CSR’s ongoing, long-term work with the Believe 2 Become Initiative is beginning to bear fruit. A collaborative article, for which I served as the lead author, has just been published in The Foundation Review, “the nation’s first peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy”:
The article documents the coalition’s successful efforts to come to agreement on the complex issue of sharing student data in a secure, responsible fashion to support better personal service to students by program staff, greater alignment of out-of-school educational services with in-school curriculum, and more robust evaluation of overall program results in improving educational outcomes. The agreement facilitates transmission of data between the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) and the Community Research Institute (CRI) at Grand Valley State University (GVSU).
With parental consent, identified student information such as attendance and recent academic performance is (or will be) available on a secure, need-to-know basis for staff at B2B out-of-school programs through nFocus Solutions’ TraxSolutions suite. Meanwhile deidentified data for larger populations of B2B participants and comparison groups is available to the research and evaluation team (including CSR, CRI and Basis Policy Research) .
While similar agreements have been made in other cities and school districts, they have generally been short term, less comprehensive, or have dealt only with aggregate data rather than tracking individual educational results over time. At CSR, we are privileged to be involved and excited about the potential this data-sharing infrastructure offers to Grand Rapids and to other metropolitan partnerships. As we learned at a recent Intelligence for Social Policy conference, interest and investment in data sharing agreements is soaring across the country. Grand Rapids is keeping pace and may even be moving ahead of the pack.
When you’re checking out ArtPrize 2011, be sure to include a visit to “I Believe I Become,” the six piece mural created by a team of student artists from Grand Rapids Public Schools and sponsored by several local businesses and two local artists. You’ll find the mural at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.
By supporting strong schools, community partnership, parent resources, and student experiences, B2B hopes to help students achieve success in school, work, and life by the year 2025. Believe 2 Become is a partnership of Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, dozens of community‐based and faith‐based organizations, and the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation. CSR’s assistance to the project through surveys and a shared database is ongoing as the B2B continues its work in our community.
Fifteen thousand children in Grand Rapids are being served by the Believe 2 Become initiative (“B2B”). The initiative focuses on four neighborhood “Hope Zones.” The Community Research Institute at Grand Valley State University is a research partner for the CSR, and they provide maps and demographic profiles of each neighborhood.
By supporting strong schools, community partnership, parent resources, and student experiences, B2B hopes to help students achieve success in school, work, and life by the year 2025. Believe 2 Become is a partnership of Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, dozens of community‐based and faith‐based organizations, and the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation.
These groups are investing in teacher training and system support at GRPS and are sponsoring after-school study programs and a summer learning program.
B2B is also sponsoring a Neighborhood Engagement program. In this program, staff members from LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. conduct community meetings, organize community events, and go door-to-door educating parents: all with the goal of promoting knowledge of and encouraging action toward student success.
Since 2004, CSR has been supporting the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) in its Sustaining Pastoral Excellence project, which has been funded by grants from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Three waves of surveys have been conducted on an approximately biennial bases, in 2004/2005 (which we're now labeling "2005" for simplicity's sake), 2007 and 2009.
A full report is now available comparing all three survey waves and including statistical models of pastors' self-reported pastoral health (vocational satisfaction and sustainability), leadership skills, and congregational fulfillment of the CRC's mission statement. The report finds statistical stability across all three waves--excellence is indeed being sustained. But we also identify many areas of concern with room for improvement, especially council support through systematic feedback on preaching. The statistical models suggest that programmatic interventions per se have mixed effects, but targeting leadership skill development could stimulate improvements in pastoral health.
The following resources are available from CSR; also see the SPE project's survey page.
UPDATE 12/20: The CRC Newsroom has a story about the survey.
UPDATE 1/15: The Grand Rapids Press has written a story about the survey.
|CSR is pleased to be a co-sponsor with other Calvin College Centers and Institutes of the 2010 Reformed Mission in an Age of World Christianity conference; follow this link to read more about it. Open to all, the June 15-17, 2010 conference immediately precedes the inaugural meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) on Calvin's campus. Register now! Then read on for more about CSR's plans for a focus group research project at the conference.|