Model Program

First Things First

Institute for Research and Reform in Education
25 South Shore Drive
Toms River, NJ 08753
http://irre.org/ftf/

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Contact Information:
Jim Connell
Director
732.557.0200
jimconnell@irre.org

Program Specification:

Emphasis:

Gender:

Rating:

Prevention
Intervention

Both

Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Elementary
Middle School
High School

Urban
Suburban

School Wide

Ethnicity:

Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities

Description:

First Things First, a framework for school reform, has one goal: to help students at all academic levels gain the skills to succeed in post-secondary education and good jobs. In the process, FTF helps districts and schools meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind. FTF districts and schools commit to: Strengthening relationships among students and adults. Improving engagement, alignment and rigor of teaching and learning in every classroom, every day. Allocating all resources - budget, staff, time and space - to achieve the first two goals. Our partners achieve these changes using three strategies: Small learning communities. The Family Advocate System. Instructional improvement.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Attendance/Truancy, Community Collaboration, Family/Parental Involvement, Professional Development

Starting Date: 1995
Students Served Per Year: Unspecified
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school

School factors

  • School policies and practices

Program promotes the following:

Relationships

  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Clear social norms
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers

Independence

  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards

Optimism

  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

Unspecified

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Federal Agencies
State Agencies
Local/City/County Agencies
School Districts
Foundations

Teachers
Counselors
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Unspecified

Unspecified

Evaluation Information:

An examination of trends in attendance, test scores, and graduation and dropout rates shows improvement between 1998 and 2003. The evaluation examines and describes the extent to which these trends in student outcomes and conditions in schools were related to the implementation of First Things First across the district. Among the major findings: better relationships between students and teachers and among staff; more students feeling engaged in school; higher attendance among middle and high school students; improved test scores on state reading assessment at all levels; improved scores on state math assessments for elementary and middle school students; and more students graduating from high school on time

How evaluation data was collected:
Outside experimental studies
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level

Additional Evaluation Information:
http://www.ydsi.org/ydsi/pdf/KCSExecSummaryRev6A.pdf