“…Yes, they have helped me improve my grades and attitude about school, but they have also been my shoulder to lean on when my life gets all messed up.”
—Dominique Gomes, Former RFL Student
Framingham Public Schools
Resiliency for Life (RFL) was founded in 1998 at Framingham High School. Its principle aim was to provide high school students who were receiving failing or poor grades, earning suspensions, and contributing to truancy and expulsion rates, the guidance and support systems they needed and deserved to succeed. Without fail, every year since its inception, the program has demonstrated dramatic success with the district’s most challenging students.
The following outcomes reflect trends in the RFL student data for the school years 2008/2009, 2009/2010, and 2010/2011.
Once enrolled in RFL, students come to school. Over the most recent three school years, RFL students, on average, have shown a 54% decrease in absences compared to the year prior to entering RFL. In the 2010/2011 school year, the annual decrease in absences was 64%, the most significant decrease to date.
RFL students get to school on time. For these three years, compared to the year prior to entering the program tardy rates for RFL students decreased, on average, by about 70%.
RFL students achieve academic success in the classroom. Between 2008 and 2011, RFL students raised their GPAs, on average, by 1.0 point from the year prior to their entry into the program. In 2010/2011, 56% of students received a GPA of 3.0 or higher during at least one marking quarter, and 41% received a GPA of 3.0 or higher during two or more marking quarters.
All RFL students pass the state standardized test (MCAS) in both Math and ELA, exceeding both the district and state pass rates. Between 2008 and 2011, every RFL student passed both MCAS sections. This is compelling, given that these are the students who experienced such limited academic success that they were on the verge of dropping out of high school.
Most RFL students apply to two or four-year colleges, and the overwhelming majority are accepted. Thirty-six students graduated from RFL between 2008 and 2011; in 2009 and 2010, 100% and 92%, respectively, of these students were accepted into college. In 2011, 8 of 14 students were accepted into college, with the remaining students opting to pursue employment, due to overwhelming financial constraints.
To help students achieve to their potential, Framingham’s RFL created a small and caring community within the larger, more anonymous setting of Framingham High. The RFL program is based on best and promising practices research, designed specifically to close the achievement gap and prepare all students for college and careers. Guided by this work, RFL holds students to high standards, generates frequent assessments of student performance, and provides students with targeted tutoring in a range of subject areas.
In addition, RFL offers students the following programmatic features:
College admission and preparation: A faculty member works intensively with seniors, preparing them for graduation and post-graduation plans.
After-School Program: In the after-school program, students complete homework and missing class work under staff supervision.
Leadership Retreats: These off-campus retreats are designed to create a sense of positive community for students and to strengthen student/teacher relationships.
Summer Program: This intensive program focuses on developing students’ math and literacy skills.
Student Support Services: A licensed mental health counselor provides individual counseling to students and refers students for additional psychological counseling, as indicated.
Parent Meetings: Parent meetings are held twice monthly. They provide a supportive environment in which parents can talk with each other about difficulties with their teenagers. In addition, guest presenters speak with them about how to deal with specific challenges.
Community Service: This is a mandatory activity in which students volunteer in community settings.