment in these programs, which is closing the educational gap for low-income children whose families have extremely limited resources available to them.
To ensure the continued effectiveness of the Targeted Literacy Intervention Program, BGCP is committed to ensuring ongoing program development and improvements, through providing the following during the 2013-2014 program year:
Since 2006, BGCP's quest for literacy has constantly remained in the process of deveopling key partnerships and supportive relationships with nationally recognized partners committed to the effort ofproviding academic support to youth struggling with reading and writing development. We believe that this review of the Targeted Literacy Intervention programs being offered by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland provides strong empirical support for the continuation and ongoing development of theseprograms. We hope these outcomes will continue to stimulate the support of caring donors who have shown thei support through Global Giving over the years.
I. Project Summary 2012-2013
Thanks to the leadership of the caring donors, during the current 2012-2013 program year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland (BGCP) have been able to expand the tracking of outcome measurements to include youth participantswithin a wider range of grade levels, adding 1st grade level participants. With the addition of first grade participants in 2012-2013, BGCP is tracking outcomes for a total of 216 elementary aged youth enrolled in 1st through 5th grades at schools spanning 3 counties across the greater Portland metro area.
BBGCP’s Targeted Literacy Intervention program measures the outcomes of youth through a number of measurement tools; one primary measurement tool is DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) used in schools across the county. DIBELS is utilized by BGCP to track the Oral Reading Fluency progress of program participants. Adding first grade participants does present a slight departure in comparison to other grade levels participating in the program. Though BGCP administered DIBELS assessments to the first gradeparticipants at the start of the program year (pre-test), a benchmark expectation for reading proficiency does not exist at the start of the 1st grade, yet this pre-test does provide us a benchmark to measure progress.
What this means is this, though we can establish a benchmark at the start of the program year, because 1st grade students have typically not yet been provided reading instruction (which begins at the first grade level), DIBELS assessments are not typically administered until 4 months into the school year. Therefore, though the following report provides data on first grade benchmarks at the start of the year, this information is only to demonstrate where this group of participants were at the start of the program, and should not be considered comparable an established national benchmark.
BGCP administers DIBELS assessments to participants three times a year, in the fall (October), winter (January/February) and the spring (June) to measure a child’s reading proficiency at appointed periodsduring the program year and to also demonstrate the child’s improvement from start to end of their individual grade level.
The outcomes reported in the remainder of this report include the results of assessments which were performed in October 2012, at the start of the program year, and assessments which were administered to youth in February 2013, which provide mid-year outcomes.
II. PROGRAM DESIGN
During the current 2012-2013 program year, there are a total of 216 youth from six (6) Club site locations who are being tracked for outcome measurements through their participation in Targeted Literacy Interventionprograms which are demonstrated in this mid-year report.
The program currently serves youth enrolled in 1st through 5th grades across six Club sites, which are located in thefollowing three counties: Multnomah County (OR), Washington County (OR) and Clark County (WA):
Literacy instructors develop hour-long lesson plans for small groups of 8 to 12 children, with multiple groups rotating into the Centers throughout the program day. Small groups are organized to meet both the age and skill appropriateness of participants, (a child may be a strong reader, yet struggle with his/her writing skills, and therefore might take part in grade level reading groups, while he/she is assigned to a writing group more appropriate to their skill level). All instruction time is designed to engage the involvement of the child’s Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic modalities, while focusing on the simultaneous teaching of both the phonetic rules and the generalizations of the English language.
The primary instructional method being utilized by the literacy instructors is the Slingerland Multisensory Approach®, which has been utilized in both public and private schools for more than 60 years. The Slingerland Multisensory Approach is not a curriculum, but a teaching method, which is adaptable to any form of academic material.
For beginning readers, instruction begins with the smallest unit of sight, sound, and touch—a single letter. Expanding upon that single unit, children were taught through an approach that strengthens intersensory associations, enabling their strongest channels of learning to reinforce the weaker. From single letters, participants are taught how to associate sounds with their visual counterparts, put letters together to spell words, add suffixes and prefixes, write phrases, and sentences and paragraphs. For children in more advanced groups, instead of working on a weekly spelling list for example, instructors provide them a dictation paragraph, teaching them concurrent practice with punctuation, capitalization, and language mechanics, as well as spelling.
Additionally, each of the Literacy Centers is equipped with up to 10 workstations or laptops with access to multiple on-line education tools. Each of these on-line programs is researched based and has been designed to enhance the academic success of elementary grade students and struggling readers, offering self-paced, interactive, and fun opportunities, which enhance the learning process. The Literacy Centers also offer a variety of academic programs proven to increase engagement in school, promote on-time grade progression and self-sufficiency among members.
Youth participants involved in the after-school programs attend their local Boys & Girls Club an average of 3 to 4 days each week, averaging 4 hours per visit at the Club. During each visit, these youth attend the Literacy Centers to participate in hour-long literacy group sessions, while the remainder of their time at the Club permits them to participate in a number of fun, creative programs, which are designed to keep them productive and engaged, while learning to develop the skills of good citizenship and responsibility. Each participant averages 3 to 4 hours each week involved in after-school targeted literacy programs.
III. OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS ORGANIZATION WIDE
The following information details the combined median scores for all participants from each Club site and by each grade level at pre-testing (October 2012) and at mid-year-testing (February 2013). Additionally it should be noted that the following mid-year scores (though each demonstrate improved reading proficiency by each grade level), represents youth who have been enrolled into the program based upon the need for substitutional instruction,
The need of each of these participants varies from participant to participant as well as by grade level. For example, among all program participants, those enrolled in 4th and 5th grade in the current program demonstrate some of the most identifiable unique learning traits among the youth currently involved in the program, which is clearly demonstrated by the outcome of their oral reading fluency scores compared to their expected mid-year benchmarks demonstrated below. BGCP outcome measurements are not attempting to demonstrate these children are achieving their expected grade level benchmarks, as much as demonstrating their successes.
Based upon scores obtained from the mid-year DIBELS assessments, youth have demonstrated the following outcomes:
Based upon the mid-year outcomes demonstrated in this report, BGCP is confident that final outcomes being reported through the DIBELS data system for the current program year will demonstrate strong achievement gains in the reading development among the total youth who are being served through this program.
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Executive Development Officer