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Anne Arundel County Public Schools Smaller Learning Communities Project Update Fall 2005

Over the summer of 2005, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) received a five-year, $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to continue the work of its Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) program.  The funds support the initiatives begun under the grant since its inception in 2002 and provide a new component, the opportunity to be part of a national study to help the Department of Education evaluate programs that improve the reading skills of 9th grade students who read below grade level.

 The goals of the original grant are and remain:

  • Enhancing Academic Achievement,
  • Increasing Academic Rigor, and
  • Creating a Positive School Climate.

Added to these core goals is the additional activity, participation in a research study.  The research component runs for the first two years of this new funding cycle – the overall project is funded through 2010.  The study is a national research program called Enhanced Reading Opportunities (ERO): Evaluating the impact of Adolescent Literacy Programs in Freshman Academies.  During the study, Anne Arundel’s four participating high schools will implement one of two reading programs chosen by the U.S. Department of Education through a competitive process. Two high schools will implement one of the designated programs, and two high schools will implement the other.  The four participating schools are Arundel, Glen Burnie, Meade, and Old Mill Senior High Schools. 


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A team of evaluators from American Institutes for Research based in Washington, DC and MDRC, formerly known as the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, of New York will use data from these models to conduct research on how to effectively support students at the secondary school level.  In all, 34 high schools from eight U.S. school districts are participating in the ERO study.

What does this mean for ninth grade students?

For two years, beginning in the fall of 2005, Meade and Old Mill high schools will participate in the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning’s Strategic Instruction Model.  Arundel and Glen Burnie high schools will participate in WestEd’s Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy program.  Both programs were developed using scientifically-based reading research principles, and both show gains in student reading skills.

For further information about the Enhanced Reading Opportunities study, please see:

Enhanced Reading Opportunities: Evaluating the Impact of Adolescent Literacy Programs in Freshman Academies

For more information, contact:

Ms. Lise Foran
Project Manager

Smaller Learning Communities Project
Anne Arundel County
Public Schools
2644 Riva Road
Annapolis Md. 21401

Telephone: 410-222-5491/410-674-7710