Please explain why a .5 evaluation specialist must be added to the Office of Shared Accountability to conduct a study of the Kennedy Cluster Project as opposed to having this study performed with existing staffing?
BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 6-6
The Kennedy Cluster Project’s Multi-Agency Team began operating in September, 2009, and has met twice a month during the ten-month school year. The team has worked on an average of 12 cases per month, for a total of 600 cases during the last five years. While an observational study has been conducted pro bono by a retired Office of Shared Accountability (OSA) staffer, members of the County Council and some members of the Board of Education have been asking for quantitative information that shows the Kennedy Project is making a positive difference for the students it serves. Without a thorough quantitative study, it is difficult to justify continued funding of this project.
A quantitative study will be difficult and time consuming because each individual student’s file will have to be reviewed in detail, reviewing academic achievement, attendance, and disciplinary records. A researcher also will have to work with county and state agencies that are partners with the school system in the Kennedy Project, looking at what services families are receiving from different agencies and making judgments regarding the effectiveness of those services. Since the focus of the Multi-Agency team is not to work with the individual student referred by a school but rather with that student’s family, a researcher also will need to examine the records of other children in a referred student’s household. To be referred, a student must be enrolled in one of the seven project schools. However, with choice programs at both the middle and high school levels within the Down-County Consortium, a referred student is likely to have siblings at other schools outside the Kennedy Cluster. Thus, the effects of the Kennedy Project extend throughout the down-county area. To date, OSA has not had sufficient resources to dedicate a researcher for this work.
If the Superintendent’s budget proposal is adopted and the Kennedy Project expands into the seven schools in the Watkins Mill Cluster, the number of families being served through this model will increase, and the work of a researcher will become more demanding. If and when the workload diminishes, a review will be done to determine if the position continues to be needed.