• May 2018
  • Vol. 19, No. 4

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Review of School Wraparound Services Suggests Effectiveness in Improving Student Outcomes

According to a recent Child Trends report, integrated student support (ISS) initiatives show promise in improving academic outcomes for children by providing them with basic supports, such as food assistance, tutoring, medical care, or housing. ISSs are school-based initiatives in districts serving a large population of low-income families. These initiatives are also known as community schools and wraparound supports for vulnerable students and their families. ISSs rely on five essential elements to support service delivery: community partnerships, coordinated student support, integration in the school setting, needs assessments, and data tracking.

This report is based on a synthesis of findings from evaluations, child development research, implementation reports, school principal interviews, and cost-benefit analyses.

The report has several findings, including the following:

  • ISS evaluation studies found a mix of positive and neutral results but no negative effects.
  • Several evaluations showed strong support for particular ISS models, including City Connects, Communities in Schools in Chicago, the Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy, and Diplomas Now.
  • Evidence from a new microsimulation model shows that student participation in ISS interventions will have long-term benefits, including higher math scores and graduation rates and lower rates of male incarceration and teen pregnancy.
  • The ISS models continue to reflect best practices in child development research.
  • High-quality implementation is important and requires sufficient resources.
  • Nonacademic outcomes are rarely measured even though they are central to the conceptual model, which limits understanding of the mechanisms behind ISS success.
  • Identifying the essential elements that contribute to the success of the five individual service delivery components is an evolving practice that demands further research.

Making the Grade: A Progress Report and Next Steps for Integrated Student Supports is available at https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ISS-FULL-Report_FINAL-FINAL-12_5_v3.pdf (2,020 KB).
 

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