Event: nonprofit board member training

From http://www.cfsema.org/news-and-events:

“The Community Foundation is partnering with the Community Development Clinic at the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth to present “Roles and Responsibilities for Nonprofit Boards.” This training workshop will be held from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday, April 11, at the Law School’s Moot Courtroom, 333 Faunce Corner Road, North Dartmouth.

The workshop will be presented by Craig J. Dutra, Community Foundation President, and Linnea R. Michel, Esq., Clinic Attorney / Research Associate at the Community Development Clinic. A $10 registration fee includes a light supper.

This invaluable session will enhance nonprofit board members’ knowledge of their basic roles and responsibilities.  Topics to be covered will include communicating your nonprofit’s mission, best practices for board meetings, legal duties of board members, strategic planning, and other important topics. Send your entire board!

To attend, you can download the registration form here and mail in to the Community Foundation at 63 Union Street, New Bedford, MA, 02740. Checks can be made payable to CFSEMA. If you prefer, you can email Nancy Harding with the names and titles of those who will be attending, and pay online by selecting “Roles and Responsibilities for Nonprofit Boards” from the drop-down funds menu.”

Brown University will host three part event series in April

In April, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University will be hosting three events as part of their professional development workshop series.  Registration is open to everyone!

Monday, April 2, 2012
9 a.m – 12 p.m.
Collaborative Communities: Why We Need Them and How They Are Created (Cost $15)

Thursday, April 5, 2012
10:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m.
Crafting a Moving Museum Experience (Cost $20)

Monday, April 16, 2012
10:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m. 
Writing for Development (Cost $20)

Click here to learn more or register.

Grant opportunity for communities addressing public health

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is accepting proposals through May 2 for its Roadmaps to Health Community Grants Program. Up to 20 applicants will receive awards of up to $200,000; awards must have 100 percent matching support (50 percent can be in-kind).

Grants will help communities work to address social and economic issues affecting health outcomes, which could include education, financial self-sufficiency, public safety, and family social support. Grantees should represent cross-sector collaborations, and community members should be involved in all planning processes. Learn more at the RWJ Foundation website and by joining one of their upcoming webinars.

NDPC recap: Dropout prevention beyond the high school

3. Whose responsibility is dropout prevention?

According to the literature on dropout risk factors, potential dropouts can be identified as early as elementary school based on things like poor attendance and reading below grade level. Nevertheless, because the preponderance of students drop out after starting high school, society thinks of dropout as a high school problem, an attitude that can result in dropout prevention strategies that are too little, too late.

A team of researchers at UNCW set out to quantify the degree to which this perception is affecting a comprehensive approach to dropout prevention by surveying principals across southeastern North Carolina about the degree to which they address this issue at their own schools. While their initial sample size was too small to make any sweeping conclusions, this represents an interesting approach to not just researching perceptions, but also educating survey participants about the fifteen effective strategies for dropout prevention as identified by the National Dropout Prevention Center. Visit UNCW’s website to learn more about this work by downloading their NDPC conference presentation.

We at the Urban Initiative find this kind of research particularly appealing for both the results it can provide (i.e. what’s being done at each level of school to address dropout, and where are there opportunities to do more?) and the educational value of the survey tool itself. We briefly discussed working with UNCW to replicate this effort in the SouthCoast, and we look forward to continuing that conversation now that we’re back home.

NDPC conference recap: The most effective dropout prevention program you’ve never heard of

1. The most effective dropout prevention program you’ve never heard of.

Communities In Schools (CIS) of North Carolina was a co-sponsor of the conference, and I attended a presentation by their national office first thing Monday morning. I was so glad I did, because this program is not just contributing to improved outcomes for high-risk populations of kids so prevalent in urban school districts, but CIS is also using rigorous evaluation processes that give them statistics like this:

  • 98% of students identified as potential dropouts stayed in school
  • 87% of students graduated on time
  • 82% of students reduced high-risk behaviors

How does CIS obtain these results (which, it should be noted, were measured and reported on by an independent evaluator, making them particularly noteworthy)? They provide an in-school linkage between students and supportive services that address the barriers to education faced by high-risk students, emphasizing the fact that the decision to dropout is not just a function of academic performance. Each CIS partner school has a site coordinator whose job is to make these connections between student needs and services that are or can be provided by the community (these might include healthcare, mental health services, family counseling, or mentoring). While this function is technically in the realm of guidance counselors, the need–particularly in urban communities–is so significant, and counselors rarely have time to work proactively to bring community partners and their services together under one roof.

So why haven’t you heard of it? CIS has no state offices in New England; it’s closest local affiliate is in New York City. And while bringing this program to Massachusetts would require resources, the philosophy is already being espoused by Governor Patrick’s Gateway Cities Education Agenda. This agenda calls for $3.6 million to be spent on creating Student Support Councils at urban schools and hiring Student Support Counselors whose functions seem to resemble those of CIS site coordinators. Based on the evidence of CIS’s success, this is definitely a step in the right direction, but effective implementation will doubtlessly hold the key to replicating CIS’s impact on dropout prevention.

Recap: National Dropout Prevention Center At-Risk Youth Conference

From February 20-22, I had the privilege of attending the National Dropout Prevention Center’s 24th Annual At-Risk Youth Forum in South Carolina. This year’s theme was “Connecting the Dots of Collaboration,” and co-sponsors included the Urban Initiative, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington’s Watson School of Education, and Communities In Schools of North Carolina.

The Urban Initiative takes the theme of collaboration seriously, and we’ve worked with partners across the Massachusetts to support dropout prevention efforts since 2008. But since we had just two MA colleagues in attendance (two of Springfield’s fabulous graduation coaches, one of whom worked with us on this dropout prevention program evaluation report last year), we thought we’d use the blog to share what we learned with past, present, and future collaborators who join us in our commitment to improving outcomes for urban students.

So stay tuned for a series of blog posts on NDPC conference highlights, and contact us if you’d like to learn more or explore some of these opportunities!

Here’s the full series:

1. The most effective dropout prevention program you’ve never heard of

2. It takes a village

3. Whose responsibility is dropout prevention?

Guest Post: A Closer Examination of the Impact of Snow-and-Ice Removal Costs

This post was written by guest blogger Chris Nunes, who graduated with a Master’s of Public Policy from UMass Dartmouth in 2011. He is a budget analyst for the town of Concord, MA.

The MBTA has recently unveiled two ridership and service plans which are designed to cut a $161 million dollar budget cap.  While both of these plans differ in scope, they both propose raising rider fees while significantly reducing current service.

With the historically warm winter resulting in very low snow accumulation figures, multiple news outlets have recently reported that Governor Patrick is considering allocating a portion of unexpended snow-and-ice removal funds to the MBTA.  In FY12, through January 4th, The Patriot Ledger reported that the state’s snow-and-ice budget has spent “only” $10.5 million of an original $50 million FY12 appropriation (up to-date figures could not easily be found on the state’s open checkbook forum).

While a roughly 25% snow-and-ice state burn rate through January 4th may seem as “only” a minor dent in the original $50 million appropriation, the more appropriate statement is perhaps asking why the state has spent $10.5 million dollars on snow-and-ice removal in the first place—especially as snowfall has been rather minimal (also folks in the western part of the state, and the impending projected snow fall may not be in agreement).

Read more

Love Buzzards Bay? Check out these job opportunities!

New Bedford-based Coalition for Buzzards Bay is seeking applications for two permanent, full-time positions as well as two part-time, seasonal jobs. Here’s the info straight from their website; click links below to find full-length job descriptions and learn how to apply!

Communications and Outreach Manager

The Buzzards Bay Coalition seeks an energetic and experienced communicator to tell the story of Buzzards Bay and its Watershed: About its ecology and communities, the threats it faces, and our work to protect and restore the Bay. The Communications and Outreach Manager will be responsible for telling this story in digital and print communications, through outreach at our learning centers, and in the community through media relations and outreach events and will be a key team member in the Education and Public Engagement department.

View the full job description.

Development Assistant

This position supports the Buzzards Bay Coalition in developing and maintaining positive relationships with a diverse mix of individual, foundation, and corporate members and donors. Participate in a fast-paced team environment, ensuring high-touch customized communications with constituents. Contribute to the success of multiple fundraising events, and a full spectrum of fundraising activities, by providing administrative and logistical support, maintaining database and record-keeping integrity, and producing highly personalized communications.

View the full job description.

Woods Hole Outreach Manager

The Woods Hole Outreach Manager is a seasonal summer position responsible for staffing and managing the Bay Coalition’s Outreach Office in the village of Woods Hole. This is an exciting opportunity to engage the public around our mission in the epicenter of marine research and education.

View the full job description.

Assistant Coordinator – Baywatchers Water Quality Monitoring Program

The Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Program- Assistant Coordinator is responsible for helping to coordinate its Baywide Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program- Baywatchers and additional watershed Natural Resource Monitoring programs (Stream Flow, Anadromous Fish, etc.). Responsibilities include assisting with the coordination and training of approximately 130 volunteers, water quality and natural resource monitoring, data entry and public outreach for the water quality monitoring program.

View the full job description.