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Evaluating the Citizen Schools Model


  • Citizen Schools provide academic and social support to middle school students.
  • Abt evaluated the program to help strengthen the model.
  • Abt provided valuable findings for Citizen School and other programs.
The Challenge

Citizen Schools is a non-profit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. The organization mobilizes a “second shift” of afternoon educators who provide academic support, leadership development, and hands-on project experience. They include volunteers from community-based organizations and businesses.

The Approach

To gauge the success of the approach, Abt Global conducted an evaluation in seven states. The study investigated how schools integrate expanded learning into their school days and the impact of the program on students, especially behavioral and aspirational outcomes. Data were also gathered from a group of carefully matched comparison schools in the same districts.

The Results

Among major findings:

  • Successful launching of new Citizen School campuses sets the stage for daily operations
  • Staff recruitment, hiring, preparation, and support have clear ramifications for how the program operates and is perceived
  • Partnerships function best when the expanded day staff integrate into the schools’ lives
  • Sustainability is an essential focus related to school/district commitment and student participation
  • Implementation across seven program elements varies across the Citizen Schools
  • We identified both positive elements and ongoing challenges


Reports & Publications:

Citizen Schools ELT Evaluation Final Report

Evaluation of the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative Year Five Executive Summary