The purpose of the pilot, which began in 1998, was to test the effects of keeping teachers and students together throughout their entire six year elementary school experience. The theory was that by keeping students together, they would be motivated to support one another and teachers would gain a deeper understanding of each student’s needs. The social worker would intervene if necessary to support social needs.
Rosa Parks Elementary randomly selected 140 kindergarten students (half of all kindergartners), placing them in seven classrooms with seven classroom teachers, one social worker and a resource teacher. Teachers remained with their classes from kindergarten through the fifth grade.
The cohort stayed together for the entire six years before transitioning to Monroe Clark for sixth grade. Anecdotally, teachers at Monroe Clark reported that students from the cohort were ready to learn from day one of middle school and were helpful to one another.
A second cohort was never attempted as quality scientific evidence of the program never materialized, despite the existence of a control group. It also became difficult to recruit teachers who would have to learn to teach six different grades instead of the usual one. The program was also more costly than the traditional structure due to the employment of an extra resource teacher and a social worker.back to top