Working closely with our partner district, Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD), NCSU is conducting intensive case studies in four high schools to identify how schools enact what research suggests are essential components of effective schools. NCSU used value-added models to identify schools that “beat the odds” for racial minority, English language learners, and low income students. A team of three NCSU researchers will visit each school for three week-long visits throughout the year. In the first two visits, we conducted interviews and focus groups with teachers, students, administrators, academic support personnel, and district leaders. We also observed classroom instruction in English/language arts, mathematics, and science. A third visit was planned later this year, after state testing, to conduct additional interviews and focus groups, and shadow students throughout their day to learn about students’ daily experiences in high school.
The findings from these intensive data collection activities will serve as the foundation of our collaborative design process in the 2012-13 school year, where we will work in partnership with district and school personnel to design an innovation that reflects best practices within the district and can be adapted to meet unique contexts of individual schools.