December project update

December will see us finishing up one project (for this year, at least) and plugging away on some of our ongoing work. We’ll also be serving as editors of the next newsletter of the National Dropout Prevention Center, the topic of which–quite appropriately, for us–is urban issues in education. We look forward to sharing that early next year!

1. HOPE VI evaluation

We just submitted our first annual evaluation report to the Taunton Housing Authority for review and feedback; once it is finalized, we’ll be sure to share our findings here and on our website. Beginning in early spring, we’ll get started with the second year of evaluation by conducting another round of focus groups and interviews with the same 25 heads of households who participated in interviews last year.

2. SouthCoast Veterans needs assessment

We kicked off the surveying component of this needs assessment, being done in partnership with New Bedford’s Veteran’s Transition House, at New Bedford’s Veterans Day Parade. There, we had the opportunity to test out the survey questions with the help of a handful of Veterans who were attending or participating in the parade. This allowed us to determine whether questions needed rewording or clarification. On Thanksgiving, we sent out about 160 surveys with meals delivered to the homes of area Vets by the VTH and a cadre of volunteers (including our own Mike McCarthy!). We will continue to distribute surveys far and wide across the SouthCoast this month, and we hope we’ll soon begin entering results into our statistical software (SPSS).

3. SouthCoast health planning dashboard

We’re continuing to add content to the site that will serve as a planning dashboard for SouthCoast public health stakeholders. This includes data related to health outcomes in the region, data collected by the organizations sponsoring the site, resources where users can get more information, and resources to aid the original research efforts of public health stakeholders (like survey tools and best practices).

4. LifeWork project

While we wait for end-of-semester data that will show how LifeWork participants fared in their first semester at BCC, we’ll be developing a Salesforce database with which to track participant progress and share updates with key project partners. This should help the LifeWork project sustain evaluation efforts in years to come, and it should also help project staff and partners quickly gauge (and respond to) the project’s progress toward its goals.

5. National Dropout Prevention Center newsletter

We’ve been asked to edit the NDPC’s newsletter with a focus on urban issues affecting education and dropout. If you have ideas or would like to contribute content, get in touch!

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