By: Steven Van Auken, AmeriCorps VISTA
Thank you to all who attended the 2015 Kansas City GradNation Mobility Summit! We had a tremendous turnout and through the collaboration of attendees, we have come away with new insight on the causes of mobility, ways we can harness technology to present data on mobility, and ways to mitigate the effects mobility has on chronic absenteeism.
A big thanks to Dr. Russ Rumberger and Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight for their presentations about student mobility on both the national and local level. Dr. Rumberger provided a national context on student mobility, highlighting the negative impacts it has on children and families. With the research and data provided by KC-AREC we are now able to quantify just how big of a problem this is across the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Community leaders took part in Community Solution Groups facilitated by The Lean Lab. These groups designed programs to address issues surrounding highly mobile families. The following are the top voted pitches from the summit. We invite you to sign up to become a part of these solutions, and encourage any feedback on these ideas, further solutions, the summit in general, and which programs you believe are most important.
Top Solution Pitches as Voted by Attendees
HUB OF HOPE (HOH)
This program would create a “one stop shop” for parents that are struggling with issues associated with poverty. It would create a resource center for monetary items such as housing, rent, and utility assistance. In addition, it would give parents resources for job placement assistance, skill building, health services, etc. The idea of this program is that the centers would be located either in or near schools to ensure that parents are getting their kids to school as well as having adequate access to the aforementioned resources.
PARENT2PARENT EDUCATION AMBASSADORS/MENTORING PROGRAM
This program would focus on parents of kids who are entering a new school. It would set parents up with school ambassadors(staff,pta members, etc.), who would work on fostering relationships that encourage parents to set a high value on their children’s education. It would give parents resources to problems they might face while their children are entering a new school, and discourage parents from changing schools in the future due to positive school relationships having been established.
YOU BELONG HERE
This program aims to reduce absenteeism and dropout rates by focusing on Attendance, Behavior, and Course performance evaluation. It places at risk kids in tiered mentor/peer groups 3 days a week. The different days are led by adult/peer mentors and focus on the following: Establishing a sense of belonging;Discussing challenges that students are facing in their everyday lives, and giving them avenues and resources for dealing with these problems; Evaluating how each week is going based on attendance, behavior, and course performance.
This program would create a smartphone application to reduce the time it takes to enroll in a new school when a student is changing address or changing schools for other reasons. It would pair students with available schools, give families information on potential schools, and give necessary resources for making a smooth transition.
For those who prefer to not use a technology based solution, there would also be a Schoolify Mobility Center where parents could come in with their children in person and accomplish the same tasks.
STUDENT LOCKER & MAPS (Missouri Academic Portal Solution)
These solutions focus on reducing the time it takes for enrollment in a new school by creating a streamlined database of individual student records. They would allow instant access of necessary enrollment documents including birth certificates, social security cards, proof of residency forms, etc. to administrators granted access.The benefit of these systems is that they would make enrollment instant in comparison to current practices that often take 10 days to play a child in a school.
We appreciate the support of America’s Promise, AT&T, Mayor Sly James’ Office, KC-AERC, the Missouri Humanities Council, the United Way of Greater Kansas City, the Local Investment Commission, The Lean Lab, Jackson County Combat, and many other partners. The Summit wouldn’t have been possible without these groups. Please join The Lean Lab on September 17th for a Happy Hour featuring a follow up discussion on the Summit.