System for Continuous Data Collection and Progress Monitoring
Any neighborhood that wishes to ensure youths’ successful development needs to reach, listen to, and involve the residents of the neighborhood. This is particularly true for families with children. We need to understand their needs, assess how nurturing they are, and support greater nurturance where needed. We also need to know about neighborhood conditions that stress or support and protect families and children.
The PNRC is creating a sophisticated website to collect and manage longitudinal data in school and neighborhood change efforts. As noted above, we have already identified most of the archival and survey measures that will be needed for the Promise Neighborhood intervention. The system is designed to provide ongoing summaries of recently collected data that will enable the delivery of services to those who need them and the evaluation and refinement of the system of solutions.
For example, aggregate data about the state of schools, families, and the neighborhood will be used to educate neighborhood residents and community leaders about the highest priority needs of the neighborhood, including the families and schools within them. This information can underscore the need for policy changes and point to the need for new intervention efforts. At the same time, such data can be used to publicize successful trends, such as increasing levels of social cohesion or improving student achievement tests. Such “good news” can strengthen support for intervention efforts and affect the sustainability of the effort.
For example, surveys of families will identify those that would benefit from learning more about cultivating their children’s cognitive development. The data system will produce a report about the needs of each family that will prompt referrals to the organizations that can provide those services.