Strategies

Policies and programs that work

63 Strategies
Clear all

Alternative high schools for at-risk students

Provide educational and social services in an alternative setting for students at-risk of dropping out of traditional high schools
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Attendance interventions for chronically absent students

Support interventions that provide chronically absent students with resources to improve self-esteem, social skills, etc. and address familial and school-related factors that can contribute to poor attendance
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS)

Match disadvantaged or at-risk youth with volunteer mentors in school or community settings
Some Evidence
  • Community Safety
  • Education

Bridge programs for hard-to-employ adults

Provide basic skills (e.g., reading, math, writing, English language, or soft skills) and industry-specific training with other supports; also called occupationally contextualized basic education programs
Expert Opinion
  • Education
  • Employment

Career & technical education for high school graduation

Provide career and technical education (CTE) as an integrated part of an academic curriculum for students at risk of dropping out of high school; also called vocational training
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Career Academies

Establish small learning communities in high schools focused on fields such as health care, finance, technology, communications, or public service
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Charter schools

Establish publicly financed schools that are not subject to many of the regulations that govern traditional public schools, such as staffing, curriculum, and budgeting requirements.
Mixed Evidence
  • Education

Chicago Child-Parent Centers

Provide preschool education and comprehensive support to low income families, including small classes, student meals, and home visits with referrals for social service support as needed
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Child care subsidies

Provide financial assistance to working parents, or parents attending school, to pay for center-based or certified in-home child care
Scientifically Supported
  • Income

Child development accounts

Establish dedicated child development accounts (CDAs) to build assets over time with contributions from family, friends, and sometimes, supporting organizations; also called children’s savings accounts (CSAs)
Expert Opinion
  • Income
  • Education

Child tax credit expansion

Expand federal or state child tax credits by increasing credit amounts, making credits refundable, decreasing or eliminating the earnings threshold, or creating a fully refundable supplement
Expert Opinion
  • Income

College access programs

Help underrepresented students prepare academically for college, complete applications, and enroll, especially first generation applicants and students from low income families
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Community schools

Combine academic, mental and physical health, and social service resources in schools for students and families via partnerships with community organizations; also called community learning centers
Some Evidence
  • Education

Comprehensive school reform

Implement a coordinated effort to overhaul school operation, integrating curriculum, instruction, professional development, parent involvement, classroom and school management; also called school-wide or whole school reform
Some Evidence
  • Education

DARE to be You

Provide education and training sessions with parent-child activities and family meals for youth, parents, and care providers
Expert Opinion
  • Education

Debt advice for tenants with unpaid rent

Offer debt advice from trained providers to tenants with unpaid, overdue rent to help repay debt and increase financial literacy
Some Evidence
  • Income
  • Housing and Transit

Dropout prevention programs

Provide supports such as mentoring, counseling, or vocational training, or undertake school environment changes to help students complete high school
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Dropout prevention programs for teen mothers

Provide teen mothers with services such as remedial education, vocational training, case management, health care, child care, and transportation assistance to support high school completion
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Early Head Start (EHS)

Provide child care, parent education, physical health and mental health services, and other family supports to pregnant women and parents with low incomes and children aged 0 to 3
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Expand refundable earned income tax credits for low to moderate income working individuals and families
Scientifically Supported
  • Income

Families and Schools Together

Convene small groups of families for facilitated weekly meetings that include a family meal, structured activities, parent support time, and parent-child play therapy
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Financial education for adults

Provide one-on-one or group adult education programs that cover topics such as basic budgeting, bank use, credit management, bankruptcy, credit building and counseling, homeownership, retirement, divorce, etc.
Insufficient Evidence
  • Income

Full child support pass-through and disregard

Adopt policies that allow custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to collect all child support paid by the non-custodial parent; no portion is retained by the state
Scientifically Supported
  • Income

Full-day kindergarten

Offer kindergarten programs for 4 to 6-year-old children, five days per week for at least five hours per day
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

GED certificate programs

Implement programs that help individuals without a high school diploma or its equivalent achieve a General Education Development (GED) certificate
Some Evidence
  • Education
  • Employment

Health career recruitment for minority students

Recruit and train underrepresented minority (URM) students for careers in health fields via information about health careers, classes, practicum experiences, advising about college or medical school admissions, etc.
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

HighScope Perry Preschool model

Provided high quality preschool with home visiting to low income, African-American children with an emphasis on active learning in Ypsilanti, Michigan
Some Evidence
  • Education

Incredible Years

Support young children who exhibit or are at risk for behavioral problems with interpersonal relationship training and parents and teachers who are trained to meet their needs
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

Support subsidized asset accumulation programs in which deposits by low and moderate income participants are matched by program sponsors; withdrawals must be used for qualified expenses to retain matching funds
Some Evidence
  • Income

Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) in middle schools

Emphasize high expectations for all students, parent and student commitment, empowered principals, and regular student assessments that inform continuous improvement in a lengthened school-year and school-day
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Later middle and high school start times

Delay school start times for middle and high schools to better align with adolescent sleep-wake cycles; often until after 8:30 or 9:00 a.m.
Some Evidence
  • Education

Living wage laws

Establish locally mandated wages that are higher than state or federal minimum wage levels
Some Evidence
  • Income

Matched dollar incentives for saving tax refunds

Support programs that provide matched dollar incentives for low or moderate income individuals to place some or all of their tax refund in a savings account
Some Evidence
  • Income

Mentoring programs for high school graduation

Establish programs that connect at-risk students with trained adult volunteers who provide ongoing guidance for academic and personal challenges
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Microfinance & microenterprise

Support programs that provide small loans, usually to disadvantaged individuals, to start or expand a small business, often with business training and other assistance
Insufficient Evidence
  • Income

Minimum wage increases

Increase the lowest hourly, daily, or monthly compensation that employers may legally pay to workers
Mixed Evidence
  • Income

New Hope Project

Provided work supports for low income individuals and families (e.g., job search assistance, transitional jobs, subsidized child care, health insurance, etc.); participants worked at least 30 hours/week
Some Evidence
  • Income

No Excuses charter school model

Focus heavily on reading and math achievement, enforce high behavioral expectations through a formal discipline system, lengthen instructional time, and increase feedback on teacher performance
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Parents as Teachers (PAT)

Support home visits that teach parents about early childhood development and effective parenting strategies, with child development screenings, parental meetings, and links to community resources
Some Evidence
  • Education

Payday loan regulations

Regulate small, short-term loans that must be repaid by a borrower’s next pay day via bans, caps on maximum interest rates and loan amounts, minimum loan terms, truth in lending statements, etc.
Insufficient Evidence
  • Income

Preschool education programs

Provide center-based programs that support cognitive and social-emotional growth among children who are not old enough to enter formal schooling
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Preschool programs with family support services

Provide center-based programs that support cognitive and social-emotional growth among young children from low income families, with supports such as home visiting or parental skills training
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Promise Academy Charter Schools

Create a school culture of high behavioral and academic expectations, with intense tutoring, increased teacher performance feedback, lengthened instruction time, and health care services
Some Evidence
  • Education

Publicly-funded pre-kindergarten programs

Provide publicly-funded pre-kindergarten (pre-K) education to 3- and 4-year-olds, through large-scale or universal efforts
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Reach Out and Read

Partner with doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals to incorporate literacy support into regular well-child visits, especially in lower income communities
Scientifically Supported
  • Education

Refundable child and dependent care tax credit

Offer a refundable tax credit to working families with qualifying children or other dependents that receive care outside the home (e.g., a spouse with disabilities)
Expert Opinion
  • Income

School and district level zero tolerance policies

Require school officials to apply predetermined consequences for certain infractions, regardless of situational context or circumstances; consequences are usually severe (e.g., suspension or expulsion)
Evidence of Ineffectiveness
  • Education

School breakfast programs

Support programs to provide students with a nutritious breakfast in the cafeteria, from grab and go carts in hallways, or in classrooms
Scientifically Supported
  • Education
  • Diet and Exercise

School-based health centers

Provide health care services on school premises to attending elementary, middle, and high school students; services provided by teams of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians
Scientifically Supported
  • Education
  • Access to Care