The Foundations Project
Status Report, June 2007
The following excerpt delineates findings from the Fayette County Public Schools Foundations Project status report regarding student outcomes. The complete report is available as a PDF.
Students will report increased affiliation with school. School records and other data will reflect reductions in classroom disruptions, overall office discipline referrals, and in-school and out-of-school suspensions. Increases in classroom instructional time, student attendance, and student achievement will be noted.
- After 4 years of participation in the Foundations Project, almost 90% of Cohort I schools have Academic Index gains which meet or exceed the district average over the same period.
- After 2 years of participation in the Foundations Project, 67% of Cohort 2 schools have Academic Index gains which meet or exceed the district average over the same period.
- Should the level of training and support continue for Cohort 2 schools to the degree of that for Cohort 1, there is a strong likelihood that Cohort 2 schools will experience the same level of academic achievement gains as Cohort 1 schools.
- After participating in the Foundations Project for four years, Tates Creek High School and Jessie Clark Middle School have made striking reductions in the number of days students are assigned to out-of-school suspension. Other schools in Cohort 1 also experienced some reductions.
- After two years of participation in the Foundations Project, all of the secondary schools in Cohort 2 experienced drops in the days students are suspended. Southern Middle School reduced their days of suspension by 70%.
- Because of significant differences from school to school in the ways in which disciplinary incidents and dispositions (consequences) are classified, suspensions are the only useful metric currently available to measure changes in student behavior incidents. And, because suspensions are rarely used at the elementary level, there exists little useful way to quantify changes in behavior incidents at that level.
Other important outcomes:
- Currently available data indicates that by reducing suspensions, the secondary schools who have participated in the Foundations Project have gained 1,630 instructional days. These days gained represent increased exposure to classroom instruction for students and therefore increased skills acquisition and student achievement.
- While financial costs of a district-wide program like Foundations can be significant, these costs can be offset by considerable dollar savings realized when effective schoolwide discipline systems are in place and when schools have a positive climate. These include:
- Decreasing days of suspension represents significant financial gain to the district by increasing attendance numbers and ADA (average daily attendance) funds.
- Reduced administrative time devoted to office referrals and other disciplinary issues. Conservative estimates suggest it takes an administrator 20 minutes to deal with an office referral. At 20 minutes an incident, a reduction of 500 office referrals per year would yield an additional 10,000 minutes or 166 hours or 20+ days of administrator work time.
- Other possible monetary gains are: fewer students lost to private schools because of perceptions about “unsafe” or undisciplined public schools; a decrease in damages or other monetary payouts stemming from lawsuits related to discipline, bullying, and school culture.
Download a PDF of the complete report.