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
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”
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
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.