Supporting Student Success Through Elev8

Posted February 6, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog supportingstudentsuccessthroughelev8 2017

A nation­al eval­u­a­tion of Elev8 — a com­mu­ni­ty school mod­el being imple­ment­ed in Bal­ti­more, Chica­go, New Mex­i­co and Oak­land — shows the pro­gram has made impor­tant strides since it began in 2008, despite imple­men­ta­tion chal­lenges that have arisen over the years. Accord­ing to the Atlantic Phil­an­thropies (Atlantic), the initiative’s pri­ma­ry fun­der, Elev8 has pro­vid­ed out-of-school-time activ­i­ties and health care ser­vices to thou­sands of stu­dents and families.

Elev8 aims to ensure all stu­dents have the ser­vices they need, with a spe­cial focus on suc­cess­ful tran­si­tions to high school — which research sug­gests is a crit­i­cal turn­ing point in a child’s future aca­d­e­m­ic suc­cess. The mod­el is built upon four core pil­lars of sup­port for both stu­dents and parents:

  • learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that extend beyond the class­room and tra­di­tion­al school year;
  • high-qual­i­ty school-based health ser­vices, includ­ing men­tal health;
  • com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment; and
  • resources for families.

In each loca­tion, Elev8 is host­ed by an orga­ni­za­tion with deep roots in the region that tai­lors imple­men­ta­tion to the spe­cif­ic needs of the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ty. For exam­ple, Human­im is the cur­rent lead of Elev8 Bal­ti­more, which Casey has been fund­ing since 2009.

Elev8 Bal­ti­more part­ners with five local schools to ensure stu­dents are ready to suc­ceed in high school and in life. There is a full-time coor­di­na­tor in each of the schools who works in close part­ner­ship with the prin­ci­pal and along­side the community’s youth-and fam­i­ly-cen­tered pro­grams. To date, Elev8 Bal­ti­more has con­nect­ed over 1,000 stu­dents with qual­i­ty out-of-school time pro­grams and sup­port­ed the con­struc­tion of two school-based health cen­ters that have pro­vid­ed ser­vices to over 30,000 students.

While promis­ing, Atlantic notes dis­crep­an­cies in nation­al out­comes. For exam­ple, the per­cent­age of stu­dents with 10 or few­er absences per school year ranged from 45 to 80 per­cent across the Elev8 sites; between 54 and 81 per­cent of Elev8 stu­dents achieved a GPA of C or bet­ter; and between 79 and 90 per­cent passed all of their core cours­es. The eval­u­a­tion points to sev­er­al fac­tors that may have con­tributed to these irreg­u­lar­i­ties, includ­ing changes among school staff, con­sis­ten­cy over time and oth­er imple­men­ta­tion bar­ri­ers that can occur at each site.

The eval­u­a­tion also high­lights the con­di­tions required for imple­ment­ing a com­mu­ni­ty school mod­el. To ensure suc­cess, it rec­om­mends that local part­ners: 1) build a shared vision for the ini­tia­tive; 2) devel­op strong and effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion mech­a­nisms; 3) ded­i­cate ample resources; and 4) fos­ter authen­tic fam­i­ly and stu­dent engagement.

As part of our com­mit­ment to ensur­ing Baltimore’s chil­dren are healthy and devel­op­ing on track social­ly, emo­tion­al­ly and aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, Casey will con­tin­ue to sup­port Elev8 Baltimore’s efforts in the year ahead.

Read the final report

Learn more about Casey’s work in Baltimore

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