Category Archives: Evidence Based Model & Improving Schools

Maryland Adequacy Study

Picus Odden & Associates, under subcontract with Augenblick Palaich and Associates, has just completed an Evidence-Based adequacy study for Maryland.  The study includes 12 case studies of improving and high performance schools.

The case studies can be found in the Resources tab of this website.  Chadwick Elementary is a fascinating case of a high poverty, high ELL school performing at very high levels.

EB Document for Vermont’s Judgment Panel

Draft EB Analysis for review by Vermont’s professional judgment panels. To be reviewed on November 10-11th by Vermont’s professional judgment panels. Final report due in January, 2016.

Picus Odden Kentucky Adequacy Study Released

On December 7-8, 2014 the Picus Odden and Associates’ adequacy study prepared for the Kentucky Council for Better Education, a consortium of 168 Kentucky public school districts, was released at the winter conference of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents. Though the study calls for increased funding, Tom Shelton, Chair of CBE and a Kentucky superintendent, said the importance of the study was that, “It is a model of what it takes to have a successful school. This is about improving the investment Kentucky makes in its public schools.” Shelton, and Mike Goetz, senior associate with Picus Odden and Associates who conducted the study, also briefed legislators, the governor and other Kentucky policy makers on December 9.

The study was mentioned in two press articles:


More Rural School Improvement

The Peninsula K-8 School in coastal Maine is another fascinating case of rural school improvement.  A product of multiple district’s consolidating, this new school opened in 2009; about 2/3 of its students qualify for free and reduced price lunch (FRL).

Among other strategies, it has a common reading and math curriculum K-8, organizes teachers into collaborate work groups, and has a “watch” list for any student performing in the bottom half, who first get individual tutoring, then small group tutoring, and then extended day and summer school extra help. Results are especially impressive for the FRL students.

Another Impressive Example of Rural School Improvement

Etna-Dixmont PK-8 School served 256 students in grades PK-8 during the 2013-2014 school year. The school is located in a mid-Maine rural community that has experienced economic decline as mills, a tannery and a large MBNA calling center exited the area over the past decade.

As a result, the unemployment and poverty rates are high.  Sixty-eight percent of students qualify for free or reduced priced lunch, a number that has been on the rise in recent years, even though school enrollments have held steady.

Despite these conditions, student performance has improved dramatically in several subject areas and multiple grade levels.  This case tells how Etna-Dixmont made these impressive performance gains.

Rural School Improvement

Most cases of schools that dramatically improve student performance profile urban or suburban schools.  Central Aroostook Jr High School is located in rural, northern Maine, up close to the Canadian border.  What the school has done is fascinating, and reflects the strategy for improvement that is embedded in the firm’s Evidence-Based adequacy model.

How to Boost Student Learning

Odden’s 2009 book, Ten Strategies for Doubling Student Performance, Corwin Press, provides another articulation of how such resources can be transformed into school improvement strategies that boost student learning and close achievement gaps.

            Our many studies of individual schools in states across the country provide additional examples.  The following are good exemplars:

            Abbottsford Elementary School (Wisconsin)

            Colchester High School (Vermont)

            Monroe Elementary School (Wisconsin)

            Montgomery Elementary School (Vermont)

            White River Elementary School (Vermont)

For additional cases, see Chapter 1 of Allan Odden and Sarah Archibald, Doubling Student Performance …. and finding the resources to do it, Corwin Press (2009).

Applying the Evidenced Based-Model: Maine

Chapter 6 of our April 2013 Maine Study shows how we used our Evidence-Based Model (EB) to assess the adequacy of a Maine’s education funding system.  Our 2010 “Desk Audit” of the Wyoming school funding model, which was initially based on our Evidence -Based model, provides another example of how we use this model to assess and recalibrate a state’s funding system.