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Alternative Dispatch Programs: A Strategy for Improving Emergency Responses and Reducing Police Violence

June 4, 2021

Approximately 240 million calls are made to 911 every year in the United States. Only a small fraction of these calls are for serious or violent crimes. Even in communities with high homicide rates such as Baltimore, Camden, New Haven, and New Orleans, fewer than 4 percent of 911 calls are related to violent crimes. Instead, the majority of these calls are related to incidents of disorderly conduct, noise complaints, suspicious people or cars, mental health issues, substance use, and homelessness.Programs that deploy public health professionals and crisis workers to situations involving mental health, substance use, and homelessness—referred to as alternative dispatch programs—offer an emerging solution that can save lives and provide critical services to those in need. Alternative dispatch programs utilize first responders who are specifically trained to resolve the emergencies that most commonly arise in communities with methods that address root problems and minimize the risk of force or deeper involvement with the justice system. These programs provide communities with a critical means for addressing crises, while also freeing police to focus on preventing and solving serious crimes.

Food Over Fear: Overcoming Barriers to Connect Latinx Immigrant Families to Federal Nutrition and Food Programs

December 1, 2020

This report sheds light on why many immigrant families are forgoing vital assistance from federal nutrition and food programs and lifts up recommendations aimed at ensuring that all families and individuals, regardless of immigration status, are nourished and healthy.While the findings of this report are informed by a series of focus groups conducted from November 2019 to January 2020 (prior to the onset of COVID-19), the need to connect immigrant families to nutrition programs is arguably of even greater importance given how COVID-19 is fueling unprecedented food insecurity and ravaging communities of color and immigrant communities at disproportionately high rates due to unique barriers faced by families that include noncitizens.

Cross-Community Evaluation Findings 2019: for the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative

July 1, 2020

Four years into this collective effort to aggregate and analyze data of communities in the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, we are beginning to yield some findings that are consistent year-over-year—and actionable. This report presents the findings of evaluation work completed during the 2018–2019 program year and homes in on those findings most ripe for appreciation and action.There is a strong correlation between teens' connection to Jewish values and and the influence those values have on the livesteens choose to lead. Substantive Jewish content creates a sense of belonging, a desire to do good in the world, and a platformfor teens to build friendships—these peer relationships also contribute to strong Jewish outcomes overall. Importantly, the report concludes with recommendations applicable beyond the 10 community-based teen initiatives, informing any organization committed to effective teen programs, professional development for youth professionals, and affordability of programs for parents.The report draws from a variety of sources to offer a snapshot of a moment in time, and evaluation alone cannot provide the full picture of tectonic shifts occurring on the ground in these 10 communities. Extremely complex efforts involving stakeholders, implementers, and the communities are making lasting and positive changes to the culture impacting teen engagement.We encourage you to read the complementary case studies documenting the work, along with previous reports, all found onthe Learnings page of TeenFunderCollaborative.com. 

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.

An Inclusive Approach to School Safety Collaborative Efforts to Combat the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Denver

June 1, 2018

The Denver Police Department (DPD), Denver Public Schools (DPS), and community organizations in the Denver area have built a collaborative approach to school safety and positive youth development designed to combat the school-toprison pipeline. Together, these organizations advocate a comprehensive approach to safety in which schools' disciplinary policies avoid removing students from the classroom, social service providers are substantively included in ongoing safety efforts, and students within the juvenile justice system are included in youth engagement efforts. The goals are to establish positive relationships between students, faculty, school staff members, and school resource officers; prioritize student wellbeing; and involve police only as a last resort following efforts to de-escalate conflict.Early indicators show that Denver's approach is working: In the last five years, rates of student suspension, expulsion, and referral to law enforcement have declined despite a 6 percent increase in total student enrollment over the same period. From the 2012–2013 school year to the 2014–2015 school year, district-wide in-school suspensions declined by 35 percent, out-of-school suspensions by 15 percent, expulsions by 32 percent, and referrals to law enforcement by 30 percent. What's more, the total number of behavioral incidents reported to DPS declined by 9 percent over the same period, indicating that the number of potential safety risks to students has decreased following changes in policy and practice.Viewing these efforts holistically, this report identifies a number of promising practices and lessons learned thatpractitioners, policymakers, and researchers may consider when engaging with students around the country

The "Crime Gun Intelligence Center" Model: Case Studies of the Denver, Milwaukee and Chicago Approaches to Investigating Gun Crime

May 1, 2017

One recent development in the battle against gun violence has shown promise, however. That involves the use of technology to streamline and support police enforcement and investigatory efforts against criminals who carry guns. This report examines one of these promising technology-based applications: the Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) model. CGICs are an interagency collaboration among local police departments, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and other partners such as state and local prosecutors, to identify perpetrators of gun crime for immediate investigation, apprehension, and prosecution. CGICs combine state-of-the-art analytical technology, data processing systems, and good old-fashioned detective work to help police agencies more quickly analyze ballistic evidence, establish connections among seemingly unrelated crimes, and build criminal cases targeting both gun traffickers and trigger-pullers.

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.

The Denver Foundation: An Impact Report

October 3, 2016

This past summer, you received an Impact Report on our work in the areas of Education and Economic Opportunity which highlighted The Denver Foundation's Common Sense Discipline and Impact Investment programs. Now we're sharing an Impact Report on progress in The Denver Foundation's Basic Human Needs and Leadership & Equity objective areas. The Community Navigator and Nonpro fi t Internship programs are innovative approaches that wouldn't be happening without the support of The Denver Foundation.

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.

Green Schoolyards: A Growing Movement Supporting Health, Education, and Connection with Nature

March 21, 2016

In May 2015, a national summit convened in Chicago to take an in-depth look at green schoolyards. At this summit, practitioners, advocates, researchers and others shared their knowledge and experiences and explored innovative approaches for advancing green schoolyards. This report shares the collective experience and knowledge of the participants and explores some of these new and emerging opportunities.Successful green schoolyard programs in six cities across the country are examined in case studies in this report. These studies distill important factors that helped to determine project success, including diverse partnerships and funding mechanisms, carefully leveraged policy at every level and documented impact that wins support.

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.

Narrowing The Charter Enrollment Gap: Denver's Common-Enrollment System

December 8, 2015

As charter schools continue their rapid expansion in America's cities, questions related to equitable access to these schools of choice have jumped to the forefront of the policy conversation. Indeed, the proportion of students in charters with classifications that suggest that they are difficult to educate -- such as students with disabilities, those who are not proficient in English, and those who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch -- is often substantially below their respective proportions in traditional ("district") public schools. This paper uses longitudinal data from Denver to measure whether adoption of common enrollment increased the proportion of disadvantaged students enrolled in that city's charter elementary schools. It finds that Denver's adoption of common enrollment substantially increased the proportion of students enrolling in charter kindergartens who are minority, eligible for free/reduced-priced lunch, or speak English as a second language. Importantly, this paper considers only one specific effect of common enrollment on the charter-school sector. While policymakers should take a more expansive measure of the merits of common enrollment before adopting it, this paper suggests that an effective way to boost disadvantaged students' enrollment in charters is to make applying to them easier.