MSQI - Middle School Quality Initative
The Need: Research shows that literacy intervention in the middle school years is crucial, and literacy is a leading indicator of high school success. Yet, two-thirds of children living in low income communities enter and exit the middle grades with literacy skills below proficiency. Students failing to exit the eighth grade reading on or above grade level is a factor in youth dropping out of high school or graduating with insufficient literacy skills for college and careers.
The Program: In 2011, the New York City Council’s Middle School Taskforce, in collaboration with the NYC DOE and private funders, launched the MiddleSchoolQuality Initiative (MSQI) as an instructional intervention for improving literacy levels in middle schools in New York City. MSQI literacy coaches use a research-based literacy framework to provide schools with on-site coaching, workshops for teachers and leaders, and structured inter-school site visits. Additionally, partnerships with organizations including New York City Urban Debate League,Urban Word NYC, Lincoln Center Art as Text Partnership and ExpandED Schools provide additional opportunities to schools and students.
The Goal: The goal of MSQI is to ensure that all children entering 9th grade can read on or above grade level and are firmly on the path to high school, college, and career success
The Reach: 108 schools participate in the MSQI program, impacting approximately54,000students.MSQI is focused on increasing equity throughout the system by targeting schools with low-income populations.
The Impact: MSQI schools made significant progress in improving student literacy during the 2014-15school year.On average, MSQI schools saw:
- 2.8point increase in ELA proficiency
- 2 point decrease in students scoring at the lowest level on the State exams in both ELA and math
- Higher 9th grade course pass rates for students who made substantial reading progress in grades 6-8 as measured by the Degrees of Reading Progress (DRP)assessment
MSQI’s Key Initiatives
Parent engagement - Through a number of partnerships and collaborations, MSQI has several key initiatives which have proven to strengthen literacy outcomes for students: Parent Engagement MSQI runs two key parent engagement initiatives in partnership with the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ). TheParentTeacherHomeVisitProject(PTHVP)builds district and school-level capacity to effectively collaborate with families as equal, trusting partners through a culturally responsive model of home visits. Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APPT) is a systemic approach to family engagement focused on student academic goals. These initiatives support schools in integrating their literacy and parent engagement efforts, which accelerates the growth of both.
Expanded Day – MS Extra 19 MSQI schools are currently part of MS Extra, a program created in collaboration with ExpandEd Schools, which extends the school day by 2.5 hours and provides students with small-group literacy tutoring and enrichment activities. MSQI is seeking to build upon what has been learned and engage a new cohort of schools next year.
Summer Literacy Programming - Students from low income communities typically do not read over the summer months because they have much more restricted access to books at home and in their communities.When students’ reading drops off over the summer months, the result is a four-year reading achievement gap between low-income and middle- income families by the time students reach 12th grade. MSQI addresses this problem by providing summer literacy programming such as Summer Sail, a program that digitizes the summer reading process and allows students to conference with teachers online around books they have chosen to read while school is not in session. We are seeking to expand from 300 to 500 participating students.
Debate - MSQI runs a debate league in partnership with the New York City Urban Debate League that provides opportunities for MSQI students to compete in regularSaturday debate tournaments. Individual student and school participation in debate grows each month. Impact of Debate MSQI debaters have greater reading assessment growth than other students in MSQI Analysis showed 35.5% of the MSQI debaters who were ‘below grade level ’had improved to ‘grade level
Words and Verbs - MSQI runs a poetry slam league in partnership with Urban Word NYC and offers a complete poetry and performance curriculum aimed at inspiring student writing, performance, and examining poetry and art. Participating teachers work together at an inter-school training on the curriculum and bring their learnings back to their home school. The program ends in a culminating poetry slam event attended by students and teachers from participating schools across all five boroughs.
MSQI Teaching Fellows - A group of teachers from MSQI schools across all five boroughs participate in an inter-school Lesson Study. Teachers participate in professional development and collaborative planning sessions on Saturdays. Small groups of five teachers complete five cycles throughout the school year of planning, observing, debriefing, and reteaching a lesson. MSQI Teaching Fellows present resources, impact, and key learnings of the process.
Blended Learning Platforms - MSQI provides schools access to a number of resources in the form of collections related to the five pillars. The collections present documents, artifacts, videos, and EdTalks on a variety of topics created by schools for schools. Additionally, the platform allows collaboration through online communities aimed at facilitating discussion around use and strong practice of the collections.