Located in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, The Ubuntu Centre is recognized internationally for pioneering an intervention model that emphasizes depth over breadth by delivering intensive services to a limited population. The Centre combines supports from three program areas: household stability, health, and education to create individualized service plans or "pathways" for two thousand of the township's orphaned and vulnerable children annually. By providing coordinated and encompassing care, the Centre seeks to change fundamentally the life of each participating child and household.
The Ubuntu Model is implemented within an award winning 25,000 sq. ft. facility that brings together multiple programs under one roof. In a series of connected spaces, the building hosts a pediatric HIV clinic, pharmacy, classrooms, computer labs, theater, and rooftop garden. Staff development is administered through the Bertha-Ubuntu Internal Leadership Development (BUILD) initiative. Led by the Bertha Foundation, the initiative provides comprehensive programs to train each employee, track staff members’ performance, and offer them the same comprehensive medical services given to clients.
Working with the Ubuntu Education Fund's monitoring and evaluation team,
Cityspan developed a data system that tracks the Centre's individual interventions and ensures that services are delivered in standardized and confidential
formats. The system supports a monthly reporting process that reflects the number and type of interventions, and a six-month cumulative milestone
report that targets any discrepancies between client-level targets and outputs. By using data to monitor progress against goals, the Centre maintains
an active feedback loop to verify that systems are working and, if they are not, use data-driven metrics for making adjustments to the approach.
Harris County's Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning (CASE for Kids) recently deployed Cityspan Provider to track high quality Out-of-School Time programming across seventeen school districts. CASE for Kids helps communities by building collaborative partnerships to support at-risk students and their families. Cityspan will be used initially to support the Partnership Project, an initiative that promotes numeracy and literacy development for students between the ages of 4 and 12. The system will also track data for City Connections, a project funded by the City of Houston to expand youth and family services at schools, community centers and churches.
At the national level, CASE for Kids recently joined several Cityspan clients as members of the newly launched Every Hour Counts National Learning Community, a peer-learning community focused on building sustainable collaborative systems and sharing best practices to improve the quality and availability of after school programs.
Cityspan welcomes Suparna Jasuja to its development team. Suparna is a graduate of the innovative Computer Engineering Department at Santa Clara University where her coursework combined traditional computer science with web design and usability classes taught by Silicon Valley’s leading design experts.
Prior to Cityspan, Suparna held design and web communication positions with NetApp and Golin, and was a member of the VillageTech Solutions team that developed
Looma, a solar power “computer in a box” designed to make learning tools accessible to rural schools in developing countries.
“Suparna’s academic training and industry experience give Cityspan access to the latest thinking in web usability and mobile design,” said Mark Min, CEO of Cityspan. “She also brings to Cityspan a passion for developing technology to address the needs of underserved communities.”
- Read about how Cityspan's clients, including NextUp, Sprockets Saint Paul, Expanded Learning Collaborative (San Francisco), and Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (Pittsburgh) are working to take expanded learning systems to the next level by partnering with the Every Hour Counts National Learning Community.
- Dig deeper and discover how Every Hour Counts partners (and
Cityspan clients) in Chicago, Boston, Providence, and New York are pioneering the work in building citywide systems to better serve children and
- Learn about NextUp's strategy to coordinate resources and provide quality programming that is relevant, engaging and effective in delivering outcomes for youth.
The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania has selected Cityspan to create a shared attendance and outcomes management system for the Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST). Cityspan will connect APOST's network of 40+ provider agencies currently serving more than 22,000 youth across Allegheny County. The system will integrate with the county's local school districts (43 in all), with Pittsburgh Public Schools leading the way as anchor APOST partner. Cityspan's flexible data collection and reporting features will provide APOST and its partners the ability to measure and manage the diverse set of resources available to the county's youth.
At the national level, APOST recently joined several Cityspan clients as members of the newly launched Every Hour Counts National Learning Community, a peer-learning community focused on building sustainable collaborative systems and sharing best practices to improve the quality and availability of afterschool programs.
A recent report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation, Connecting the Dots: Data Use in Afterschool Systems, emphasizes people and process alongside technology as key components to promoting effective data use in afterschool systems. The report was written using data from the Foundation's Next Generation Afterschool System Building Initiative, a multi-year effort designed to build capacity and strengthen afterschool programs in Baltimore, Denver, Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, Louisville, Nashville, Philadelphia and Saint Paul.
The report finds that data captured and measured in the cities’ afterschool systems reflect their goals and provide value across multiple stakeholders. System adaptability in response to changing priorities, staff turnover and new leadership is key, while people and processes are critical to ensuring data quality. Effective strategies highlighted for developing data capacity include starting small (and slow!) with a limited set of data and providers, hiring dedicated staff with a background in data analytics, and providing ongoing training to alleviate turnover and support a culture of data use.
- Download Connecting the Dots: Data Use in Afterschool Systems Executive Summary and Report
- Read how Sprockets Saint Paul, a Cityspan client and one of the nine cities participating in the study, is using data to evaluate outcomes for more than 8,000 Saint Paul youth
- Learn more about how Cityspan Provider and
Cityspan Collaborative can help you develop the data capacity of your city or organization
Imagine Science, a partnership of four youth development organizations — the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National 4-H Council, YMCA of the USA, and Girls Inc. — has selected Cityspan to develop a centralized data system to track and manage STEM programs within its three pilot communities (Dallas, Orange County and Omaha). Cityspan's expertise implementing data systems that support multi-agency youth development initiatives is a natural fit for the Imagine Science partnership. Cityspan's system will meet the day-to-day data management needs of the local STEM programs while providing robust reporting capabilities that allow national administrators to monitor local activities and set policy using data-driven metrics. Data integration among community partners will enable longitudinal tracking of student retention in STEM programs, helping Imagine Science evaluate engagement strategies and measure student level outcomes.
In the fall of 2015, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development launched Cityspan Funder as its comprehensive grants management solution. Designed to administer HUD funding that strengthens the infrastructure of San Francisco’s low-income neighborhoods, the system streamlines data collection and reporting for 150 nonprofit agencies annually, ensuring program transparency and compliance with Federal requirements. Integration with Cityspan Provider allows agencies to report against a comprehensive set of client-level activities and outcomes. For agencies that hold contracts with multiple city departments, the system complements existing Cityspan Funder implementations for San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families and the Human Services Agency, making it easier than ever for the city’s social service agencies to focus on serving communities in need.
- Read the original Request for Proposal posted by the Mayor's
Office of Housing and Community Development
Every year, Cityspan co-sponsors the How Kids Learn conference organized by Temescal Associates and the Learning in Afterschool and Summer Project (LIAS). This year we were excited to attend the event in our own backyard! Held December 10, 2015 at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley, the conference brought together school and community-based providers and researchers to discuss how to prepare youth for successful careers. With college drop-out rates at a record high, developing career pathways and workforce development opportunities for youth is critical.
To provide context to the discussion, Jenny Nagaoka, Deputy Director at the University of Chicago
Consortium on School Research presented a developmental framework recently published by the Consortium. "Foundations for Young Adult Success" offers valuable insight
into the developmental experiences and relationships necessary to help youth succeed as adults. The report also confirms what out-of-school-time practitioners
already know to be true, that an opportunity gap exists for disadvantaged youth that have limited access to developmental learning opportunities.
The conference challenged practitioners to explore ways to address this opportunity gap and help youth develop the "soft skills" that encourage success
in the workforce. Presenters highlighted strategies that can be implemented in out-of-school time programs such as linked learning initiatives that
connect disadvantaged youth with employers, youth entrepreneurship programs, and using digital badges to recognize learning.
- Read Jenny Nagaoka's commentary about Foundations for Young Adult Success
- Download the Foundations for Young Adult Success Framework
- Explore the USDOE's Employability Skills Framework
- Put it into action with “Engaging Youth as Workers Within High School Afterschool Programs”
The Minneapolis Afterschool Network recently partnered with Cityspan to implement Cityspan Collaborative as a shared database for out-of-school time providers throughout the city. The initiative leverages the work Cityspan performed in 2011 developing Saint Paul’s Sprockets Shared Database as part of a collaboration between the City, Saint Paul Public Schools, the Wilder Foundation and community organizations. Fatima Muhammad, project director for the Minneapolis Afterschool Network, recognized a similar need in Minneapolis to align providers around a common set of metrics designed to evaluate and enhance community impact. Building a shared data system to collect and report on these metrics was the logical first step.
Led by the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board and in partnership with the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools (who will act as the research entity on the project), the Network has deployed Cityspan’s system to 11 agencies (representing 21 programs) as part of the initial phase. And while Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s systems currently remain separate, the two cities are sharing best practices and coordinating to ensure standardization of data collection protocols. Agencies serving both cities will be able to access each city’s system through a common interface, encouraging further alignment across the Twin Cities. In the future, Minneapolis and Saint Paul plan to use Cityspan Collaborative to provide unified reporting capabilities across both cities, further developing the Twin Cities’ ability to measure collective impact with the children and youth they serve.
- Get the details behind Cityspan’s implementation of Saint Paul's Sprockets Shared Database
- Read how Saint Paul strives to be “Informed by Data, Inspired by Youth,” in their 2014 Out-Of-School Time Report
(using data from Cityspan!)
- Discover how Saint Paul’s Promise Neighborhood initiative is using data (from Cityspan Provider) to address difficult community issues
This summer, Cityspan partnered with Providence After School Alliance and Boston After School and Beyond to develop and pilot a digital badge platform. Funded by the Noyce Foundation, the pilot was designed to address the alarming drop in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) engagement that occurs between 4th and 9th grade. With flexible learning environments, after school programs are an ideal place to build STEM learning pathways for youth, and digital badges recognize and engage youth in this learning. In addition to validating the learning experience, these “micro-credentials” become part of a digital résumé designed to help students pursue higher education and careers in STEM.
The goal for the pilot was to build the digital badge infrastructure and test the badging process
during Providence and Boston's summer programs. By using Cityspan as the badge distribution platform, the agencies were able to align the badge framework
across the two cities, ensuring uniformity and the ability to scale. At the city-level, they optimized their use of Cityspan by linking badge data
with participation and assessment data being captured in Cityspan Provider. The criteria for earning a badge included participation in a variety of
STEM activities and minimum scores on the Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO-T) assessment tool, a unique feature of the pilot. Using the
SAYO-T, teachers reported evidence of growth in five competencies essential for STEM learning: critical thinking, perseverance, collaboration/teamwork,
communication and engagement.
In total, more than 2,300 STEM badges were awarded across 500 participants in the pilot, results that prompted the Noyce Foundation to approve another round of funding. Phase two of the pilot will allow Providence and Boston to implement the badging process during the school year while Cityspan continues to incorporate new features into the digital badge platform. In addition, members of both agencies have committed to sharing their experiences with other afterschool city systems and STEM networks by providing tools and guidance to replicate the work.
Pilot design partners included the National Institute of Out-of-School Time (NIOST), Harvard University’s Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR), and Every Hour Counts. Badge design by Boston's Artists for Humanity.
To Learn More:
- PASA's "Digital Badges Form Portfolio of Real World Skills"
- BASB's "Digital Badges"
- Watch the MacArthur Foundation's video defining "What is a Badge?"
Cityspan recently launched a custom version of Cityspan Provider for the New York Public Library’s out-of-school time programs. Located in neighborhood libraries throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island, the Library’s programs provide literacy tutoring, credit recovery, homework help and mentorship opportunities to more than 3,000 youth annually. Motivated by a desire to reach even more students living in economically disadvantaged areas, the Library asked Cityspan to develop a solution to track participation and measure outcomes for their Bridge Up, Enrichment Zones, Innovation Labs and Literacy Leaders programs. Using Cityspan Provider to analyze attendance trends and monitor student performance over time the Library plans to scale their programs to serve 10,000 youth by 2018.
Cityspan helped Chicago kick off its 100,000 Opportunities Initiative last month by hosting the initiative’s website and providing an online application portal to connect youth with potential employers. 100,000 Opportunities is a national initiative supported by a coalition of companies, funders and social service agencies that are determined to remove employment barriers and provide 100,000 employment opportunities to America’s youth by 2018. America’s 5.6 million “opportunity youth” are defined as youth ages 16-24 that are out of school and unemployed.
The Initiative launched with Chicago’s Opportunity Fair and Forum on August 13th, which
provided more than 4,000 youth the opportunity to attend workshops, interview, and in some cases receive a job offer from companies like Starbucks,
Target, Chipotle and Microsoft. Cityspan’s online application system was leveraged to connect youth to employment workshops held in advance of the
Forum. Real-time dashboard data was provided to help the City analyze applicant information, target marketing for the event, and track their goals.
Collectively, Chicago’s launch of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative provided more than 600 jobs to Chicago youth and prepared many more to successfully
enter the workforce.
See more at: 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Launches in Chicago
Omaha’s United Way of the Midlands (UWM) has selected Cityspan to develop a system that measures city-wide efforts in preparing youth for their futures. The system will meet the program management needs of multiple social service agencies while integrating information into a shared data warehouse and reporting system.
Led by Anne Herman and Paige Dempsey of UWM, the data initiative has brought together youth-serving agencies from across the city who share a commitment to move the needle around student engagement, academic achievement, and life and career readiness. The system will be built to scale in the long term, eventually linking data from additional sources in health and human services, juvenile justice and higher education.
With support from UWM and intermediary agency Collective for Youth, the following agencies have joined the initial phase of the project:
- Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
- Center for Holistic Development
- Completely KIDS
- KIDS CAN
- NE for Civic Reform
- Nothing But Net
- Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
- Urban League of Nebraska
Cityspan's website has undergone a makeover and has emerged leaner, brighter, and more visually engaging. Our new look is a result of several months of collaboration with design firm J. Sherman Studio, web development firm AGENCY 3.0, and editorial services provider Epigram. This dynamic trio of creatives challenged us to tell Cityspan's story and connect with clients in a new and appealing way.
Presenting our products and services clearly within a few short web pages is a challenging endeavor, especially in light of Cityspan's business model, which provides clients the flexibility to customize the system based on their unique requirements. To offset this challenge and maintain authenticity we were guided by a clear set of goals and outcomes.
We want our new website to:
- Be accessible and engaging - First impressions are important, and we want to provide a responsive website experience that is intuitive and accessible on any device.
- Reflect Cityspan's true identity - We're a transparent company and our site should provide the same level of clarity and insight into who we are and how we operate.
- Facilitate the selection process - Selecting and implementing a new system isn't easy. We want to provide the information necessary to make the process easier for our prospective clients.
- Form connections - We value the longstanding relationships we have with our clients. As a first introduction to Cityspan, our website should provide an easy way to connect with our team.
- Be a resource - Years of experience implementing robust systems across multiple sectors has left us with a knowledge base we will gladly share with our site’s visitors.
- Demonstrate results - Data is core to who we are. We want to help others evaluate our effectiveness by sharing client case studies and research that demonstrate the impact of our system solutions.
While we hope our new website catches the eye of prospective clients, ultimately our goal is to connect with clients that are not only the right fit, but who are interested in establishing a long-term partnership.