What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

November 17, 2005

Council joins leaders in business, education in offering Web-based tools to help schools improve

The Business Council has joined the University at Albany and others in New York’s business and education communities in unveiling a new Web-based system of tools designed to help schools improve.

The new “toolkit” is being offered by a new collaborative effort called Just for the Kids-New York (JFTK-NY), which is affiliated with the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA). The toolkit is designed to help educators use data to raise student achievement.

The effort is also supported by State University of New York, IBM, State Farm Insurance, the Broad Foundation, and AT&T.

JFTK-NY offers accurate, easy-to-understand student assessment data from all elementary and middle schools in the state. In addition, it includes results of a study of high-performing elementary schools, and it offers information on best practices that these schools have used in raising student

Using publicly available data from the New York State Assessment System, the Just for the Kids-New York Web site shows not only how well each school is doing, but it compares each school to others facing equal or greater challenges and let’s them see their “opportunity gap”–that is, the gap between their own performance and that of a similar school doing better.

The site also provides resources to help schools examine their own practices and learn what the best practices are in the high performing schools. It includes charts that let a school see its progress over three years, compared with “top comparable” schools as well as “best in state.”

The tools are available on the Just for the Kids Web site, which is free and requires no registration. The case studies of the high-performing elementary schools are also available on the School of Education Web site.

“Just For The Kids-New York takes school report cards to a new level of accessibility to parents and the general public. Along with displaying school achievement information in a powerful way it points schools and their communities in the right direction for increasing student achievement,” said Ed Reinfurt, vice president of The Business Council of New York.

“We are very excited to bring this research-based program to New York, and believe it will bring about long-term, genuine solutions, rather than short-term responses,” said Susan D. Phillips, dean of the University at Albany’s School of Education and chair of JFTK-NY. “By establishing and making widely available the nation’s best educational practices, it will become a constant source of valuable information and inspiration for all educators’ school-improvement efforts.”

Plans are under way to complete a best practices study of a sample of high and average performing middle schools during the 2006-07 academic year, and to complete a high school study.

The Web site is www.just4kids.org.