GAME CHANGER | City of Ideas
Issue to be Addressed:
Game Changer proposes to address issues that lead to student/family disenfranchisement and ultimately to discipline, attendance, and drop out concerns. Specifically, we plan to address the following:
-Student engagement (in school, in out-of-school time programming, in the community)
-Student technology knowledge and use
-Student collaboration and problem solving
-Student connection to community and the community’s connection to and support of the youth
-Student planning for future career (including course and high school selection)
-High school graduation rate**
-Student sense of belonging (within the program and within the community)
-Assurance that students have a connected, caring adult (in addition to parents) who can help them stay focused on meeting positive goals
*Parent engagement has been shown to increase student achievement by as much as 25% (Rosenzweig, C. 2001)
**According to Boston Public School’s Office of Research Assessment and Evaluation, significant disparities in four-year graduation rates existed in 2011:
According to the Promising Practices Network (http://goo.gl/YjlyW), the following supports are identified as having a positive impact on graduation rates:
-Promoting close relationships with caring adults
We will incorporate these strategies into our out-of-school time program that will support 60 grade 5/6 boys of color. We’ll begin with parent/child technology-training sessions where they will learn as a team. The technology is both an incentive and a means through which we’ll communicate with parents and teach students problem solving. We’ll provide the family with a new mobile device and a wifi device/service through which we will maintain close contact for the duration of the program. During the program’s second stage (summer program), staff will help students use web and app tools to develop their own “urban story” which will then be posted on a site of the students’ making. Also at this stage, college students will be engaged as mentors to support participants. Finally, during out-of-school programming, students will identify a community issue of shared concern, plan a tech intervention (app or game), and then present that information at community event(s) and to the City of Boston’s CIO and staff.
Role of Collaboration:
Project RIGHT: The role of Project RIGHT is to find, hire and manage staff, provide oversight for the program, ensure continued connections with family members, including the brokering of conversations between the family and the school. Additionally, Project RIGHT will oversee the mentor/protégé pairing and ensure positive and regular communication. Staff will implement the curriculum (technology, digital stories, problem identification, and problem solving) and provide the much-needed connection to community.
Tech Goes Home: The role of Tech Goes Home is to provide support and curriculum for the family technology training, using a currently successful project formula. They will provide data collection and analysis on an on-going basis, surveying and interviewing parents, students, staff and mentors. They will support on-going tech instruction, provide connections to tech innovators, support active participation in community efforts, and arrange an audience with the City of Boston (CIO Bill Oates) and the Office of New Urban Mechanics.
MassImpact: MassImpact will provide curriculum and assistance with regard to the summer learning experience, specifically the students’ digital storytelling efforts. Additionally, they will assist with on-going mentoring (including the provision of mentor training), will support community connections, and will assist students to prepare for the community presentation of their problem and solution. Thaddeus Miles, President at MassImpact and Director of Public Safety with Mass Housing, will arrange for an audience with Public Safety staff at MassHousing in order to provide an additional audience where the students can share their community presentation.
Boston Public Schools: Principals from the Frederick, King, and Trotter will assist in identifying appropriate participants, will help to make and maintain connections to families, will provide the needed data (given parent permission) and will provide space and support to the program. They will make connections to the school and district staff who can assist/ensure that there is appropriate access to technology and the Internet during program meetings.
Each of the partners on the Game Changer team is already familiar with the work of the other partners. We all have respect for one another’s work. However, we have worked mostly in isolation, despite the fact that we all work in Grove Hall. We were more like a collection of supports, rather than an amalgam of supports. With the funding from Collaborate Boston, we would be able to work as an integrated team, each bringing a different strength to the partnership. This partnership will then provide the group of boys with a stronger, more thoughtful, and more powerful opportunity to learn and grow.
The funding will pay for project staff (direct care), a project manager, curriculum development and implementation, parent support, hardware and access, along with small stipends for the college students who will serve as mentors to the students. All members of the team will be in regular communication and will commit to working in collaboration to ensure we are meeting our goals. Through participation in Game Changer, students will be in regular contact with caring adults who hold them to high expectations and who provide them with the consistency, guidance and support to be successful.
All partners have had a long existing relationship, though we haven’t worked as a team on a project. We feel that while our programs are strong independently, we are much stronger as a team. In the past, we may each have supported a child independent of the other (and without the others’ knowledge). This collaboration will allow us to provide a stronger safety net and a deeper connection both for this group of boys and others we serve. In addition, we believe that we have the opportunity to influence the community’s understanding and support for the group (and hopefully other boys in the community) by showing the participants as problem solvers and not problem creators.
We will meet together monthly to discuss progress and to share suggestions and celebrations and will connect much more regularly via email and Google Hangout (including meetings with students in the program). We will act as a support to students as they define their problem and as a connection as they work to find a solution. We will join the students as audience supporters as they present their problem/solution to the community, to MassHousing staff, and to DoIT staff at the City of Boston.
Project RIGHT is an institution in the Grove Hall neighborhood. Project RIGHT staff work as political advocates and intervention specialists. They are involved in school success and safety planning, in connecting residents to resources, and are proactive supporters of providing a healthy, safe, and vibrant experience for all members of the community. Most importantly, Project RIGHT is seen as a trusted and respected partner in supporting the children of the neighborhood.
Manny Tikili, the Grove Hall Youth Outreach Connection Coordinator at Grove Hall, received a BA from BU and completed the DeVos Urban Leadership Institute. He has worked in Grove Hall for over 15 years, is closely connected to the community, has successfully intervened and prevented gang violence, and is respected and revered by all. He has led other successful initiatives where he hired, trained, and evaluated staff. Manny will be the project manager for Game Changers, coordinating all the services provided.
Mairead Nolan, Principal at the Tobin School; Donna Mack, Principal at the Frederick School; Jessica Bolt, Principal at the King School – Boston Public Schools (all schools are located in Grove Hall)
Deb Socia, the Executive Director at Tech Goes Home, a program that has supported 7600 Boston residents in the past two years. Participants in TGH receive training, technology, and low cost access. A long-time educator and former Principal of the Frederick, Deb has remained active in the community and serves on the board of two Grove Hall non-profits. Deb will serve as project coordinator for Game Changer, bringing together all collaborators to plan, create, and evaluate progress.
Thaddeus Miles, the Director of Public Safety at MassHousing and President of MassImpact, a non-profit that provides training and technology for under-served residents. His digital story-telling curriculum implementation and outcomes have been well received across a wide audience.
Mike Kozu, the Grove Hall Community Coordinator at Project RIGHT and long-time, well-respected advocate for community members, the Grove Hall schools, and the neighborhood.