Category Archives: News

Rand Corp. Reports Efficacy Among Juveniles Using New Century

Students Using New Century Achieve Improved Graduation Rates

In its recent report, How Effective is Correctional Education and Where Do We Go from Here?, the Rand Corporation conducted a Metastudy in which they reviewed the existing  research on what makes a difference in improving education among Juvenile Justice students.

Out of 157 research manuscripts, the Metastudy highlights two interventions that make a difference in student performance.  One intervention made a difference in reading.  The other intervention was an “intensive, personalized, competency based instructional model” at Avon Park that improved graduation rates.  New Century was (and still is) the diagnostic/prescriptive instructional intervention used 30 – 45 minutes per day with students at Avon Park to help teachers personalize instruction for each student.  According to the original study conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 44.1% of students in Avon Park achieved graduation versus 22.0% of students who were assigned to traditional education programs in other Juvenile Justice facilities under randomized/controlled protocols.

These students were 16 to 18 years of age.  However, over 62% of the students entered the facility with reading skills at or below 6th grade.  Over 37% were assessed with special education needs.

New Century is uniquely designed to help teachers succeed with deeply At-Risk, Special Needs and Adult Basic Ed students.  We are pleased to help G4S, the manager of Avon Park, and its teachers achieve large, measured improvements in student graduation rates.


Alabama’s SPAN Selects New Century Education

New Century Education Foundation was selected by the Special Program for Achievement Network (SPAN), the State of Alabama’s juvenile detention alternative program.  New Century’s diagnostic/prescriptive solution will help teach juveniles basic skills and prepare them for the GED.

According to Charles Foley, State Coordinator for SPAN: “We used the New Century system in our Huntsville location and saw it outperform the other ten SPAN locations in GED completion.  It was an easy decision to expand use of the software to our other sites.”

Jim Griffin, President of New Century says: “We are proud to augment our relationship with SPAN under the strong leadership of Mr. Foley, and to help him and his staff make a difference with more students.”

“ New Century is uniquely designed to diagnose and remediate reading, writing, language arts and math skills of juvenile justice populations functioning even at low elementary grade levels.  Our approach to personalized learning helps them succeed in rapid fashion.”

New Century Education Foundation’s mission is to help deeply At-Risk, Special Needs and Adult students.  Its software products are both scientifically based and supported by research conducted by independent third parties among juvenile justice and other traditionally deeply At-Risk populations.

New Century software was used in SPAN’s Huntsville, Alabama location and resulted in Huntsville students achieving more GED completions than the other ten SPAN sites combined.

Teaching Inmates Basic Skills

New Century Helps Horizon Add Education to its Programming

New Century Education Foundation is partnering with Horizon Prison Ministries to provide adult basic education and GED preparation to inmates in Ohio Prisons, including London CI and Chillicothe, CI.  Jim Griffin, President of New Century states “We are proud to work with Horizon, a proven provider of programs in prison that generates low rates of measured recidivism.  With the New Century education software, we anticipate helping Horizon reduce recidivism further.”

For more information on Horizon programs in prison click

We wish to thank our partners C4K, JD Computing, and First Aid CPU for their help with the hardware.

Lowell Inmates Getting Tools to Succeed After Their Release


(Reprinted from the Gainesville Sun, June 19th, 2013)

LOWELL RECEPTION CENTER — The room of cinderblock walls painted a pale yellow with a bank of computers on one wall and books on the other could be a school anywhere.  But the students were in light blue prison scrubs, and the room was carved out of a dorm that holds more than 80 inmates incarcerated for homicide, sex crimes, grand theft, assaulting the elderly and more.

One day — whether next year or in a dozen years — each of the inmates in a unique educational program at the Lowell Reception Center will leave the state prison for women in northern Marion County.  The program, led by Gainesville veteran and Zen Buddhist KC Walpole, aims to give them at least a fighting a chance of making it on the outside.

“I would match our program with any prison educational program in America,” said Walpole, who began working in prisons in 1995 as part of his training to be a dharma teacher. “Getting out and getting a life is not enough. There has to be that piece of cosmic glue that goes beyond getting a job. That’s where education comes in.”

The goal is for these inmates to leave prison with a 12th-grade education and, in the process, a GED. The Lowell complex of prisons near Reddick makes up the largest concentration of incarcerated women in Florida. The Lowell Reception Center, which opened about a year ago and has about 760 inmates, has multiple missions, including reception, in-patient mental health, and faith- and character-based programs.

Walpole first got linked with Lowell around 2002 when 12 inmates asked him to teach Zen there. In 2006, he started teaching mind-body stress reduction — a mix of meditation, yoga and communication.  Assistant Warden for Programs Djuna Poole has responsibility to make sure the prison has adequate educational opportunities. That led to the creation of the New Century program with Walpole.

“I have to reach out for the community. These programs are done by volunteers,” Poole said. “The true story is told when the inmate walks out the gate. Is she going to make it or not?”

This year, the prison and Walpole launched the New Century computer-based education program in three dorms in which dayrooms were converted to learning centers.  The computers are state surplus, but they are good enough to run education software that allows the inmates to work at their own pace toward a 12th-grade level.  Inmates who have a grasp of the work serve as tutors for inmates who need help.

“I enjoy it. I enjoy helping others because I know there was a time when I didn’t understand things and people came and helped me,” said Catherine Williams, who had some college classes before a conviction six years ago for trafficking cocaine.

“If any of the ladies have questions or are having a hard time, we help them so they have a better understanding,” Williams continued. “If they are really frustrated, we take them to the table and do one on one.”

Some inmates provide tech service on the computers when bugs invade.  Among them is Chrissandra Brewster, who has been in Lowell for a year and is scheduled for release in 2024 on a conviction of attempted sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.  Brewster said she often would watch her uncle do technical work on computers and learned from that experience.

“I’m the head tech and take care of the computers. I help program them, and if there’s any maintenance to be done, I do that,” Brewster said. “My uncle is always working with computers, and it’s just kind of in the blood. He does a lot of programming. There’s really not much I don’t know how to do.”

Inmates are required to spend a certain amount of time in the program, including mandatory night classes on dealing with re-entry, financial literacy and small business to prepare for their eventual release.  Stetson University is set to send Stetson students and a professor to help with instruction and to study the program, Walpole said. Inmates may write small-business plans that could be eligible for mini-grants to start a business when they are released, he added.

And education is just one aspect of the program.  Each dorm has several pod families to help inmates deal with frustrations, squabbles and other aspects of life that arise in a prison.  Heading each family is a “grandmother,” generally a calmer inmate with high integrity. “Grandmas” take a special class to learn how to handle the dorms.

Donna Elliott, who has been incarcerated since 2003 on a grand theft conviction, is one of them.  “My role as grandmother is to love and nurture. Everything goes through me. Anything that goes on in here I have to oversee. I try to see that everyone is happy and adjusts well,” said Elliott, who has three grandchildren outside Lowell. “This has stretched me. It’s allowed me to see women on a different level. When you get 84 or 86 women together, and the personalities, you have to deal with the anger and the hurt. There are a lot of breakdowns in here, and you just have to love them through it. And when you have to discipline them, it’s tough.”

The goal of both components is to provide the education and the social skills the women will need to succeed after their release.  Walpole said the cost to the Department of Corrections is miniscule — $1.16 per inmate a day in the first year and 37 cents a day per inmate thereafter.  “How can you beat that?” he said. “You do this across the state, and you are going to make a difference.”

It already has made a difference to Carolyn Clark. The 61-year-old is nine years into a sentence for robbery with a deadly weapon — a hammer — and aggravated battery on a person age 65 or older.  A longtime crack cocaine user, Clark is scheduled for release in November 2014. She had never worked on a computer before and often lifts her arms and shakes them in joy when she masters an assignment.

Clark would like a certain kind of job when she’s out — it’s a topic she knows intimately and might now have skills to match.”During my activities of getting high, I contracted HIV. I’ve been a survivor for 15 years. I’m very, very healthy,” Clark said. “I want to be an HIV facilitator. Our past doesn’t have to be our future.”

New Century Success with Juveniles

New Century Education and Juvenile Justice Detention Alternatives

New Century Education Foundation (Montclair, NJ) is a not-for-profit publisher of educational software that is research based and uniquely designed to diagnose and remediate students and adults with deep skill gaps in their education. In Alabama, New Century works with the Special Program for Achievement Network (SPAN) in Huntsville. SPAN provides academic, social, behavioral and transitional services, in collaboration with local community organizations, to adjudicated youth. The Network guides these juvenile offenders toward being productive, law abiding citizens. The alternative for these youth would be incarceration.

Program Model

Adjudicated youth are given the opportunity by the Judge to attend SPAN as an alternative to detention. The average participant arrives at SPAN at 15 years of age and functions over four grade level equivalents below his enrollment level. SPAN delivers a combination of education, individual counseling, group counseling and family counseling, along with behavior modification programs in conjunction with community organizations. Buses pick up students at their home and return them in the afternoon. Frequently, students are given objectives by the Judge, including obtaining their GED within a specified period of time. Juveniles meeting these objectives are released, and often enter the military, the local workforce, or post secondary education.

The Huntsville program is one of 11 SPAN locations across the state, but is the only one that uses New Century software to remediate missing prerequisite academic skills and to prepare students for the GED. Each of the 11 SPAN programs is designed to handle 15-20 juveniles at a time. Statewide statistics report that in fiscal year 2011-2012, the Huntsville program recorded 26 students that passed the GED Examination, compared to 20 reported by the other 10 programs combined during the same period. Further, according to SPAN administrators, the New Century system at Huntsville diagnosed and served students functioning at lower academic levels than the alternative software intervention utilized in the other 10 programs. New Century also remediated students in half the time compared to the alternative software. The Huntsville Program therefore was able to serve more students and achieve GED goals faster.


The State Director of SPAN is Charles Foley (256) 852-1224, 104 Spacegate Drive, Huntsville, Alabama 35806

New Century Success with At-Risk

The results are in, and two Camelot Excel Academies in Philadelphia have increased math and reading test scores.

From the data collected from the 2011–2012 academic school year, the average student at Excel Academy North raised his or her math grade level by 4.1 years. Generally, 77 percent of students rose by two grade levels. Reading scores also jumped with the average student gaining 3.6 grade levels and 71 percent of students improving by at least two grade levels.

At Excel Academy South, the average student increased their math score by 2.5 grade levels, and their reading score increased 2.4 grade levels.

Camelot vice president for education, Milton Alexander, has worked with alternative education in Philadelphia since 1999. Alexander has been with the Camelot schools since May 2005 as a teacher, instructional leader, assistant principal and executive director. He said that the structure of Camelot schools helps to close the academic gap.

“We are on the one hand blown away by these results, but we also see the evolution in these kids every day,” Alexander said. “They come to us with tremendous untapped potential and we provide a climate that allows them to find it.”

Camelot’s academies concentrate on the needs of high school students who are termed “near dropout students.” Despite their entering grade level, students learn from the School District of Philadelphia curriculum and are able to complete four years of high school credit in two and a half years.

Alexander said there are several goals for the Excel Academies in the 2012–2013 school year.

“To graduate 95 percent of our students — to see at least 90 percent of those grads move on to post-secondary endeavors [are our goals],” Alexander said. “To see all students enrolled at least 120 days gaining at least two grade levels in reading and math, and at least 85 percent of our kids involved in student government and enrichment activities, [too].”

According to Alexander, the method of peer accountability in the student government helps to encourage students’ success. Unlike most student governments, Camelot Excel Academies have a four-level rating system. Level one is a neutral zone. In level two, students must demonstrate a commitment in school attendance and civic engagement in order to proceed to the level three. While students are in level three, they take a pledge to be active members in the school. Finally, in level four, students receive privileges to wear a different color uniform shirt and to meet with leadership weekly to discuss school improvements. Movement in student government is based on grades and conduct, too.

At the 2011 commencement, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Michael Vick, was the guest speaker. Alexander said that this was the most memorable experience at Camelot.

“Many of our students related to Mike and he told a humbling story of redemption. The kids helped select him and that recognized their leadership in making the decision.”

There are other academies in Camden, New Jersey, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.