WhatWorksSC

Eighth Annual Dick & Tunky Riley WhatWorksSCTM Award for Excellence

A celebration of what works in education

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Columbia, SC
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
12:30 – 2 p.m.

Register to attend here. 

Throughout South Carolina, excellent public school programs are helping our children fulfill their potential—but too often they struggle to grow their impact without adequate funding and support.

 That’s why SC Future Minds is proud to co-host WhatWorksSC with the Riley Institute at Furman University. The annual award celebration and luncheon—October 30, 2018 in Columbia—honors programs that are improving students’ lives and demonstrating capacity for scale.

To become a sponsor, click here! Or email debbie@scfutureminds.org.

About WhatWorksSCTMAward

The Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award is dedicated to the memory of Ann “Tunky” Riley, a devoted teacher and passionate advocate for quality public education for all children. In South Carolina, Tunky Riley worked tirelessly alongside then-Governor Dick Riley to increase funding and support for public education, playing an instrumental role in the passage of South Carolina’s Education Improvement Act, as she garnered grassroots support throughout the state. While first lady, she also created a South Carolina Partnership for Parent Involvement in Education. During Dick Riley’s eight years as United States Secretary of Education, she traveled extensively in support of his initiatives to improve academic standards, to make high-quality education more accessible for lower-income families, and to expand college grant and loan programs. Click here to learn more about the selection process. 

The WhatWorksSC Award seeks to achieve three goals:

  • To identify and reward programs that are demonstrating excellent student outcomes;
  • To learn from high-performing programs across the state;
  • To share best practices and success stories from programs that are implementing student-focused, data-driven changes.

 The WhatWorksSC winner is chosen by a committee of business and education leaders from over 100 entries in The Riley Institute’s clearinghouse of public education programs in SC.

 2018 Finalists

Farm to Belly is a 28-week fresh-produce program at SHARE Head Start Centers in Greenville, SC. Head Start Centers are federally-funded preschools for low-income children ages 3-5. Farm to Belly is a multifaceted program emphasizing moving and learning, growing, cooking and sharing food.

 Charleston County School District Summer Teacher Residency’s goal is to recruit and retain highly effective teachers in high-needs schools. In the summer of 2017 the program was started to provide targeted, enhanced professional learning for novice teachers, promote teacher leadership for master practitioners, and to continue student learning into the summer. The program paired master elementary teachers from schools throughout the district with novice teachers who were about to begin or had recently begun teaching in high-needs schools. 

 SC Coalition for Math and Science  is an advocate/catalyst for constancy and quality in science, technology, and engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in South Carolina with their core expertise being to support teachers and schools.

Past WhatWorksSC Award Winners

2011 – SC Teaching Fellows

The South Carolina Teaching Fellows program was founded in 1999 by the state’s General Assembly and is administered by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) at Winthrop University. According to the CERRA web site, the mission of the program is to “recruit talented high school seniors into the teaching profession and help them develop leadership qualities.” The Teaching Fellows program provides enrichment opportunities for promising future teachers, in addition to making available to these students a forgivable loan of up to $6,000 per year of college. Students must pursue a teaching degree and the loan is forgiven when the Teaching Fellow teaches at a South Carolina school for the duration of time that they received the loan (one year of service for every year they have received funds). In addition, Teaching Fellows participate in advanced enrichment programs at their home institution, professional development during the summer, and are involved in communities and businesses throughout the state. Currently, there are Teaching Fellows enrolled at 11 Universities across South Carolina.

Demographics Target Settings: Any South Carolina high school Target Groups Served: Talented high school seniors interested in pursuing teaching as a profession Schools/Districts Served: Information about the Teaching Fellows program is shared with all 86 school districts through multiple avenues. High school principals and guidance counselors receive information packets, reminder emails from CERRA, and information is shared through their respective professional organizations. Various high school teachers in every school district also receive information about the program and the application process. Last year, CERRA recorded a short video about the program and shared it with all of the districts as well. The video was intended to be played on the school’s morning new show. Teaching Fellows partner with districts and individual schools for various professional development, service, classroom observation, and practice teaching experiences during their college careers. Finally, CERRA provides information about the Teaching Fellows graduates to the personnel directors in all of the SC public school districts. Teaching Fellows self select the district(s) they teach in and can be found working in classrooms all across the state.

Program Resources Annual Cost: Currently funded at $2.9 million Funding Sources: All funds provided through the Education Improvement Act (EIA) of 1984 Staffing Needs: N/A Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: N/A Partner Organizations: CERRA and 11 colleges in South Carolina: Anderson University, Charleston Southern University, College of Charleston, Columbia College, Furman University, Lander University, Newberry College, SC State University, USC Columbia, USC Upstate, and Winthrop University.

Most Recent Data:
Facts and Figures from the 2000-2012 Cohorts (as of March, 2017)

  • A total of 1,651 Teaching Fellows graduated from the Program. This number results in a 77% graduation rate.
  • 70.5% of all graduates (1,164 Fellows) are currently employed in 73 South Carolina public school districts.
  • 57.5% of all graduates (950 Fellows) have satisfied their loan through teaching service; Of these Fellows, 78.2% (743) are still employed in a South Carolina public school district.
  • 25.5% of all graduates (421 Fellows) are currently teaching for loan forgiveness in a South Carolina public school district.

Contact Information: Jenna Hallman, Program Director, Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), hallmanj@cerra.org


2012 – Clemson University Reading Recovery 

Reading Recovery is a highly effective short-term, one-to-one early intervention. The goal of Reading Recovery is to dramatically reduce the number of first-grade students who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write and to reduce the cost of these learners to educational systems. Students served in Reading Recovery meet individually with a specially trained teacher for 30 minutes each day for a period of 12-20 weeks. The goal is to accelerate learning through an individually designed and delivered lesson series that closes the achievement gap so children benefit from regular classroom instruction.
Reading Recovery identifies first graders who score in the bottom 20% in reading ability, and works with all students in that bottom 20% regardless of whether students exhibit low intelligence, low language skills, poor motor coordination, score poorly on readiness measures, are second-language learners, or have already been categorized as learning disabled. Clemson University is the training site for Reading Recovery in South Carolina and works in collaboration with the SC Department of Education to continue effective statewide implementation of the program.

Demographics • Target Settings:
Elementary schools • Target Groups Served: all first graders who score in the bottom 20% in reading ability •
Districts Served: Aiken, Anderson 5, Charleston, Florence 1, Hampton, Horry, Greenville, Greenwood 50, Laurens, Lancaster, Lexington 5, Oconee, Pickens, Richland 1, Richland 2, Spartanburg 1, Sumter, York

Resources • Annual Cost: Teacher salary for 2.5 hours/day • Funding Sources: Clemson’s Reading Recovery Training Center is an official partner with 14 other institutions of higher learning and lead applicant The Ohio State University for a grant — i3: Investing in Innovation Fund, Reading Recovery: Scaling Up What Works. The total grant is worth $54.7 million and includes $45.6 million from the USDE and $9.1 million in private funds. Clemson’s sub-award amount is $2,177,964. As an official partner, Clemson will train 50 new Reading Recovery teachers each year for the five-year life of the grant and will continue expanding its use of technology to support teachers in the field. The Clemson University Reading Recovery Training Center is also supported by a grant from the South Carolina Department of Education. • Staffing Needs: N/A • Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: leveled book collection • Partner Organizations: State Department of Education, participating school districts in South Carolina, Clemson University Training Center for Reading Recovery in South Carolina, The Ohio State University, Reading Recovery Council of North America, International Data Evaluation Center, North America Reading Recovery Trainers’ Group

2015-16 Data
For the 9th year in a row, South Carolina has exceeded the national results! • 224 teachers in 25 school systems in South Carolina taught 1,937 students in Reading Recovery. • 158 schools participated in Reading Recovery and were supported by 19 teacher leaders. • 65% of all children served successfully completed (discontinued) Reading Recovery on or above grade level. This percentage includes the children that moved during the year and did not receive a complete program and those whose programs were cut short by the end of the academic year. • 79% of the children who received a complete intervention were successfully discontinued. These results were accomplished in an average of 15.9 weeks with an average of 63.8 lessons. • 82% of the children in Reading Recovery received free or reduced lunch; 41% of the children were African American; 11% of the children were learning English as a second language. • Reading Recovery teachers serve students in Reading Recovery for 2.5 hours a day. During the larger part of the day, they serve their schools as Title One teachers, reading teachers, special education teachers, ESL teachers, and classroom teachers. • Combined with their other roles, Reading Recovery teachers taught 8,212 students who directly benefited from their expertise and extensive literacy training. Compared to the traditional classroom teacher, the average Reading Recovery teacher teaches 45 students between Reading Recovery and his/her other role. • During the 2016-17 school year, the CUTC has 30 Reading Recovery and 80 classroom teachers enrolled in courses and 8 Teacher Leaders in training.

Contact Information: C.C. Bates, Ph.D., Director, celestb@clemson.edu, 864-656-4506 Kathleen Grant, Program Coordinator, grant5@clemson.edu, 864-656-6149


2013 – Chester Park School of Inquiry

Chester Park Elementary School of Inquiry (CPESI) is a Title I school where 90% of the 435 students receive free or reduced lunch and 34% do not meet expectations on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) test. Designated a high-need school, CPESI was chosen to serve as a Professional Development School (PDS) as part of the Winthrop University-School Partnership Network. This regional Network functions to improve the quality of teachers in high-need districts in upstate South Carolina by providing innovative, collaborative professional development to preservice and inservice teachers. The overarching goal is to work with partner schools to improve student learning. The CPESI Project-Based Learning (PBL) initiative, which began in 2010, has just completed its third year. Student achievement scores on tests aligned with state benchmarks have increased each year during this three year period.
Demographics • Target Settings: Elementary schools
Target Groups Served: All students, with a particular emphasis on students who are at-risk for academic failure
Districts Served: Chester Park Elementary School of Inquiry, Chester County School District, and Winthrop University-School Partnership Network schools in the following counties: Cherokee County, Fairfield County, Lancaster County, and Union County.
CPESI teachers in partnership with Winthrop University Faculty are developing Professional Learning Opportunities that include workshops and an online Project-based Learning Resource Center. CPESI tailors project- based learning programming to meet the needs of students and teachers at these partner schools. The potential also exists for the CPESI Project-based Learning Initiative to impact school districts beyond the partnership network as Winthrop University teacher candidates who participate in the program graduate and share what they have learned with other professionals across South Carolina.

Resources • Annual Cost: Initial implementation requires technology purchases (laptop computers for student use) and substitute teachers to support the professional learning needs of teachers; additionally, materials such as subscriptions to technology resources and project-based learning resources (project boards, experiment materials, etc.) are needed annually. • Funding Sources: Yearly Research and Inquiry Grant (approximately $1562.15) from the Winthrop University-School Partnership Network, school professional development budget. • Staffing Needs: External support for professional learning needs (supplied through the Partnership Network). Funds needed to hire substitute teachers so that participants may attend conferences, conduct workshops, and provide in class support for each other while learning to implement PBL. • Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: Mobile technology (laptops) to help eliminate the digital divide that exists for many children in poverty. Laptops also work best for student engagement in various environments; however, project-based learning can occur through stationery labs or with other media. • Partner Organizations: Winthrop University Faculty in Residence, Chester County School Board, Winthrop University NetSCOPE Research and Inquiry Grant Program, Winthrop University NetSCOPE Partnership Network.

Contact Information Sue Spencer, Winthrop University Faculty in Residence 803.323.2459, spencers@winthrop.edu Dena Dunlap, CPESI Principal 803.581.7282, ddunlap@chester.k12.sc.us


2014 – Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty

The mission of the Francis Marion University Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty is to provide specialized outreach designed to have the greatest potential for breaking the generations-old cycle of school failure in high-poverty schools. Focused on the human capital—the teacher and school leader— the Center provides research-based training that increases the knowledge and skills of those persons who work with under-resourced students. To that end, the Center’s goal is to increase achievement of children of poverty by improving the quality of undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation, providing relevant in-service teacher development opportunities, and equipping educators with knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with families and the community.
Demographics • Target Settings: Urban, suburban, rural
Target Groups Served: Teachers and teacher candidates, school and district leaders, community stakeholders and action agencies, and policymakers.
Districts Served: All SC districts
Project Development: More than 50% of all children in South Carolina live in low-income families, while 27% live in families in poverty and 13% live in extreme poverty. Children of poverty and low income often lack access to key resources that are important for success. They are more likely to fall behind, be assigned to lower ‘tracks’ in education, be retained, be labeled as ‘problem’ students, be absent or drop out, and earn lower scores on standardized tests of knowledge and achievement (Biddle, 2001). Even if children are equal on the generally predictive variables of ethnicity, family structure, and mothers’ education, Marzano (2004) reported that children born in or near poverty are less than half as likely to be successful as their more affluent peers.
Poverty matters, but teachers and schools can matter more. Teacher effectiveness has been identified as the single most important variable in the school-success equation. Marzano’s (1998) meta-analyses indicate that as much as 43% of student’s academic performance can be traced to the quality of the teacher. The most effective teachers require just six months to accomplish the same amount of learning that the least effective teachers accomplish in two years (Hanushek and Rivken, 2006), and Hamre and Pianta (2005) found that, with effective teachers, disadvantaged children learn at the same rate as advantaged learners. In short, teachers matter.
Project Success: The Center’s decade of research provides the theoretical and pedagogical foundation for six Center-identified Standards for Teachers of Children of Poverty based on these themes: Life in Poverty, Language and Literacy, Family/ Community Partnerships, Classroom Management, Curriculum Design/Instruction/ Assessment, and Teachers as Leaders/Learners/Advocates. Delivery of standards-aligned outreach activities focused on 25 specific high-yield and goal-based strategies has been the major focus of Center efforts.

Resources • Annual Cost: 350,000 • Funding Sources: SC Proviso 1A.36 of the SC General Appropriations Act. • Staffing Needs: Additional full time staff member; Stipends for expanded weekend outreach. • Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: Printer for large-scale in-house printing. • Partner Organizations: Invested districts (Berkeley, Clarendon 1, Clarendon 2, Clarendon 3, Darlington, Dillon 3, Dillon 4, Florence 1, Florence 3, Georgetown, Lexington 2, Marion, Richland 1, Richland 2, Williamsburg), Pee Dee Education Center, Richland School District Two Gear-Up Project, Clarendon School District Two Race to the Top, Johns Hopkins University National Network of Partnership Schools, USC College of Education Center for Educational Partnerships, SC ETV, Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement, Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness, RETAIN Center of Excellence for Teacher Retention, Overcoming Obstacles, UNC Pembroke, East Carolina University, Penn (University of Pennsylvania) Center of Educational Leadership, South Carolina First Steps, South Carolina Department of Education.

Contact information: Tammy Pawloski, Ph.D., Director – Francis Marion University 843.661.1475 tpawloski@fmarion.edu


2015 – Teacher Cadet

The Teacher Cadet Program, administered by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), is a highly effective high school recruitment program aimed at attracting the state’s “best and brightest” students to the teaching profession. Its mission is to “encourage academically able students who possess exemplary interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career,” and it provides the opportunity for schools and districts to identify and recruit “homegrown” teachers and educators. Such an approach allows these talented students to return to their communities as education professionals, especially in hard-to-staff or rural areas. Piloted in four South Carolina high schools in 1986-87, the Teacher Cadet Program has grown to include approximately 165 sites that serve an average of 2,500 juniors and seniors annually. Teacher Cadet is a rigorous college level, dual credit accrual, AP-weighted course, and each school site is supported by one of 22 South Carolina teacher education institutions.
Target Settings: Urban, rural, suburban
Target Groups Served: High school juniors and seniors who meet eligibility requirements and are interested in pursuing teaching and/or the education profession and other careers related to children Districts Served: All South Carolina districts
Following the passage of the state’s landmark Education Improvement Act (EIA) in 1984, South Carolina legislators became increasingly concerned about the condition of the state’s teacher supply pool and the shortage of exemplary teachers in public education. The need for a centralized, “homegrown” teacher recruitment effort was recognized, and thus, the Teacher Cadet Program was founded to establish a pipeline of well-qualified potential educators in our state. Since that time, South Carolina’s program has become the national model for pre-collegiate teacher preparation programs and now includes a 38-state network that implements South Carolina’s model. (To see a list of active, national programs or visit the technology hub, visit http://teachercadets.com/schools.aspx).

Resources • Annual Cost: ~$113 per student; Costs for program implementation are waived for all South Carolina public schools • Funding Sources: SC General Assembly via Education Improvement Act (EIA) funds • Staffing Needs: Certified public school teacher who meets the requirements for an adjunct professor based upon college/university accreditation policies • Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: Basic classroom equipment • Partner Organizations: CERRA, Future Educators Association Palmetto State Teachers Association, The South Carolina Education Association, and the following 22 teacher education institutions across SC: http://www.teachercadets.com/ collegepartner/contacts.aspx

Number of Teacher Cadets in South Carolina – 2,995 for the 2017-18 School Year


2016 – Healing Species

With the help of rescued dogs nobody else wanted, Healing Species’ trained instructors provide twelve classroom lessons in compassion/humane education and violence prevention to elementary, middle, and high school students in high poverty, high risk schools, and incarceration facilities, empowering children to speak up and change things for themselves and others. Since 2000, instructors and dogs have helped more than 100,000 students in over 150 schools and sites in South Carolina and in states where our Satellite Chapters operate. Parent classes are offered at each school or site.
Demographics • Target Settings: Low-income urban setting
Target Groups Served: Low-income/impoverished communities, members of minority groups, and elementary, middle, high, and at-risk students
Districts Served: Richland, Orangeburg, Calhoun, Lexington, Dorchester, Berkley, Charleston, Pickens, Greenville
Healing Species was founded following Cheri Brown Thompson’s research during law school with inmates on death row. Cheri wanted to find connections in their social histories to draw similarities on what may lead to incarceration and violence warranting being placed on death row. Her research revealed two stark similarities: each inmate had been abused as a child, and prior to committing their offense inflicted abuse on an animal. Cheri always knew she wanted to impact the cycle of violence and eventually prevent it all together. Based on her research she developed the Healing Species Curriculum aimed at intercepting childhood abuse and neglect through providing strategies to heal and overcome through learning about compassion and through the love of rescued dogs–dogs who have overcome their own histories of abuse and live to tell the tale through giving love to others.

Evaluation: Independent Studies on Healing Species reveal the following outcomes: 1.• Choice making using empathy increase by 42% 2.• General aggression, retaliation aggression, and total aggression combined decrease by 62% 3.• Out of school suspensions decrease by 55% 4. Marijuana Use decreases by 75% 5. Academic performance increases over ALL areas (published in Journal of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice – January 2008).
Evaluation is conducted with the following methods: 1. Data collected through pre/post surveys as well as satisfaction surveys handed out to students, teachers, and school administration 2. Analyzed and compiled through comparison of pre and post data to show overall effectiveness

Resources • Annual Cost: $85,000 • Funding Sources: : Grants, sponsorships, fundraisers, individual donors Staffing needs: Program Coordinators, Instructors, Grant Writers, Part-time Animal Care Assistants • Staffing Needs: n/a • Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: Classroom supplies, dog care supplies, canine transportation to and from sites (doggie van), office supplies, service project/field trip supplies • Partner Organizations: PetHelpers of the Lowcountry, Grove Park Pharmacy, SI Group, AT&T Pioneers, Diamond Dog Food, Parrish Family Foundation, Lipscomb Family Foundation, SC Youth ChalleNGe Academy, Central Carolina Community Foundation, SC Department of Public Safety, Department of Juvenile Justice, South Carolina Department of Corrections, Richland County Discretionary Funds, Mary Seibert Charitable Trust, Doris Day Animal Foundation, Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation


2017 – Make Summer Count

Pupliic Education Partners Greenville’s mission is to collaborate with the community, educators and elected officials to support and strengthen public education and student achievement in Greenville County Schools. MSC, a core initiative in this mission, provides students and families resources and opportunities to encourage reading through the summer.
MSC engages students in summer reading in 2 key ways:
Provide students with books during the summer to build their home libraries, and
Host school-based Family Reading Nights at which families learn techniques and strategies to support their children’s reading over the summer.
Research indicates that during the summer months, elementary school students from low-income backgrounds experience greater reading loss compared to students from middle- and high-income backgrounds (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2001; Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2003; Cooper, Nye, Charlton, Lindsay & Greathouse, 1996; Kim, 2004). Allington and McGill-Franzen (2013) argue that this disparity in access to summer literacy resources results in “poor children typically lose reading proficiency during the summers and more advantaged children show modest reading growth during the same period” (p.ix). This phenomenon can lead to a two- to three-month gap in reading achievement between students from low- and middle-income families that accumulates to a substantial gap in reading achievement by the time students enter high school (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2007)
School districts have attempted to address summer reading loss by providing center-based summer school programs, but this approach is costly and difficult to sustain. In the absence of summer school programs, experts theorize that providing access to books over the summer may address summer reading loss in a more cost effective way (Allington, McGill-Franzen, Camilli, Graff, Zeig, Zmach, & Nowak, 2010). Moreover, strengthening the school and home relationship by encouraging parental support of summer reading is a key component to ensuring that children read during the summer, and that they read in ways that build understanding (Kim & White, 2011). These principles are the foundation of MSC’s goal of providing opportunities for all students to experience rich reading experiences of the summer.

Data on over 8,000 students and over 100 families was analyzed by a third-party vendor to answer our research questions around the impact of Make Summer Count on students and families. Analyses included exploration of prepost student surveys for students in grades 3-5; analyses of MAP reading subtests (goal) and overall scores for students in grades 3 -5; and analyses of book logs for students in grades 1 – 5. Family data was captured from families who attended one of the 25 Family Literacy Nights hosted by GCS and PEP.

Key findings: • MSC students read more books over the summer than the national average. o MSC students read an average of 14.7 books, compared to the national average of 12 books. • The majority of students participating in MSC did not experience the summer reading loss that is typically associated with students in higher-needs schools. o More specifically, 78% of 3rd–5th grade students maintained or increased their reading level from spring to fall 2016. • Students who read more books over the summer were less likely to experience summer reading loss. o Students who read 11 or more books were less likely to experience summer reading loss as defined by moving to a lower MAP performance tier at the end of the summer. • There was a substantial increase in reading stamina, or the time spent reading without taking a break, from spring to fall 2016. o The percent of students who read for one hour or more without stopping increased from 13% to 26%. • Students reported increased confidence in reading after participating in the MSC program. o 82% agreed that they were better readers after the summer. • Families overwhelmingly found the MSC program to be valuable. o 99% agreed that the program contributed to their children reading more books over the summer. o 98% agreed that their children were better readers after the summer. o 100% found Family Reading Nights to be valuable for learning about how to support their children’s reading.

Resources • Annual Cost: $437,410 • Funding Sources: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Greenville Health System, ScanSource, Inc., United Way of Greenville County, John I. Smith Charities, Jolley Foundation, Hollingsworth Funds, Graham Foundation, TD Charitable Foundation, individual donors • Staffing Needs: : PEP staff leads and manages the Make Summer Count program. • Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: Infrastructure/Equipment needed to implement Make Summer Count includes a variety of materials and a team of human resources representing a multi-stakeholder group of community innovators. • Partner Organizations: Greenville County Schools; Scholastic Inc.