Barr Foundation Knowledge Center

This collection includes publications and resources from our partners and in our program areas, both current and legacy. These resources are completely free to access and download. Most of these works were funded by the Barr Foundation. We may occasionally feature items relevant to our program areas which were not funded by Barr. Please be aware that views expressed are not necessarily those of the Barr Foundation. We encourage you to search our collection and suggest potential content to include (use "Suggest an Addition"). For questions or assistance, please contact feedback@barrfoundation.org.
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Featured

The Arts Advantage: Impacts of Arts Education on Boston Students

May 7, 2021

Launched in 2009, BPS Arts Expansion, the public-private partnership led by the Boston Public Schools Visual and Performing Arts Department and EdVestors, brings together local foundations, the school district, arts organizations, higher education institutions, and the Mayor's Office to focus on a coherent, sustainable approach to quality arts education for all BPS students. This collaboration of local leaders along with students, families, and school staff, has enabled Boston to emerge as a national leader among urban districts working to expand arts education.The purpose of this study is to examine how access to arts education in BPS influences education outcomes pertaining to student social emotional and academic outcomes as well as parent and teacher perspectives regarding school climate. This research strengthens the case for quality arts education for every student, finding significant evidence increases in arts education lead to improvements on a range of indicators of student and parent school engagement.

Arts - Public Support
Featured

Distance and Disruption: Listening to Massachusetts Students During COVID-19

February 1, 2021

Analyses of testing data from fall 2020 indicate the transition to remote learning has resulted in significant learning loss, particularly among low-income and minority students. Using data from the online learning platform Zearn, economists at the Harvard Opportunity Insights project found large losses in math learning for low-income students, whereas students from affluent backgrounds saw gains. This has exacerbated fears that the pandemic is widening the already large achievement gap between students from different income and racial/ethnic groups. The COVID-19 crisis has also had a worrisome impact on students' emotional health — particularly among full-time remote learners, for whom supportive networks of teachers and friends have been disrupted.Findings from the Distance and Disruption study correspond with those of a separate survey of 1,549 Massachusetts parents with school-aged children conducted in October and November 2020. That study found significant gaps by income and racial/ethnic group in access to in-person schooling, and parents of children in remote-learning situations — particularly hybrid in-person/remote arrangements — were more likely to feel their child was falling behind grade level.The Distance and Disruption study further adds to our understanding of the transfer to remote learning by exploring students' perspectives on specific differences in the quality of learning experiences between the in-school and at-home environments. Such differences are a critical link in explaining why remote-learning students are more likely to experience negative outcomes.

Education - Public Will
Featured

MIRRORS FOR LATINX STUDENTS: Attracting and Retaining Latinx Teachers in Massachusetts

January 30, 2020

From national test scores to graduation rates, we have reason to be proud of the progress we have made over the past decade.1 During that same time, it has become clear that Latinos have played, and will continue to play, a larger role in the Commonwealth's future. Latinos are expected to comprise 15 percent of the population of Massachusetts by 2035 – growth fueled primarily by in-state births rather than immigration.2 It is critical, then, that Massachusetts' workforce, at every level, reflect our population. This work begins now, in the classroom. Investing in a strong education system that meets the needs of Latinos and other students of color, as well as students from low-income backgrounds, is an investment in the workforce of the future.

Education - Invest in Educators

What Do Students Have to Say about Learning and School During COVID-19?

July 30, 2021

In fall 2020, the Barr Foundation offered high schools the opportunity to hear firsthand from their stakeholders about the teaching and learning experience within the unprecedented educational environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten schools across New England opted to take advantage of this opportunity, partnering with YouthTruth to administer surveys to students (and in some cases, to staff and families), to gather information and insights about how they were faring nearly a semester into the 2020-21 school year.

Indicators of School Quality

June 1, 2021

This document provides a framework, including a set of definitions for each of the components of the seven indicators of school quality in practice. The framework, which is a living document, is intended to help guide educators who are designing and operating school models that will achieve a community's shared vision of student success. Positive youth development and educational equity—which should underpin all systems,structures, and practices in a school—are named across all seven indicators because these must exist holistically in order to create learning environments where all students thrive.

Education - New Models

Study of the Engage New England Initiative Cross-Site Learning Brief 3: Improving Instructional Systems

December 1, 2020

SRI Education, the research partner for the Barr Engage New England (ENE) initiative, captured the ENE school and program grantees' learnings about improving instructional systems through interviews of school leaders, school staff members, and external partners; student focus groups; and staff surveys during the 2019-20 school year. This brief describes common facilitators and challenges experienced by grantees as they worked to further their instructional systems. It also provides some promising practices that grantees used to support these efforts or to address challenges.

Education - New Models

How much learning was lost? A survey of K-12 Parents in Massachusetts

July 1, 2020

These results are based on a survey of 1,502 parents of K-12 students in Massachusetts. Live telephone interviews and online interviewing were conducted in English and Spanish June 4-19, 2020. Telephone respondents were reached by both landline and cell phone. Oversamples of Black, Latino, and Asian American respondents were obtained to bring the total interview count up to at least 250 for each group. Results within race and ethnicity were weighted to age, gender, and education level for each group. Groups were then combined and weighted to the population parameters by race for the state as a whole.

Education - Public Will

Making Education Everyone’s Business: Three Studies of Successful Education Advocacy

May 27, 2020

Despite the long history of overlap between the education and business sectors, however, relatively little research has examined how business organizations successfully advocate on behalf of education policy priorities. This paper seeks to do just that. It profiles three business advocacy organizations (see Table 1) that have recently supported successful education legislation, with the goal of surfacing lessons that are broadly applicable to other business advocacy organizations interested in pursuing education advocacy work on behalf of students' long-term economic success.

Education - Public Will

For Your Own Use: Teacher Leadership Frameworks

January 31, 2020

As part of Education First's research into teacher leadership nationally and within Massachusetts, Education First developed this framework as one way to look at the teacher leadership roles and opportunities and the pathways between them.  Please note: This does not represent a comprehensive view of every role and opportunity available to teacher leaders in Massachusetts, and captures only a snapshot in time.

Teacher Leadership in Massachusetts: Roles, Opportunities and Gaps

November 1, 2019

At the request of the Barr Foundation, and with their support, Education First researched the teacher leadership landscape in Massachusetts.The goals of this research were to: understand the breadth of existing programs and opportunities available to Massachusetts teacher leaders, identify where and how these opportunities link together to create pathways for teacher leaders, and pinpoint gaps in the current ecosystem.Process: This research was informed by a review of the national research on teacher leadership, interviews with local and national leaders, and focus groups with Massachusetts leaders.This document is a summary of that research, and includes one potential framework to think about pathways for teacher leaders. It does not represent a comprehensive view of every role and opportunity available to teacher leaders in Massachusetts, and captures only a snapshot in time. The tools in this document can be used in whatever ways are most helpful to those in the field.

Lovelyn Marques-Prueher: An agent of change, both in and out of the classroom

November 1, 2019

An article published by Education First on the importance of teacher leadership.

Education - Invest in Educators

Rachel Estariz: Leading through professional learning

November 1, 2019

An article published by Education First on the importance of teach leadership.

Education - Invest in Educators

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