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Why You Should Consider Implementing STEM Curriculum

It’s all the buzz right now, so what is STEM? The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It’s an approach to education that’s designed to revolutionize the typical teaching of subjects like math and science by incorporating technology and engineering into regular curriculum. STEM Education shifts the typical teacher-centered classroom by encouraging a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning and hands-on activities. Some programs have added “A” for art making the acronym “STEAM”. By adding art, educators are promoting creativity and flexible thinking among students in a science and mathematics context. Workforce and economic development experts strongly support the need for a STEM/STEAM focus, which may be why it’s such a hot topic right

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How Are Indiana’s Youngest Children Doing? The 2018 ELAC Annual Report Gives Insight.

Indiana’s Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) just released its 2018 Annual Report—the fifth since ELAC’s inception in 2013. Annually, ELAC completes a needs assessment for the state’s early learning system and recommends solutions. The goal is to baseline where Indiana is using key indicators and to make best practice recommendations to address the gaps. The result of this year’s annual needs assessment is three key reports and tools:  ELAC’s seven appointed members work alongside 150 workgroup volunteers who focus on different aspects of the state’s early learning system. All this energy centers on providing early childhood care and education that is accessible, high-quality, and affordable to all families. How Are Children Ages 0-5 Doing Today? Of the 506,761 children in

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Research Spotlight: Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs

At Transform Consulting Group, we make it a priority to stay current with the latest research and trends across our clients’ sectors. For example, we wrote in a previous blog about a new practice where programs are using a two-generational approach, which looks to achieve greater impact through services that support both children and adults. Many times, those program models are based on research that support their success. In this blog, we spotlight an innovative study that is being used in many sectors: the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study. What is the ACEs Study? Between 1995 and 1997, Dr. Vince Felitti from Kaiser-Permanente and Dr. Bob Anda with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducted surveys of more than 17,000 adults

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3 Tips to Scale Up Your Social Program

Social programs are often developed to address service-gaps within communities. As the program evolves and retains strong outcomes over time, organizations may look for ways to expand the services. The Wallace Foundation recently produced a report called Strategies to Scale Up Social Programs. In this report, researchers conducted a study focusing on what it takes to scale up programs and identified three key strategies. Three Strategies to Consider to Scale Up Your Program 1. Organizational Structure: There are three organizational structures to consider when determining the proper path for scaling up a program. Branching:  If an organization chooses “branching” as a strategy, the program will be offered at multiple sites under the control of the lead organization. Utilizing this strategy

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4 Ways to Raise Awareness for Your Cause

There are so many worthy causes to support, which can make it tricky when working to promote YOURS. How can you leverage specific times of the year to create buzz around your mission? How do you make your campaign stand out against the others? One important project that our team is proud to manage is the Indiana Heart Gallery for the Indiana Department of Child Services. The Heart Gallery is a traveling photo exhibit featuring children in foster care who are available for adoption. (You can learn more in this past blog post). While we work year-round to promote foster adoption, we really amp up our efforts during November which is National Adoption Month. We latch onto the buzz already

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How to use 990 tax forms for grant writing?

Writing grants can be a long, arduous process.  In this past blog, we talked about five steps for grant writing.  Once you have identified possible funders who share alignment with your organization’s mission and goals, you want to gather more information to make a compelling grant request. Some helpful things to know about a possible funder before submitting a grant application are the following: Who have they funded in the past? How much have been their grants? What have been the projects / services funded? Who is on their Board of Directors? This research is not an absolute that would change your grant proposal but would help inform the overall approach and priorities to pitch. In general you want to know

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How to Create a Fund Development Plan

At Transform Consulting Group, we know how stressful and time consuming it can be to find funding sources that match an organization’s mission and vision that are also sustainable for future growth. We have found that taking the time to create a fund development plan and have some additional resources on-hand can greatly reduce the stress and confusion related to finding (and landing!) funding. In this blog, we will share some of the tips and strategies we use with clients to formalize their fund development plans. Start with the END in Mind Before you choose which fundraising strategy to pursue, you need a clear vision of where you (and your Board) want your organization to be as a result of

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3 Steps to Facilitate a Strategic Planning Retreat

What comes to mind when someone says the word “retreat”? In the dictionary, “retreat” has a few different meanings: an act of moving back or withdrawing; a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax; an act of changing one’s decisions, plans, or attitude, especially as a result of criticism from others. If we apply these definitions to a “planning retreat”, we can conclude that it is a meeting where a group can step back from regular daily activities to discuss decisions, plans and goals to help inform a strategic plan and future decisions. This means you don’t need to leave town to have an effective planning retreat! Whether you are leading a planning retreat or participating

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Shared Services: How Can Your Organization Maximize Impact While Minimizing Costs?

Many organizations struggle to secure enough funding to have the maximum impact on the goals aligned to their mission. In addition to seeking new funding to support your organization’s goals, you can examine your current expenses to find ways of reducing costs in order to put more money into programs that help accomplish your mission. There is a national trend of small and medium-size organizations coming together to “share services,” specifically noncore business services. If your business or organization is small, you may not have the budget to enable you to hire specialists on your staff for all operations, such as payroll, human resources, marketing, and accounting. By participating in shared services, your organization might be increasing your funding by

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Does Your Organization Have a Continuous Quality Improvement Process?

During a time where communities and policies are changing, it is important to ensure the programs and services within those communities are constantly evolving to meet the needs of families. The Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) model is an on-going process for organizations to be able to determine whether or not a change made led to an improvement in quality. In order to move towards making the necessary improvements, a review of what occurred is conducted through a CQI process like the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle. Steps to Complete a PDSA Cycle At Transform Consulting Group, we utilize this consistent approach when working with organizations to help them find solutions. Plan: Before beginning your PDSA cycle, you will need to have identified

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