Snapshots of Success
Across program types, THINK Together works diligently to support the goals of the instructional day, which includes providing academic support that aligns with targeted content standards. Internal and external analyses have demonstrated that in districts where THINK has the strongest partnerships with local schools, participants demonstrate notable, and in some cases significant, academic gains.
THINK Together is working with our school district partners to close the achievement gap. In April 2011, Education Trust-West published A Report Card on District Achievement. Four of the leading school districts in California that are successful in closing the achievement gap are current THINK Together partners. THINK Together programs are an integral part of the success equation for students.
Education Trust-West named the district as one of the top two in the state for successfully closing the achievement gap. THINK Together has played a pivotal role in this success. Baldwin Park CST Gains (2008-2010) THINK students showed greater gains in English Language Arts after participating for 2 or 3 years.
THINK Together is working to transform and integrate out-of-school time programs, which previously operated in silos, into an integrated School Support Ecosystem, which is coordinated and aligned with the school day. SAUSD, a long-standing partner, is the sixth largest school district in California and the most Latino school district in the nation.
Summer learning loss is one of the leading factors contributing to the achievement gap. To combat this, THINK Together operated summer learning programs, serving more than 20,000 students, in eight cities from San Diego to Elk Grove. In collaboration with the Elk Grove USD, through funding from the Walmart Foundation and with the support of the National Summer Learning Association, THINK Together provided a Smarter Summers program for middle school students. Smarter Summers focused on inquiry-based, hands-on learning in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) disciplines, and included holistic activities (fitness, field trips, etc.). The main academic goal of the program was to improve math vocabulary.
Students enrolled in the high school program were much more likely to graduate and attend school at a higher rate than their peers who did not participate. Our high school programs are voluntary and consistently draw more than 120 students daily.
Supplemental Educational Services (SES) provide free one-on-one or small group instruction in math and English Language Arts to qualifying students attending public schools designated as program improvement. THINK Together’s SES program was named as one of five national demonstration sites by the U.S. Department of Education to align extended learning time programs with the school day to bolster student achievement and close the achievement gap.
Our Early Learning Program (ELP) targets children (ages 0 to 5) and their parents, uses highly cost-efficient, evidence-based early literacy tools — including Raising A Reader and Reach Out and Read — to give parents access to books so that their young children have basic literacy and vocabulary skills to prepare them for kindergarten. The program also helps parents embrace their role as their child’s first teachers. The center-based HABLA program (a research based language acquisition program developed by Dr. Virginia Mann) targets children ages 3 and 4 and has proven to be an effective strategy in improving preschool language acquisition skills.