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An important element of any successful program is its ability to examine itself objectively, looking at where it’s been, where it’s going, and at its strengths and weaknesses. The Five Acres Research Department was formed in 1983 for that purpose.

For more than two decades Five Acres' research department has made significant contributions to the agency by annually evaluating the progress of children and families served and publishing and presenting studies on abuse and neglect through national conferences and journals.

William Shennum, Ph.D, director of research, is considered by many as the “objective eye” of Five Acres, evaluating the educational, emotional, and behavioral progress of each child to determine if the agency’s programs are meeting children’s needs.

Dr. Shennum has also pieced together the oral history of Five Acres through accounts from past residents. He welcomes former residents back to Five Acres, updating them on changes that have occurred over the years while listening to their memories. “Past residents give perspective on our programs today. It is interesting to hear about the role Five Acres has played in their lives and how the agency influenced them as they grew up.” says Shennum.

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Research Collaboration

Our research department works with our teaching teams to collect on-going data in terms of norm-referenced academic testing that parallels each student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) annual timetable. Five Acres has an individual action plan for each student through the IEP process. Student IEPs are monitored by teachers on a daily basis. Teachers track time-on-task behaviors, error analysis, chronological student work samples and curricular-based tests in individual student portfolios.

Close working relationships with parents and residential counselors are developed. Student's progress is reported on a school report. These individualized reports are hand delivered to residential counselors and to the families of our community students. This allows for immediate feedback on student progress.

Daily reports and other "informal" assessments are combined with the formal assessments of our school-wide annual program review to give a more detailed view of each student's individual school progress. 
Curricular program improvement goals are monitored by the schools' administrative team, and involve a curricular calendar. In compliance with AB-1858, we have on-going contact with our local school district to monitor their curricular adoption cycles.