Supplemental Educational Services and Student Achievement in Five Waiver Districts (2011) presents final implementation and outcome findings from the five districts that received waivers to serve as Supplemental Educational Service (SES) providers, despite being identified for improvement, corrective action or restructuring. Federal regulations prohibit school districts identified for improvement or corrective action from serving as SES providers.
The SES waiver pilot program allowed five identified districts to serve as SES providers beginning in 2005–06 (Boston and Chicago), 2006–07 (Hillsborough County, Florida and Anchorage, Alaska), and 2008–09 (Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina). In 2009–10, the pilot was replaced with a more expansive waiver opportunity that allows states to request a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to approve identified districts or schools as SES providers.
• In the three districts that did not serve as SES providers before the waiver (Anchorage, Charlotte Mecklenburg, and Hillsborough), SES participation rates increased in the first year of the waiver. (Boston and Chicago served as providers prior to receipt of the waiver.)
• There were few demographic or academic differences between students served by district providers and students served by non-district providers.
• Students in three of the five districts demonstrated statistically significantly larger mathematics achievement gains during periods of SES participation than during periods of nonparticipation. In addition, in two districts, SES participation was associated with statistically significant reading gains.
• Averaged across the five districts, the overall association between SES participation and achievement gains was statistically significant in both mathematics and reading, relative to nonparticipation.
• Across the five districts, the achievement gains associated with SES participation relative to nonparticipation did not differ for district and non-district providers for either mathematics or reading.
All five districts reported using multiple communication strategies to reach eligible families, provided balanced information about SES providers, translated information into at least one language other than English, and provided extended enrollment periods.