AACPS initiated an Elimination of the Achievement Gap (ETAG) initiative in 2011 which has helped to create positive trends in achievement and attendance data. Local schools are also active users of the evidence based Positive Behavioral Supports Initiative. Centro D’Ayuda (Center of Help) works with the Partnership to offer Spanish speaking case management and, new for this year, the Strengthening Families initiative. Afterschool programs were highlighted as needed supports in the 2015 community needs assessment. The Partnership will focus on those with evidence based curricula such as Second Step and Reconnecting Youth. The 2015 population data also points to the need for more targeted cultural interventions and after-school programming targeting literacy in Spanish speaking elementary students and their parents.
Eight of ten children from low income households receive FARMS (Free and Reduced Meals in Schools), which is a measure of household poverty. The Anne Arundel County Public School System has a reasonably low rate of FARMS students overall (Table 16). However, when the data is disaggregated it shows that 12 elementary schools have a FARMS population of 70% or more, 7 middle schools have 50% or more FARMS children and of the 12 county high schools, 4 have a FARMS population of 40% or more. When achievement data is disaggregated for FARMS children the achievement gap is very clear. Low income students in the 8th grade are 17.1 points behind in reading, 34 points behind in math and 26 points behind in science.