The effectiveness of an additional day school year intersession calendar program in an urban school district in Texas
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This study examined Additional Day School Year Intersession Calendar Program (ADSY ICP) effectiveness and its student outcomes for students in Grades 3 through 8 in an urban school district in Texas. This study evaluated the structures and processes of the ADSY ICP and provided evidence to support or oppose implementing an intersession calendar for all student populations. Specifically, the study evaluated the program’s impact on student achievement as measured by STAAR among low-socioeconomic status (SES) students. Three research questions were answered: (a) Does the ADSY ICP meet the goal of closing the achievement gap for low-SES students in Grades 3 through 8? (b) How has the implementation of ADSY ICP been consistent? (c) What are the educators’ perceptions of the ADSY ICP and its effectiveness? The design of the program review incorporated an explanatory sequential mixed-methods approach. In the first quantitative phase of the study, TEA data (e.g., STAAR results) were collected from a district that implemented an ADSY ICP to assess the effectiveness of the program in closing the student achievement gap. The second phase included qualitative data to help explain the quantitative results. This qualitative phase explored the implementation process of the ADSY ICP in an urban school district to analyze its impact on student outcomes, specifically low-SES students. The first research question showed that the gaps were closed based on attendance and SES status for Grades 3 through 5 in reading and Grades 6 through 8 in mathematics. However, the two null hypotheses for elementary students in mathematics and middle school students in reading lacked evidence to suggest that intersession helps close the student achievement gap. For the second and third research questions, each question was answered by six themes of (a) effective communication, (b) intentional planning, (c) use of data, (d) at-risk students, (e) accountability and compliance, and (e) challenges affect effectiveness. The proper implementation of ADSY ICP can effectively provide support to at-risk students, contingent on the fidelity of the program and the competence of the principals and teachers delivering appropriate instruction. Therefore, districts should ensure the development of principals’ leadership skills and train teachers to have the skills for closing the gaps that affect students of economic disadvantage. It is imperative to recognize that the success of all students, particularly those at-risk or economically disadvantaged, is contingent on this focus.