search cancel cancel-medium

What Happens When Families Whose Schools Close Receive EdNavigator Support and OneApp Priority?

This study examines enrollment and achievement outcomes for New Orleans students whose schools closed at the end of the 2017-18 school year. In that year, families from closing schools were offered two types of assistance in the form of priority in the centralized enrollment system and help from the nonprofit EdNavigator in selecting their next placement.

Policy Brief Cover

What Happens When Families Whose Schools Close Receive EdNavigator Support and OneApp Priority?

by Jon Valant

Per­haps the most extreme step that edu­ca­tion lead­ers can take to improve school qual­i­ty is to close a school entire­ly. School clo­sures are con­tro­ver­sial due to the harms and dis­rup­tions they can cre­ate for fam­i­lies. These harms may be par­tic­u­lar­ly severe if dis­placed fam­i­lies do not receive ade­quate sup­port in tran­si­tion­ing to new schools. Since mov­ing to a char­ter-based sys­tem, New Orleans has seen reg­u­lar changes to its school land­scape. This includes many school clo­sures, merg­ers, takeovers, and open­ings. Over time, con­cerns about the impacts of clo­sures have changed how lead­ers approach school clo­sure and result­ed in addi­tion­al sup­ports for fam­i­lies whose schools close. This study exam­ines what hap­pened fol­low­ing three school clo­sures in the 2017 – 18 school year. In that year, fam­i­lies in clos­ing schools were offered two new types of assis­tance. First, the city’s enroll­ment sys­tem, OneApp (now called NCAP), began to give stu­dents from clos­ing schools high pri­or­i­ty when they applied for schools for the fol­low­ing year. Sec­ond, the non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion EdNav­i­ga­tor began to offer help and infor­ma­tion to fam­i­lies as they sought their next school place­ments. While the dis­trict had pre­vi­ous­ly offered assis­tance to fam­i­lies in clos­ing schools, EdNavigator’s sup­port dif­fered in that it came from an orga­ni­za­tion unat­tached to the dis­trict that was, in many cas­es, rec­om­mend­ing spe­cif­ic schools as poten­tial­ly good options. We ana­lyze out­comes for fam­i­lies from these three schools who were eli­gi­ble for pri­or­i­ty in the city’s uni­fied enroll­ment sys­tem and offered sup­port by EdNav­i­ga­tor staff. Our out­comes include both imme­di­ate school requests and place­ments and longer-term pat­terns of stu­dent mobil­i­ty and test scores. Our study design does not allow us to iden­ti­fy the pre­cise causal effects of these sup­ports. How­ev­er, we com­pare the out­comes for these sup­port­ed and pri­or­i­tized fam­i­lies to oth­er groups of fam­i­lies for con­text. Ulti­mate­ly, our data reveal sev­er­al notable find­ings: Fam­i­lies that received pri­or­i­ty and sup­port request­ed schools rat­ed high­ly by the state more often than fam­i­lies in com­par­i­son groups. Fam­i­lies that worked with EdNav­i­ga­tor request­ed schools the orga­ni­za­tion rec­om­mend­ed and received a seat in those schools through the OneApp place­ment process more often than fam­i­lies in com­par­i­son groups. Fam­i­lies that received pri­or­i­ty and sup­port were more like­ly to receive a place­ment in high-rat­ed schools than fam­i­lies in com­par­i­son groups, but many stu­dents (in all groups) were again placed in low-rat­ed schools. Fam­i­lies that received sup­port and pri­or­i­ty were more like­ly to com­plete the choice process dur­ing the OneApp’s first place­ment round (when there are more seats avail­able at high-rat­ed schools) and remain in the same school for at least a year after enrolling than fam­i­lies in com­par­i­son groups. * Test scores for stu­dents from sup­port­ed and pri­or­i­tized fam­i­lies increased slight­ly after exit­ing their clos­ing schools. How­ev­er, they remained far below state averages.

Related Publications