The Talent Development Middle Grades Model

A Design for Improving Early Adolescents’ Developmental Trajectories in High-Poverty Schools

Authored by: Douglas J. Mac Iver , Allen Ruby , Robert W. Balfanz , Leslie Jones , Fran Sion , Maria Garriott , Vaughan Byrnes

Handbook of Research on Schools, Schooling, and Human Development

Print publication date:  May  2010
Online publication date:  June  2010

Print ISBN: 9780805859485
eBook ISBN: 9780203874844
Adobe ISBN: 9781135283872


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For more than 40 years, the U.S. government has made various attempts to spur improvements in the education received by students living in poverty. For example, the Title I program was started in 1965 to provide a revenue stream for schools serving high percentages of economically disadvantaged students so that the schools might provide targeted compensatory educational services to these students. Evaluations of Title I during the 1970s and 1980s showed only small, short-term program impacts on student achievement except in the rare schools where the targeted educational services for eligible students funded by Title I—such as individual pull-outs—were carefully orchestrated to cohere with and support a regular education program of solid curriculum and instruction (for a review, see Rowan & Guthrie, 1989). Fortunately, important changes in the Title I legislation in 1988 made it possible for high-poverty schools—in which 75% or more of the students are living in poverty—to opt for “school-wide models” of Title I service delivery that blend Title I funds and personnel with the school’s other funds and personnel in order implement whole-school reforms that seek to improve, coordinate, and integrate the school’s compensatory and regular education instructional programs for all students (Rowan, Barnes, & Camburn, 2004). The hope was for high-poverty schools to develop or adopt more comprehensive (and less fragmentary) models for instructional improvement that would stimulate an integrated and strategic set of schoolwide reforms to all key aspects of the school’s educational program including curriculum, instruction, organization, professional development, and parent involvement (Desimone, 2002; Wong & Meyer, 1998).

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