Back To School 2017

At Think Together, a strange thing happens every year one week after we complete our summer learning programs. The new school year begins! As difficult as it may be to embrace early August as “back to school” season, the start of a new school year is always a time to look forward to exciting new opportunities and reflect upon the previous year’s learnings.

We begin this year bolstered by a 9.2% increase in California’s After School Education and Safety (ASES) programs, which brings the ASES funding formula into closer alignment with the rising cost of front line personnel who deserve a living wage for the critically important work they do. Expanded Learning advocates, including Think Together, will continue to seek additional resources to meet the demand of increasing wages over the next several years. We are grateful for your partnership in this endeavor and would not have achieved this success without the support of dozens of superintendents and school board members across the state.

In addition to this legislative victory, Think Together was very proud to have been given the opportunity to expand the services we provide to many of our school district partners, beyond those funded by state and federal after-school grants. Some examples include summer learning programs, STEM classes, middle school sports leagues, and delivering physical education instruction during the school day. But perhaps the broadest expansion of our “auxiliary” services was in the area of academic tutoring after school. As an alternative to Supplemental Education Services (SES), Think Together offered small-group intervention support at five school districts, including Azusa, Duarte, Little Lake City, Mountain View, and Moreno Valley, serving nearly 3,400 students over the 2016-17 school year.

Nearly half of these students were served in the Moreno Valley Unified School District. At each of sixteen elementary schools, Think Together provided three 7-week intervention sessions. During each session, 24 students received 42 hours of instruction, provided by two intervention specialists at a supervision ratio of 1:6. Three middle schools accommodated up to 48 students per session, utilizing four intervention specialists.

In consultation with the school district, Think Together used the “Focused Mathematics Intervention” curriculum and conducted pre- and post-tests with each student, each session. During the second session, conducted in winter/early spring, 2017, a total of 528 students increased their scores by an average of 22.2 points, or a 58% improvement from the beginning of the session to the end. During the third session, conducted in late spring, the same number of students increased their scores by an average of 23.6 points, or a 52% improvement during the session.

The impact did not go unnoticed by teachers, one of whom commented, “We have seen growth for students who were participating in the Auxiliary math tutoring with Think Together on their MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) scores.” Other teachers noted, “I have noticed some students have developed great leadership skills and volunteer to help,” and “I strongly recommend for the kids to continue learning in this math tutoring class which in turn helps them to do better in their academics and other vital areas of life.”

To learn more about this costs and benefits associated with these and other auxiliary programs offered by Think Together, please contact Steven Amick, Executive Director of Policy and Partnerships, at
[email protected]

“I strongly recommend for the kids to continue learning in this math tutoring class which in turn helps them to do better in their academics and other vital areas of life.” Moreno Valley USD Teacher.