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Black Funding Denied: Community Foundation Support for Black Communities

August 1, 2020

In light of the national uprising sparked by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and building on other recent tragic movement moments going back to the 2014 murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri), NCRP is analyzing grantmaking by community foundations across the country to find out exactly how much they are – or are not – investing in Black communities.We started by looking at the latest available grantmaking data (2016-2018) of 25 community foundations (CFs) – from Los Angeles to New Orleans to New York City to St. Paul. These foundations represent a cross section of some of the country's largest community foundations as well as foundations in communities where NCRP has Black-led nonprofit allies.

Integrating Technology and Advising: Studying Enhancements to Colleges’ iPASS Practices

July 29, 2019

Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support colleges that seek to incorporate technology into their advising and student services. In iPASS, such technology is intended to increase advising's emphasis on a student's entire college experience, enabling advisers to more easily (1) intervene when students show early warning signs of academic and nonacademic challenges, (2) regularly follow up as students progress through college, (3) refer students to tutoring and other support services when needed, and (4) provide personalized guidance that reflects students' unique needs.To study how technology can support advising redesign, MDRC and the Community College Research Center partnered with three institutions already implementing iPASS: California State University, Fresno; Montgomery County Community College; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The three institutions increased the emphasis on providing timely support, boosted their use of advising technologies, and used administrative and communication strategies to increase student contact with advisers. The enhancements at all three institutions are being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial research design.This report shows that the enhancements generally produced only a modestly different experience for students in the program group compared with students in the control group, although at one college, the enhancements did substantially increase the number of students who had contact with an adviser. Consequently, it is not surprising that the enhancements have so far had no discernible positive effects on students' academic performance. The findings also highlight the potential for unintended consequences. Before the study, each of the institutions had required that certain groups of students see an adviser before registering for classes in the next semester. Each institution expanded this preregistration requirement to include all students in the study's program groups, but at one institution, the requirement appears to have contributed to a small reduction in earned credits.

Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools

April 1, 2019

Six large school districts that built principal pipelines, a set of measures to cultivate effective school leaders, saw notable, statistically significant benefits for student achievement across their communities, according to this groundbreaking report by RAND. After three years, pipeline-district schools with newly placed principals outperformed comparison schools in other districts by more than 6 percentile points in reading and almost 3 percentile points in math, an unusual accomplishment. "We found no other comprehensive district-wide initiatives with demonstrated positive effects of this magnitude on achievement," the authors say.  The pipelines also led to benefits in principal retention, according to the report. After three years, pipeline districts had nearly eight fewer losses for every 100 newly placed principals than the comparison group. This is significant because principal turnover is disruptive to schools and costly, with districts spending an estimated $75,000 to replace a principal. The report presents the results of research that examined the Principal Pipeline Initiative, a six-year effort supported by The Wallace Foundation and launched in the 2011-2012 school year in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga. (outside Atlanta); Hillsborough County (Tampa), Fla.; New York City; and Prince George's County, Md (outside Washington, D.C.). The "pipeline" refers to four, mutually reinforcing components the districts put in place to seek to boost principal effectiveness: rigorous standards that spell out what their principals are supposed to know and do; high-quality pre-service training for aspiring principals; data-informed hiring; and well-aligned support and evaluation of principals, especially newcomers to the job.

Build a Better South: Construction Working Conditions in the Southern U.S.

May 1, 2017

This study explores labor conditions in the construction industry across six key Southern cities in the U.S. and finds that far too often construction workers across the South face working conditions that should not exist in the twentyfirst century in the richest country in the world. The study documents the alarming prevalence of jobs with wages too low to feed a family. It captures the impact of disabling work injuries on workers and their families that are made even more devastating when the employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, or misclassifies a wage worker as an independent contractor ineligible for compensation payments. 

Exploring the Green Infrastructure Workforce: Jobs for the Future

March 28, 2017

How many people work in green infrastructure? What are the jobs? What level of compensation do they offer? What are the educational requirements? How much potential is there for job creation as green infrastructure investments increase? How is the green infrastructure workforce within the six U.S. cities examined for this report similar to—or different than—that in the nation as a whole?This issue brief attempts to answer these and other questions about current and emerging workforce trends related to the rise in green infrastructure activities. It summarizes the results of research conducted by Jobs for the Future (JFF) as part of NatureWORKS, a national initiative to understand the jobs, careers, skills, credentials, and potential of the U.S. green infrastructure workforce. The study was funded by the U.S. Forest Service's National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program as recommended by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, NUCFAC.The research focused on occupations involved in the direct installation, maintenance, and inspection (IMI) of the green infrastructure (GI) and their first-line supervisors. This report describes the GI-IMI involvement of occupations whose work includes green infrastructure activities. It also discusses the emerging movement to certify green infrastructure workers in the stormwater management field as a way to both raise the quality of GI work and promote green infrastructure implementation, thereby expanding the workforce.

Trends in Smart City Development

January 5, 2017

This report examines the meanings and practices associated with the term 'smart cities.' Smart city initiatives involve three components: information and communication technologies (ICTs) that generate and aggregate data; analytical tools which convert that data into usable information; and organizational structures that encourage collaboration, innovation, and the application of that information to solve public problems.

Chock Full of Data: How School Districts are Building Leader Tracking Systems to Support Pipelines

July 27, 2016

At one time, finding an assistant principal for a public school in Denver entailed a search through "a gajillion résumés," in the words of one local school district administrator. Even then, some ideal candidates likely fell through the cracks. Those days are over, owing to the development by Denver Public Schools of a "leader tracking system," a database of information about the training, qualifications and performance of principals and aspiring principals.This Story From the Field examines how Denver and five other school districts have constructed and are using these systems as they seek to better train, hire and support school principals. All six districts are taking part in the Principal Pipeline Initiative, a Wallace Foundation-funded effort to help the school systems develop a large corps of strong school principals and generate lessons for the field.In addition to aiding district officials in identifying strong principal and assistant principal candidates and matching them to the right schools, the leader tracking systems are helping in efforts to forecast job vacancies, pinpoint principal training topics and spot potential principal mentors. The districts are also beginning to use the systems to share aggregate information about the performance of principals with the preparation programs from which the principals graduated.The publication makes clear that developing a leader tracking system takes time and effort. It describes, for example, how determining what information to collect, and then finding it, proved to be a key but time-consuming task, not least because essential data could be housed in different niches of the school bureaucracies.

Evaluating and Supporting Principals

January 1, 2016

This report analyzes the progress of these districts in implementing the fourth key component, evaluation and support systems aligned with the district-adopted standards for leaders. Consistent with the initiative's philosophy that evaluations can be a positive source of guidance for improving practice, districts have agreed to provide novice principals with support tailored to their needs, as identified by evaluations. The ultimate goal of this support—which includes support from supervisors, coaching or mentoring, and professional development—is to strengthen principals' capacity to improve teaching and learning.

Innovation Lab For Museums: Case Studies in Innovation and Adaptive Capacity

September 4, 2015

This case study on Latino New South follows the journey and partnerships of three cultural institutions -- the Levine Museum of the New South (Charlotte, NC), the Atlanta History Center (Atlanta, GA), and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL). These three organizations entered the Innovation Lab for Museums with the intention of making their programs and institutions more resonant with, and responsive to, the fast-growing Latino communities in their respective cities.

A People's History Of Recent Urban Transportation Innovation

August 3, 2015

Who are the people leading the charge in urban transportation? As our report explains, the short answer is that it takes leaders from three different sectors of urban society to make change happen quickly.First, there needs to be a robust civic vanguard, the more diverse their range of skills and participation, the better. Second, mayors, commissioners and other city leaders need to create the mandate and champion the change. The third sector is the agency staff. When these three sectors align, relatively quick transformation is possible. Several cities, including New York and Pittsburgh, recently experienced this alignment of a healthy civic community, a visionary and bold mayor and transportation head, and internal agency champions. Our report also highlighted the potential of other cities, such as Charlotte, where the civic sector continues to build on and widen their base.

Districts Taking Charge of the Principal Pipeline

January 21, 2015

Six urban school districts received support from The Wallace Foundation to address the critical challenge of supplying schools with effective principals. The experiences of these districts may point the way to steps other districts might take toward this same goal. Since 2011, the districts have participated in the Principal Pipeline Initiative, which set forth a comprehensive strategy for strengthening school leadership in four interrelated domains of district policy and practice:Leader standards to which sites align job descriptions, preparation, selection, evaluation, and support.Preservice preparation that includes selective admissions to high-quality programs.Selective hiring, and placement based on a match between the candidate and the school.On-the-job evaluation and support addressing the capacity to improve teaching and learning, with support focused on needs identified by evaluation.The initiative also brought the expectation that district policies and practices related to school leaders would build the district's capacity to advance its educational priorities. The evaluation of the Principal Pipeline Initiative has a dual purpose: to analyze the processes of implementing the required components in the participating districts from 2011 through 2015; and then to assess the results achieved in schools led by principals whose experiences in standards-based preparation, hiring, evaluation, and support have been consistent with the initiative's requirements. This report addresses implementation of all components of the initiative as of 2014, viewing implementation in the context of districts' aims, constraints, and capacity.

Building Community Partnerships in Support of a Postsecondary Completion Agenda

January 22, 2014

This report highlights key lessons from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Community Partnerships portfolio evaluation. It assesses the communities' progress over the course of the investment, and describes their work in the areas of building public commitment, using data, building and sustaining partnerships, and aligning policies and practices. The OMG Center served as the national evaluator of this initiative and the report also discusses the steps these communities can take to sustain their programs.