Common Causes

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The movement to link family-support services to schools has too often traveled on a separate track from academically oriented school reform--and bypassed teachers completely. So the Danforth Foundation has kicked off a project to try to connect the two movements at the classroom level.

The foundation has selected 20 Title I elementary and middle schools in five states for the project, which will help teachers design strategies to restructure their classrooms, form partnerships with parents and community agencies, and use Title I funding more creatively.

Katharine Hooper-Briar and Hal A. Lawson, two experts in school-community collaboration at Miami University in Ohio, are the lead consultants for the Successful Schools project and have begun preliminary meetings with the schools.

For more information, write Brenda Hostetler, Danforth Foundation, 231 S. Bemiston St., Suite 1080, St. Louis, Mo.63105-1996.

Cities need comprehensive, timely data to plan effective strategies for children and families. With that goal in mind, the Urban Institute, a Washington-based research group, has a project to help cities use computerized data systems to stay abreast of changing neighborhood social and economic conditions.

Although the project hopes eventually to spread its work nationwide, the planning and testing phase targets seven cities: Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Denver; Oakland, Calif., and Providence, R.I. Four of the cities already have systems that incorporate data on school outcomes, and the rest are moving in that direction.

The project, supported by six foundations, is working closely with neighborhood groups to develop indicators for the communities involved.

For more information on the National Neighborhood Indicators Project, call or write Kara Hartnett, Urban Institute, 2100 M St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037;(202) 857-8677.

California State University at Monterey Bay has set up a center to promote collaborative approaches to serving children and families. The Institute for Community Collaborative Studies conducts research and training on integrating health, education, human services, probation, arts and humanities, and parks and recreation.

For more information, call or write Rae Grad, California State University, Monterey Bay, 100 Campus Center, Seaside, Calif. 93955-8001; (408) 582-3624.

The Council of Chief State School Officers, with support from three foundations, has been working with decisionmakers from 10 states on crafting policies that cut across traditional agency boundaries.

The project, Ensuring Student Success Through Collaboration, has provided workshops and technical help to the teams, which include high-level officials in education, health, and human services as well as private-sector and community leaders. Participants from the states--Arkansas, California, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin--met last month in San Francisco to set their agendas for the year and discuss how changes in federal programs will affect their state collaborations.

An issue brief by the council describes the project and diagrams policy initiatives in each state to make education and human services more family-oriented and results-driven.

For more information or copies of the brief, call or write Bill Shepardson, Council of Chief State School Officers, 1 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20001;(202) 336-7035.

--Deborah L. Cohen

Vol. 15, Issue 11

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