Author Archives: Social Policy Research Associates

Harnessing the Power of Zoom to Conduct Virtual Simultaneous Interpretation for Cross-Lingual Focus Groups

by Juan Carlos Piña SPR’s Philanthropy, Equity, and Youth (PEY) division is excited to announce that our project team will demonstrate at this year’s AEA’s 2020 conference on October 28 at 9:00AM on how to harness the power of online video conferencing platforms like Zoom to facilitate virtual focus groups among cross-lingual participants using simultaneous interpretation. Centering equity in our work: Over the last 20 years, SPR has led equity-focused evaluations on building the capacity of specific racial groups to advance equitable outcomes for their Continue reading →

Amidst Challenges, Some Bright Spots in Distance Learning

By: Jennifer Hogg and Emily McCaffrey As students head back to school this fall, nearly two-thirds (62%) are doing so entirely virtually, while another 19% will attend some form of hybrid schooling.[i] Even for districts that planned to start the year in-person, several have quickly reverted to virtual or hybrid learning in response to rising COVID-19 cases or changing preferences in their schools or communities. Therefore, the vast majority of school and district leaders continue to face difficult decisions about the ways in which teachers, Continue reading →

Creating Stability for Bay Area Families: How Youth-serving Organizations Adopted a Whole Family Approach during COVID-19

By: Verenice Chavoya and Heather Lewis-Charp As the Bay Area began to shelter-in-place on March 17, 2020, community and school-based organizations in Oakland and San Francisco (like organizations across the country) scrambled to reinvent the way that they do their work. They returned to the ‘drawing board’ so that they could meet the immediate needs of the Bay Area community. As the evaluation partners of Oakland Fund for Children and Youth and the San Francisco Beacon Community Schools, our team witnessed the ways that community Continue reading →

SPR stands with those fighting for justice

The last few months have been extraordinarily challenging times for our community, our country, and the world. First, we confronted an entirely new challenge, as a pandemic threatened the health and safety of many, and caused tremendous upheaval in how we live, work, and interact with each other. Sadly, in the last several days, a much older and more familiar threat has once again come front and center, as racial oppression and police brutality have been on display in highly visible ways. That nearly all Continue reading →

SPR’s response to COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SPR’s focus has been on the health and safety of our employees, the partners with whom we work, the clients we serve, and the communities in which we live and work. Accordingly, SPR’s staff have been working remotely since March 16, when most Bay Area counties implemented shelter-in-place policies, and will be doing so at least through May 1, in compliance with current health and public directives. Although we value the collaboration and community achieved by having our staff Continue reading →

SPR Year in Review: 2019

2019 was a successful year at SPR filled with lots of collaboration, hard work, and a little bit of fun. This year we welcomed six new brilliant and talented staff, presented at APPAM, AEA as well as other conferences and meetings, successfully completed multiple long-term evaluations, and started new client relationships and partnerships with WestEd, the Washoe County School District, and the National Disability Institute, among others. Below is a more detailed look at some of our accomplishments from 2019. SPR staff presented at a Continue reading →

SPR’s Evaluation of the California Apprenticeship Initiative

This blog post was written by Dr. Leela Hebbar of Social Policy Research Associates. SPR’s California Apprenticeship Initiative team is very excited to see these four case studies released just in time for #Apprenticeship week.  These case studies tell the stories of: How programs were built through employer partnerships with colleges, labor market intermediaries, and/or unions. How work-based learning enhances learning. As one apprentice said “the classroom setting definitely helped [me] prepare for the job. Alongside that, having first-hand experience on the site plays a Continue reading →


Conducting a Frame Analysis: Using Twitter to track narrative change for policy advocacy efforts Presenters: Heather Lewis-Charp and Laura Pryor Nov 13, 2019 (05:45 PM – 06:30 PM), CC M100 J Evaluations of advocacy efforts often attempt to track changes in the narrative around policy issues.  Capturing narrative change can be challenging, but the data has the potential to produce powerful findings for stakeholders. The 2019 conference theme challenges evaluators to adapt our methods to catalyze important conversations; conducting a narrative change or “frame analysis” Continue reading →

NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program Grant Applications

NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program focuses on the education of technicians for high-technology fields. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians. With funding through an ATE grant, Yavapai College better aligned their education offerings with industry need and created applied learning experiences for students. Most notably Yavapai College created a braided internship program in which students spend two days working and three days taking related college coursework. Students successfully completing the Continue reading →

Enhancing student learning through braided internships, robotics summer camps, and creation of certificate programs.

This final report from SPR’s evaluation of Yavapai College’s Applied Pre-Engineering Program Expansion describes how the college created a braided internship program (weaving together work experience and a college certificate), new certificate programs, and enhanced student learning with support from a National Science Foundation ATE grant. SPR’s two-year evaluation of the grant activities included a site visit, interviews, focus group, surveys, and an outcome analysis.