Evaluation of TNTP and Solution Tree in Washoe County School District
The New Teacher Project (TNTP) and Solution Tree are two research-based education vendors hired by Washoe County School District (WCSD) to support schools that have been designated in need of improvement. Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, these vendors worked with 25 schools to improve school leadership practices, instruction, and student achievement. In fall 2019, WCSD commissioned SPR to conduct a study to better understand the implementation (pre-COVID-19) and impact of these vendors. Read this report to learn more about the findings from this study.
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Lessons From the Assessment for Learning Project: Strategies for Building an Authentic Learning Community
This article explores findings from an evaluation of the Assessment for Learning Project, a grantee engagement strategy led by the Center for Innovation in Education focused on creating a learning community founded in continuous reflection and safety for risk-taking. The article shares the project’s model and approach, grounded in the core design elements of a field-facing learning agenda, grantmaking that leads with learning, and collective leadership.
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Line By Line: Transforming Student Lives and Learning with the Art of Poetry
Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition. This study of Poetry Out Loud, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, examined the relationship between participation and student academic achievement and engagement, social-emotional development, and poetry appreciation.
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State of the Field: Findings from a 2020 Scan of Colorado’s Health Equity Advocacy Field
Based on surveys and interviews, this field scan report describes how the health equity advocacy field in Colorado has grown since 2017. It describes an increased priority in the state for focusing on health equity; a growing sense of connection to a vision for Colorado rooted in shared values around health equity; intentional partnerships across diverse sectors; and concrete examples of partners coming together in authentic ways under the umbrella of health equity advocacy that can make a difference for those in the state experiencing health inequities.
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Reflections on Transformative Movement Building
Move to End Violence (MEV) is an initiative of the NoVo Foundation, designed to strengthen the collective capacity of the movements to end gender-based violence in the United States. The program provides an intensive and holistic two-year experience to five cohorts, each consisting of 15-21 Movement Makers. Grounded in principles of beloved community, liberation and equity, organizational development, transformational leadership development, and movement building for social change, MEV seeks to grow and expand strong, innovative, and sustainable movements to end violence against all girls and women, including those who are cis and trans and those who are gender non-conforming.
Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) has served as MEV’s learning and evaluation partner since the beginning, initially working with the NoVo Foundation in February 2010 during the design phase for MEV. Over the last ten years, SPR has documented the development of MEV’s theory of change, gathered and synthesized feedback on convenings and meetings, administered pre and post social network analysis surveys for each cohort, and conducted over 200 in-depth interviews with cohort members, coupled with over 70 in-depth interviews with faculty, staff, alumni and other movement leaders.
As MEV enters its fifth and final cohort, staff, faculty, and alumni are looking to share key capacity building lessons from MEV with Movement Makers and other field leaders. This evaluation brief provides details on the three core themes outlined above in order to support MEV’s efforts to tell its story and the stories of those whose lives have been touched by the program over the last ten years.
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Survey of Employers for California Employment Training Panel
The State of California Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to train workers to retain quality jobs in California, increase competitiveness, enhance the transferable skills of the workforce, and improve productivity and quality. ETP contracted with SPR in 2019 to conduct a survey of California employers who have received ETP funding either directly or indirectly. The purpose of this brief was to provide key results from this ETP employer survey. The brief presents an overview of the survey findings with respect to employers’ training needs, workforce skills needs, and engagement with partners.
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Evaluation of Alternatives to Improve Elderly Access to SNAP
The Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture commissioned Social Policy Research Associates and its partner Mathematica to evaluate how policy interventions have been implemented and their effects on SNAP participation. The evaluation focused on how nine States implemented five demonstration projects and waivers specifically targeted to increase elderly access to the program: Combined Application Project (CAP); Elderly and Disabled Recertification Interview Waiver; Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP); Standard Medical Deduction (SMD); and 36-Month Certification Demonstration.
The evaluation combined findings from a qualitative analysis of how the interventions were implemented and how elderly participants experienced SNAP with findings from a quantitative analysis of each intervention’s effects using State administrative data. Evidence from this evaluation suggests that when interventions designed to increase elderly access are implemented with high fidelity and consistency, they generally have positive effects on measures of SNAP participation among the elderly, including SNAP caseloads, new applications, and rates of churning.
Download the Full Report Download the Executive Summary Download the State Profiles
Engaging Opportunity Youth: Final Report for the Monterey County Youth Ambassadors for Peace Project
This report summarizes findings of the implementation, outcomes, and costs of the Monterey County Youth Ambassadors for Peace (YAP) program, which was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF). The YAP program offered an 18-month career-preparation experience designed to engage youth ages 16–24 who had been involved in or were at risk of involvement with gang activity or the criminal justice system, or who were academically truant. The program sought to address youth needs through case management, career pathways exploration, mentorship, and community service. Program services included assessment, work readiness training, life skills education, job shadowing, and referrals for vocational training. SPR conducted a multi-year evaluation of the YAP program, to document program implementation as well as education, justice, and workforce outcomes of program participants.
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How Residents Built Power in North Richmond: A Case Study
To voice their priorities and aspirations for their community, North Richmond residents leaders created a Quality of Life Plan to guide and inform future community development. This case study tells the story of how the resident leaders gained power, agency, and voice in the process. By participating in the leadership team, North Richmond resident leaders gained a deeper understanding of their leadership and change-making potential, used their voices to hold stakeholders accountable, and exercised real power. SPR serves as the learning and evaluation partner for Healthy Richmond, one of the 14 Building Health Communities launched by The California Endowment, that convenes and coordinates community-based organizations and resident leaders to collectively work towards increased health equity and racial justice in the community.
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The Hidden Genius Project Evaluation Toolkit
The Hidden Genius Project (HGP), was founded in 2012 by five black male entrepreneurs/technologists who were unnerved by the dramatic juxtaposition between the high unemployment of black male youth and the plethora of career opportunities within the local technology sector. To address this challenge, the founders established a program to connect young black males with the skills, mentors, and experiences that they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists in a 21st century, global economy. In 2017, SPR worked with The Hidden Genius project to develop an Evaluation Toolkit that would support the organization in their efforts toward becoming evaluation ready and data-driven. In the development of this toolkit, SPR held focus groups with HGP participants and alumni, interviews with program staff to refine their desired outcomes of their program, design of a logic model, and the creation of a survey tool to capture growth on desired outcome indicators.
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Expanding Employer Engagement: A Guide to Developing & Sustaining an Employer Resource Network®
Under a Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research expanded its delivery of services to employers in Southwest Michigan’s Employer Resource Network® (SWMERN). Since 2014, SPR has served as the evaluator of the Michigan WIF grant assessing expansion of ERN services to employers in Southwest Michigan’s four counties and coordination with the public workforce system in Michigan. In 2018, SPR developed an implementation guide, entitled Expanding Employer Engagement: A Guide to Developing & Sustaining an Employer Resource Network® that provides detailed guidance on the preparations necessary to develop and implement an ERN based on the experiences of the SWMERN. The guide is designed primarily for employers working collaboratively to attract and retain their workforce, but also for public workforce professionals and other community members—local workforce development boards, economic development agencies, social service agencies and community organizations—interested in improving economic vitality in their communities through stronger business engagement and support for the workforce.
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Oakland Fund for Children and Youth Learning Papers
The Oakland Fund for Children and Youth (OFCY), created in 1996 through a ballot initiative, represents a large investment on the part of Oakland residents to support the dreams of young people and their families. OFCY provides strategic funding to programs for children and youth, with the goal of helping them to become healthy, happy, educated, and engaged, community members. Since 2015, SPR has served as the evaluator of OFCY’s community-based programming, including, early childhood, student success, youth development and empowerment and career awareness and academic support. In 2017-2018, SPR developed two learning papers to take a deeper dive and tell a richer story of the diversity of programs within two of OFCY’s funding strategies: 1) Youth Development and Empowerment and 2) Career Awareness and Academic Support. These learning papers provide descriptions of youth characteristics served in FY 2016-17, highlights program practices to best serve their youth participants, and lessons learned and implications for OFCY.
Download the Youth Development and Empowerment Learning Paper
Download the Career Awareness and Academic Support Learning Paper
REACHing New Heights in Youth Development and Postsecondary Achievement: Executive Summary
The REACH program (Resilience, Education, Adventure, Community, and Health)—funded by the Orfalea Family Foundation—is a four-year experiential education program for first-generation college students living in Santa Barbara County. REACH supports students as rising high school juniors through their transition to postsecondary education. REACH offers activities in six core program areas: outdoor experiences, postsecondary education, health and wellness, financial literacy, community involvement, and personal development. SPR conducted an 18-month mixed-methods evaluation that examined postsecondary education outcomes and youth development outcomes and lifted up lessons for the field of education and youth development.
Download the Executive Summary
Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release Program: Evaluation
The Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release (LEAP) grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor are designed to strengthen ties between the public workforce system and local correction facilities by establishing satellite American Job Centers in local jails. SPR, together with its partner, Mathematica Policy Research, conducted a formative evaluation to identify common challenges and promising approaches to launching LEAP-funded activities across the 20 grantees nationwide. The formative evaluation generated five issue briefs on key themes in program start-up, linked below. The project also includes an implementation evaluation to document how LEAP programs operate; and a feasibility assessment which explored the potential for a rigorous impact evaluation.
Download the Internet Access for Pre-Release Job Search Training Brief Download the Bridging Workforce and Corrections Cultures Brief Download the Staffing Jail-Based American Job Centers Brief Download the Structuring Employment-Based Services Within Jail Spaces and Schedules Brief Download the Expediting the Launch of Service Provision Brief
Reintegration of Ex-Offenders: Impact Evaluation
To address high rates of recidivism among reentering offenders, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (USDOL) funded a national group of 24 faith and community-based organizations to provide workforce assistance, mentoring, and case management services. SPR, funded by US DOL, conducted a random assignment evaluation that examined the impacts the RExO program had on the employment and recidivism outcomes of the more than 4,600 study participants. The evaluation included a three-year impact study, an implementation study and a survey of participants.
Download the Final Impact Report Download the Two-Year Impact Report Download the Implementation Study Report
NCOA Senior SNAP Enrollment: Promising Practice Brief
The National Council on Aging (NCOA)’s Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative is designed to fight senior hunger by increasing the effectiveness of community based organizations and agencies that help older adults enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). With support from the Walmart Foundation, NCOA distributed $2.15 million in grants over two years among more than 40 community-based organizations and agencies that conduct SNAP outreach to older adults and assist them with the application process. NCOA allowed prospective grantees to design their own individualized approaches to increase SNAP enrollment within their service areas. After awarding a second round of grants in 2015, NCOA engaged SPR to produce a brief that summarizes promising practices worthy of dissemination. The practices selected were drawn from four grantees that NCOA identified as exemplifying promising outreach and enrollment practices. SPR conducted site visits and follow-up phone calls with Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut (AASCC), DC Hunger Solutions (DCHS), Korean Women’s Association (KWA), and Senior Community Outreach Services (SCOS), Inc.
Download the Promising Practice Brief
Strengthening Cultural Competency in California’s Anti-Domestic Violence Field
In 2012, The Blue Shield of California Foundation’s program area Blue Shield Against Violence launched a project called “Strengthening Cultural Competency in California’s Domestic Violence Field for High-Need, Underserved Populations” to support and promote promising culturally competent practices within the domestic violence field. This report captures the outcomes of the two-year evaluation at the organizational and field level.
Mapping an Emerging National Health Equity Network: Findings from a Social Network Analysis of Organizations Serving Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders
Since 2007, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum has invested more than $20 million to support development of health equity collaboration within and across Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian (AA and NHPI) communities across the nation. In 2013, SPR therefore conducted a snowball social network analysis starting with these funded partners, and extending to over 1400 organizations around the country focused on improving the health and well-being of AA and NHPI communities. This paper provides an overview of this emerging network, as well as presents implications for how to approach strengthening and leveraging this network going forward.
Toward Health Equity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders: The Health Through Action Model
Since 2009, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has invested over $100 million to foster racial healing and eliminate policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differing outcomes by race. Health Through Action represented an unprecedented level of investment targeting Asian Americans, Native Hawaiin, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPI). Embedded within the foundation’s racial equity portfolio, it was the first time a private-sector foundation joined forces with a national AA and NHPI organization to acknowledge and address health disparities facing this population.
Building Panethnic Coalitions in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities: Opportunities & Challenges
This paper is one in a series of evaluation products emerging from SPR’s evaluation of Health Through Action (HTA), a $16.5 million, four-year, W.K. Kellogg Foundation supported initiative to reduce disparities and advance healthy outcomes for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) children and families.
2013 Strong Field Project Evaluation Report: Executive Summary
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, forcing agencies to close or lay off staff and mobilize emergency fundraising and advocacy campaigns. In response, in 2010, Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) launched the Strong Field Project (SFP), a 4-year, multi–million dollar statewide, collaborative effort to build a strong, coordinated network of DV service providers in California. The SFP has a three-pronged approach: (1) a leadership development program, (2) organizational strengthening grants, and (3) network building and knowledge sharing. In this report, we look at how the contours of the California DV landscape have changed since the SFP’s inception and how the SFP continues to impact the individual, organizational, and field levels.
Evaluation of DCYF’s Specialized Teen, Youth-Led Philanthropy, and Youth-Led Organizing Programming: Mid-Project Report
This project is evaluating educational and youth development outcomes for youth participating in 68 after school programs in San Francisco. Data sources include phone interviews at 17 “case study” programs, site visits to 12 “best practice” programs, an online youth survey and an examination of administrative data from the San Francisco Unified School District.
The California Endowment’s Diversity in Health Evaluation Project
One in a series of publications from The California Endowment’s Diversity in Health Evaluation Project, this resource guide was designed to assist foundation staff with conceptualizing and commissioning evaluations of initiatives and programs in diverse communities.