B. Annotated Bibliography on Individual Study Topic 20 points
Each student will select a specific topic pertaining to family/community engagement in school to be investigated individually and
shared with the class. That topic will be related to your project. For example, you might want to focus on parent involvement among the
subgroup of parents to which your project pertains OR you might choose to focus on parent involvement in the subject, developmental
area or issue you select OR you can focus on one of the components of the project such as communication, community resources, event
planning, homework, etc. Individual topics will be identified no later than the second class period.
Each individual submits an annotated bibliography (described below) by March 8 (to be returned to you by March 15). Email me an
electronic copy and submit a printed copy. Use a bolded asterisk to identify your recommendation(s) for the reading that would be
beneficial for the whole class. The annotated bibliography should contain a list of the sources you read or consulted (use formal
citation style). Your reading should be a mix of empirical and practical (how to/examples) readings.
Annotated Bibliography Procedure:
Step 1. Identify your focused topic pertaining to family and/or community and related to your project (due no later than 2/16).
Step 2. Identify what you want to know considering your role, interests, responsibilities, & project.
Step 3. Start with the research sources provided on Blackboard. Identify likely or promising references that provide background
information as well as examples of practical programs (with evaluations).
Step 4. For each article you read, enter the citation (so that another person can locate and/or cite it) on the top line. The
annotation should include the following information: briefly state what the article is about. Is the article focused on practice or
empirical research? If possible, indicate the role and credentials of the source. Your analysis should be conducted in terms of your
specific topic and questions: summarize the article in terms of what you learned (step 2). Go beyond the merely descriptive. Identify
any assumptions, positions, stakes, or limitations. What recommendations are made for practice that apply to you, your colleagues, and
Step 5. Decide whether the article would be valuable for your colleagues to read and/or whether it provides justification for specific
practices. Place an asterisk next to recommended reading. In 1-2 sentences explain why this would or would not be valuable for your
Requirements for sources: Professional or academic sources (e.g. appear in a scholar.google search, in an academic search from NIU
library, or on a university, government agency, or professional education association or agency website), 50+ pages of reading (print
preview & record page numbers of web material).
Paper Example (See Below)
1. Focused Topic: Best Chance Program – The transition from middle school to high school
The Best Chance Program at Cary-Grove High School is a ninth grade transition program designed to address the needs of a select group
of incoming freshmen. Students are identified by their teachers based on the criteria set by the CG planning team (Counselor, School
Psychologist, Teachers, and Administrator). Identifying characteristics might include: issues related to attendance, social/emotional
problems, poor homework completion, difficult peer/teacher relationships, poor home life, recent loss, and academic ability to name a
few. Students being served through the special education program are not considered for enrollment.
2. What do I want to know?
– Who should we be identifying? Are we targeting the right kids?
– What are the best practices in working with at-risk freshmen?
– What is the role of the teacher, counselor, administrator, parent, and student?
– How do we encourage parental involvement in the transition process?
– What are the similarities and differences in students� and parents� perceptions of the transition from middle school to high school?
Horwitz, A., Snipes, J., & Council of the Great City, S. (2008). Supporting Successful Transitions to High School. Research Brief.
Spring 2008. Council Of The Great City Schools,
This research brief documents the common reasons that students fail the ninth grade, highlights key strategies for promoting successful
transitions, and provides recommendations for districts and schools to better support student transitions into high school. The authors
find that comprehensive reforms, which combine structural changes with purposeful curricular and instructional interventions, can help
students have successful transitions into high school, but that structural changes alone are insufficient. Recommendations include:
targeting ninth graders for transition interventions, engaging students with challenging academics, developing systems to target
interventions to students� needs, and strengthening literacy curriculums across all school levels.
The article is based on educational theory and offers some practical applications to put into practice. The authors note that the
transition period from 8th to 9th grade is a critical, fleeting moment in time in which to address, support, and/or intervene on a
student�s behalf. Like many of the other articles I�ve read on the transition period, these authors note that the obstacles are not
solely academic, but social and environmental as well. The authors note that students arrive unprepared academically, require
orientation programs, and need to be challenged with rigorous coursework that challenges and engages. On our end, we need to provide
structural reforms, such as smaller schools and programs that address the social concerns of both students and their parents. Early
warning systems (based on data) that track course taking and behavioral patterns is also recommended. This article gives a good
overview of the transition period and supports its recommendations with alarming data.
Bottoms, G. (2008). Redesigning the ninth-grade experience: Reduce failure, improve achievement, and increase high school graduation
rates. Atlanta, GA: Southern Regional Education Board.
This report reveals that involving families in conversations about their children�s coursework and postsecondary plans with teachers
and advisors is an important element of programs that successfully improve the experiences of ninth graders and promote academic
success in high school. The report recommends holding orientation programs for middle school students and their parents to help them
better understand the expectations of students in high school and to recommend ways to prepare for ninth grade.
The article is based on educational theory and offers examples of implemented transitional programs in specific high schools. The
author focuses on improving student achievement in the ninth grade which will then lead to improved graduation rates and improved
readiness for college and careers. Time, resources, and an effort to improve the quality of instruction are required. Early orientation
in the middle grades, summer bridge programs, ninth-grade academies, specialized ninth-grade courses, guidance and support, and a no-
zero policy are advocated. Communication with parents is a theme that comes up time and again in each of the example programs. I like
this article for its clarity and practical application and would recommend it as further reading for my classmates.
Smith, J. S., Feldwisch, R., & Abell, A. (2006). Similarities and Differences in Students’ and Parents’ Perceptions of the Transition
from Middle School to High School. RMLE Online: Research In Middle Level Education, 29(10), 1-9.
The study examined students’ and parents’ perceptions of the transition from middle school to high school in a large public school
district in the Midwest. Mean comparisons of student and parent responses to the “Perceptions of Transition Survey” revealed
similarities and differences in academic, social, and organizational areas. Students looked forward to making new friends and having a
voice in selecting academic courses. Parents were concerned about social and safety issues, while students worried about too much
homework and organizational issues such as getting lost.
This article is based on empirical research and focuses on the anticipation and anxiety that both the student and parent go through
during the ninth-grade transition period. The author is focusing on this critical period due to the alarming failure and dropout rates
that accompany the transition to ninth grade. Collaboration between the middle schools, high schools and families is advocated. The
study looked at 40 students and their parents. The author looked at what the parents and students looked forward to with regards to
ninth-grade and what worried them the most. This article would be a good introduction to the study of the transitional period � it
gives the reader a basic idea of where the students and parents mindset is prior to enrollment in the high school setting.
Oakes, A., Waite, W., & Center for Comprehensive School Reform and, I. (2009). Middle-to-High-School Transition Practical Strategies to
Consider. Newsletter. Center For Comprehensive School Reform And Improvement,
With increasing alarm at the number of high school dropouts across the United States, educators are seeking ways to help students stay
in school, graduate, and move on to meaningful and productive careers. Recent research points out that a smooth transition to ninth
grade can contribute to students’ success in high school and beyond. This newsletter draws from several recent reports to discuss the
issue of middle-to-high-school transition and also provides examples of successful transition practices. Schools are providing a
variety of activities that address the concerns of students and their parents and help make the experience a seamless and successful
one. The report concludes that communication and collaboration among all parties appear to be crucial for a successful transition.
The article is based on educational theory and offers some practical applications to put into practice. The author gives a condensed
version of the discussion found in many of the other articles that I read. The basic premise that ninth-grade is a critical time to
address not only the academic short comings of many freshmen students, but also the roadblocks of autonomy and the development of
self-confidence. During this time, support from adults is crucial. Information about school layout and bell schedules alone is not
sufficient � the author states that social matters and peer relationships overshadow academic concerns at this crucial time. The author
goes on to give examples of effective transitional programs in several different school districts. As stated earlier, this is a
simplified argument that condenses the concerns and roles of all stakeholders. Probably not the article I would recommend.
Falbo, T., Lein, L., & Amador, N. A. (2001). Parental Involvement during the Transition to High School. Journal Of Adolescent Research,
Studied what types of parental involvement are effective as students make the transition to high school; also sought to elaborate on
the role parents play in connecting their children to desirable peer networks during this transition. Identified five forms of parental
involvement that helped students succeed.
This article is based on empirical research and focuses on five forms of parental involvement that helped students succeed. I was
excited to see this article (thank you!) because this is the piece where I think our program lacks strength. The authors identified
five forms of parental involvement that helped students succeed: monitoring the teen�s academic and social life, evaluating the
information obtained about the teen, helping the teen with schoolwork, creating positive peer networks for the teen, and participating
directly in the school. The authors note that there is a lot of literature out there that suggests different kinds of parental
involvement is effective at different times during the student�s life � this article looks at effective support as the student enters
high school. Specific attention is given to the impact/influence of peer relations. This is a lengthy article, but one that might be
worthy of my classmates review. I will definitely use some of the data in my paper and presentation.
Kennelly, L., & Monrad, M. (2007). Easing the Transition to High School: Research and Best Practices Designed to Support High School
Learning. National High School Center.
The transition from middle school to high school represents a significant event in the lives of adolescents, one that necessitates
support from and collaboration among teachers, parents, counselors, and administrators at both educational levels. Successful
transitions place particular emphasis on ninth-grade initiatives and can create one of strongest bridges from middle to high school and
beyond. This report is a rolled up version of four National High School Center (NHSC) products that had been previously released as
individual pieces related to one of the NHSC focus themes: transitions into high school. Included in this publication are: (1) The
First Year of High School: A Quick Stats Fact Sheet (2) Policy Brief: State and District-Level Support for Successful Transitions Into
High School (3) Issue Brief: Toward Ensuring a Smooth Transition Into High School and (4) Snapshot: Managing the Transition to Ninth
Grade in a Comprehensive Urban High School.
This is a research article conducted by the National High School Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The article starts
by giving some quick stats on the first year of high school � noticeable trend in the lack of progress of many students throughout
freshman year. Promotion rates between the ninth and tenth grade are much lower than rates between other grades. They give some
strategies to address this problem, including the creation of ninth grade academies and transition programs that provide support and
monitoring from teachers and administrators. The article provides a policy brief which focused on five key challenges that states,
districts, and schools should address to support a successful transition: establish a data monitoring system, address the instructional
needs of those coming to school unprepared, personalize the learning environment and address individual and diverse student needs, and
create connections to the community, employers, and institutes of higher education. The article provides a checklist for supporting a
smooth transition, as well as a student risk assessment instrument. I�m going to bring the assessment tool to our team to see if this
might help streamline some of the information we gather when we meet with our feeder districts. This is a lengthy article, but provides
some useful tools that can actually be utilized. Probably not an article I would recommend for reading, but aspects will be useful to
McCallumore, K. M., & Sparapani, E. F. (2010). The Importance of the Ninth Grade on High School Graduation Rates and Student Success in
High School. Education, 130(3), 447-456.
According to the title of a Robert Fulghum book, all one really needs to know they learned in kindergarten. Evaluating the national
high school graduation rates over the past thirty years, and noting the steady decline in these numbers, which accelerated in the
1990s, it would be easy to disagree with Mr. Fulghum. While Mr. Fulghum is merely trying to give an appealing title to a book of short
essays, there is really not much appealing about the reality of the problems in the American education system that permeate beyond
kindergarten. Graduation rates are one of the most troubling concerns. Despite millions of federal dollars invested in research on
students at risk of dropping out of high school, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates in November, 2001, that
each year for the past decade over half a million students have left school before graduation. Unfortunately, this increase in the
dropout rate has occurred at a time when there seems such a large emphasis on getting a college degree, much less a high school
diploma, and being able to compete in a global world. Increased graduation requirements and rocky transitions from middle school to
high school seem to comprise a majority of the reasons for students struggling, failing, and dropping out. Since high school graduation
requirements and the transition to high school both involve the ninth grade, a lot of research has focused on the importance of the
ninth-grade year. Solutions to help ease the transition to high school, including the development of freshman academies and an emphasis
on students both before and after ninth grade, are underway to boost freshman success, and in the long run reduce high school dropout
This author takes note with the popularized theme that all anyone really needs to know can/should be learned in Kindergarten. The
article is based on best practice and gives suggestions for simple applications that will make the transition to high school easier for
everyone. He notes that there is a substantial difference, both academically and socially between the middle and high school student �
students are introduced to new stresses and different expectations for which they are often not prepared. Simpler suggestions such as
providing bell schedules and school maps, meet the teacher nights, ninth grade orientation nights, and the use of student mentors. I
can say unequivocally that we already do these things, so we are doing some things right! The author also suggests maybe sending
current high school students to the middle schools to talk to the incoming freshman about what life and school is really like at the
next level � I like that suggestion and it would be fairly easy to implement. The author does acknowledge that there are other not-so-
quick solutions that will require more time, money, and resources, but therein lies the problem. Further examples of successful
programs that have been implemented around the nation are also discussed. Again, communication with parents is strongly recommended.
This was an easy read and might be a suggested reading for my classmates.
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