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Unfogging the Mirror: Getting the Most of your Data using Dashboards

Interactive data dashboards are an important tool that SPR uses to enhance data accessibility, transparency and quality. Data dashboards provide diverse program stakeholders with a quick and timely snapshot of where they are in relation to program goals and desired outcomes. When data is transparent and accessible, it can be used to inform decision making and it can also motivate partners to ensure that data entry is complete and accurate. SPR is using a data dashboard in a multi-year evaluation of community colleges funded under Continue reading →

Share Information, Change the World: Big Data, Small Apps and Smart Dashboards

Workforce data used to come in primarily two flavors: Performance data that helped us understand something about the effectiveness of workforce programs and services based outcomes of people enrolled in them; and Labor market data that told us where jobs were (and weren’t) and were often shared in the form of monthly reports (PDFs…) or analyzed by state labor market researchers and turned into topical papers or briefs. How the world has changed! We are awash in data. Mobile devices and apps are radically changing Continue reading →

NAWB is here! Come scrum. No helmet required.

If you know SPR, then you know we’re always on the hunt for ideas, tools, and methods for working better, smarter, faster, and toward greater impact – especially in our work supporting multi-stakeholder collaboratives pursuing shared goals. We often employ simulation in such work – designing fast-paced, highly-engaging activities that help diverse groups strategize, problem-solve, or just brainstorm. A recent HUD-supported initiative took such collaboration to a whole new level: teams of regional partners representing economic development, transportation, planning, housing, environmental quality, human services, and Continue reading →

How Communities Can Reduce Recidivism

Crime imposes direct and significant costs on society. Victims of crime are affected both economically (through lost or damaged property) and socially (through emotional and physical trauma). Indirectly, crime is costly to society because the administrative apparatus that prosecutes, incarcerates, and supervises offenders is very expensive. Because repeat offenders commit a disproportionate share of crime, any program that reduces the propensity of offenders to recidivate is likely to generate significant benefits for society. Policymakers in the United States are aware of the enormous potential gains Continue reading →

Strengthening the Domestic Violence Field in California

In 2010, domestic violence (DV) service organizations in California faced considerable economic and political upheaval. One of the most significant DV public funding programs in California was cut, thus forcing agencies to close or lay off staff and mobilize emergency fundraising and advocacy campaigns. The DV field was at a critical juncture, with both challenges and opportunities for moving forward. Additional challenges included a sense of isolation, increasing executive transitions, and the more complex needs of diverse populations experiencing DV in California. In response, in Continue reading →

Building a “Smart” Talent Pipeline

Although research consistently points to the pivotal role that talented teachers play in student learning, school districts and charter management organizations (CMOs) face immense challenges in attracting and retaining high quality teachers. For instance, teacher turnover in many high-need schools is significant, in part, because young, energized teachers feel that they lack a voice within the school or the authority to bring about real change. Other obstacles to teacher retention include lack of meaningful professional development, limited opportunities for career advancement, and lack of recognition—in Continue reading →