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Grand Rapids Community Foundation;
This year we are pleased to present specific data for each Challenge Scholars class cohort. Thanks to a data-sharing agreement with Grand Rapids Public Schools, we can now show you how Challenge Scholars students are doing relative to the requirements for the four-year scholarship.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago;
Afterschool programs are seen as a way to keep low-income children safe and to foster the skills needed to succeed in school and life. Many cities are creating afterschool systems to ensure that such programs are high-quality and widely available. One way to do so is to ensure afterschool systems develop and maintain a data system.This interim report presents early findings from a study of how afterschool systems build their capacity to understand and improve their practices through their data systems. It examines afterschool data systems in nine cities that are part of The Wallace Foundation's Next Generation Afterschool System-Building initiative, a multi-year effort to strengthen systems that support access to and participation in high-quality afterschool programs for low-income youth. The cities are Baltimore, Md., Denver, Colo., Fort Worth, Texas, Grand Rapids, Mich., Jacksonville, Fla.,Louisville, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., Philadelphia, Pa., and Saint Paul, Minn.To date, research on data use in afterschool systems has focused more on the implementation of technology than on what it takes to develop and sustain effective data use. This study found that the factors that either enabled or hampered the use of data in afterschool systems—such as norms and routines, partner relationships, leadership and coordination, and technical knowledge—had as much to do with the people and process components of the systems as with the technology.Strategies that appear to contribute to success include:
Starting small. A number of cities intentionally started with a limited set of goals for data collection and use, and/or a limited set of providers piloting a new data system, with plans to scale up gradually.
Ongoing training. Stakeholders learned that high staff turnover required ongoing introductory trainings to help new hires use management information systems and data. Providing coaching and developing manuals also helped to mitigate the effects of turnover and to further the development of more experienced and engaged staff.
Outside help. Systems varied in how they used the expertise of outside research partners. Some cities identified a research partner who participated in all phases of the development of their data systems. Others used the relationship primarily to help analyze and report data collected by providers. Still others did not engage external research partner, but identified internal staff to support the system. In any of these scenarios, dedicated staffers with skills in data analytics were key.
The region of West Central Michigan encompassing Grand Rapids and surrounding communities ranks in the top quartile among 306 U.S. regions evaluated by The Commonwealth Fund's Scorecard on Local Health System Performance, 2012, performing especially well on measures of prevention and treatment quality, avoidable hospital use, and costs of care. This relatively higher performance may stem from the area's conservative medical practice style and local stakeholders' stewardship of community health and health care, as illustrated by a long history of regional planning and accountability for promoting the efficient use of resources. Complementary efforts and incentives to improve quality of care, community outreach programs, and a commitment to strengthening the safety net also may influence regional performance. However, more recently, rising costs and increasingly competitive market dynamics appear to be challenging the social contract that has long guided community cooperation.
"Quality Now! Results of National Conversations on Education and Race" chronicles the experiences of eight communities that convened conversations about education and race involving nearly 1000 participants in more than 60 public forums across the country. "Quality Now!" is a set of strategies and hands-on tools intended to encourage and assist communities interested in holding their own conversations on education and race. By sharing the challenges, lessons learned, and outcomes from the eight initial sites, PEN and Public Agenda hope to amplify and sustain an important dialogue on the critical -- but often hidden -- intersection of education and race. The eight local education funds that sponsored events and forums included:
Fund for Educational Excellence - Baltimore, MD
Forward in the Fifth - Berea, KY
Education Fund for Greater Buffalo - Buffalo, NY
Public Education and Business Coalition - Denver, CO
Partners in Public Education - Grand Rapids, MI
Hattiesburg Area Education Foundation - Hattiesburg, MS
Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute - Oakland, CA
Paterson Education Foundation - Paterson, NJ
The efforts in these eight communities generated serious discussion among residents about what kind of communities they would like to inhabit, what kind of education they feel their children need, and what changes in the status quo they will support.
Public Education Network (PEN);
Includes "The School Board and the Community: Forging a Stronger Partnership" (Atlanta, Georgia - October, 1995), and "Dialogue and Trusteeship in Public School Governance" (Grand Rapids, Michigan - April 18, 1996). Part of the Public Education Network School Board Leadership/Public Engagement Initiative.