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Grit: the New It Factor for Student Success

  What is the best predictor of student success? IQ? Family income? Out-of-school involvement? Standardized test scores? Researchers have been trying to figure out the answer to that question for decades. In fact, each of the suggestions above has been prominent ideas at one time or another. However, psychological researchers are now suggesting that the success predictor may be something completely different: “grit”. Grit has yet to become a household term, but it is being defined as something close to passion and perseverance for long term goals. It can be understood as a conglomeration of a number of commonly known traits and behaviors: goal-directedness, motivation, self-control, and a positive mindset. And while these character traits may be well-known (and perhaps

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Client Spotlight: Metropolitan School District of Washington Township

  Last month, Transform Consulting Group had the opportunity to work with the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township (MSDWT) in the development of their federal grant application for the School Climate Transformation Grant – Local Education Agency to improve school climate and behavioral outcomes for all students. In 2013, the President proposed a comprehensive plan, “Now is the Time,” to protect our children and communities by reducing gun violence, making schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services.   The School Climate Transformation Grant Program is one of several Federal programs designed to work together to help make schools safer and improve mental health services for students and young adults. Although schools have long attempted to address issues of discipline, disruptive and problem behavior, violence, and

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Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) 2014 Report to the Governor and Legislative Council

  On June 30, 2014, Indiana’s Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) released its initial report to the Governor and Legislative Council.  ELAC was created as part of legislation passed during the 2013 session.  ELAC’s vision is to ensure that children ages birth to 8 years and their families have access to high quality early childhood education programs that keep children healthy, safe and learning. The eight members of ELAC are accompanied by over 120 volunteers serving in 7 ELAC workgroups, addressing specific aspects of this work.  The volunteers represent higher education, the business community, legislative and executive branch participants, not for profit organizations, and state employees – all of whom see enormous potential from wise investments in accessible, affordable, high quality early

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Pay for Success Federal Grant Opportunity

  The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Social Innovation Fund is accepting proposals for the Pay for Success (PFS) grant.  PFS has a simple, yet fundamental goal: Find what works and make it work for more people.  PFS initiatives currently underway address key issues such as recidivism, workforce development, early childhood education, health interventions and chronic homelessness. PFS offers a financing solution that changes the way the government allocates and invests its resources, minimizing risk and maximizing return on taxpayer dollars. Basically, the government only pays for demonstrated results. External organizations and investors put up the capital for social services and are reimbursed only if outcomes are achieved. The PFS grant competition seeks to award nonprofit organizations, city

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New Framework for Family-School Partnership

  Children whose parents are involved in their education get better grades, are better behaved and have better futures. In other words, your involvement can make a big difference for your child today and tomorrow (Henderson and Mapp, 2002).  Building family-school partnerships take time and can be challenging.  Recognizing the importance of family engagement in student learning, the U.S. Department of Education has created the Dual Capacity Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships. This framework, best represented by the image here, is meant to provide schools and organizations with a logical model to follow in constructing, implementing, and assessing family-school partnerships. The model highlights the different foundational needs of family-engagement initiatives, the structural requirement needed by the school in order to

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2014 National Nonprofit Survey Results

  Recently, NFF released its 2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey. Taken by over 5,000 nonprofit leaders from all over the United States, the survey gives a broad illustration on how nonprofits are operating and growing in today’s economy. Some of the key questions that the survey addresses includes: How does your nonprofit compare to other nonprofits? What challenges are other nonprofit leaders working to address? What are the current trends of nonprofits in America? The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) can help you discover the answers. Interesting facts discovered from the survey include the following: 80% of nonprofits experienced increased demand for services Over half were unable to meet this demand in the previous year 31% of nonprofits are undergoing

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New Team Member, Kyle Wehmann

  Transform Consulting Group is thrilled to welcome our newest team member, Kyle Wehmann!  As a Project Consultant, Kyle will manage client accounts, provide research and writing support and assist with business development. Kyle has diverse experience in working with individuals, families and communities.  While her true passion lies in macro-level work, she feels her one-on-one work with individuals who need access to community resources gave her a ground-level perspective on “what works” and what doesn’t when it come to public services. Kyle Wehmann received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) and her Master’s in Public Sociology and Criminology from UNCW.  While at UNCW, Kyle helped write a NC State policy brief on

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It’s Raining Data in April

  Over the last month, a deluge of data has poured out of the Indiana Department of Education concerning Indiana’s public schools, student performance, and teacher effectiveness. Parents, school administrators, researchers, non-profits, and other interested parties will find this data a great resource for various decision-making circumstances. Below are summaries of some of the new data that has been released this month: Educator Effectiveness Since the implementation of Indiana RISE, school corporations have been required to observe, rate, and publicize the effectiveness ratings of its teachers.  All teachers must be scored on scale of “highly effective,” “effective,” “needs improvement,” or “ineffective”; however, it should be noted that not all schools use the same evaluation criteria.  The educator effectiveness data from the

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Innovation School Fellowship Opportunity for Educational Entrepreneurs

  For almost a decade, The Mind Trust has been funding and supporting innovative initiatives to change the face of education in Indianapolis, and their impact has been hard to ignore. Transform Consulting Group highlighted The Mind Trust’s “ripple effect” work last fall in a blog post. In 2008, The Mind Trust began a search for educational entrepreneurs to serve as fellows as they create and birth significant reform movements. The newest program, another fellowship,  is the Innovation School Fellowship. This ground-breaking opportunity will give education leaders the opportunity to partner with the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to start new schools, called Innovation Network Schools. The selected Innovation School Fellows will be able to utilize IPS buildings and resources through

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i3 Validation and Scale-Up Federal Grants

  The U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) program was developed in order to support educational initiatives that proved to be effective in improving student achievement. The i3 program targets initiatives that improve student growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase graduation rates, or increase college acceptance and attendance rates. Transform Consulting Group highlighted the i3 grant opportunity last year. The overall grant focus and structure has not changed, and the timeline remains somewhat the same. The i3 program comes in three different grant opportunities. The first, Developmental grants, finished their pre-application process on March 14th. However, two more grant opportunities remain: Validation grants and Scale-up grants. Both of these grants fund the development of already existing projects

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