Counseling Works, Learning Works Charter School. Learning Works Charter School (LW) is committed to sure all youth in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre attaining a high school diploma and understands that youth require strong support through counseling and mental services to remain engaged and continue their education. Public Works established the Learning Works Mental Health Team to meet weekly to implement the grant and case manage all enrolled youth. The grant focused on graduation, part-time jobs, and postsecondary placement in education or a job and measures of success for particular participants including probation youth and teen mothers. PW served as the evaluator for this grant and prepared all required federal reports.
Evaluation of the Valley Neighborhoods Collaborative, Los Angeles Education Partnership. Public Works served as the evaluator of the Valley Neighborhoods Collaborative, a community schools initiative led by the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) that centered around the three LAUSD high schools in the Northeast Valley of Los Angeles County. Research focused on the extent to which the Valley Neighborhoods Collaborative and its neighborhood partnerships at San Fernando, Sylmar, and Arleta High Schools (beginning in Years 1, 2, and 3 of the grant, respectively) have: (1) increased parent involvement in their children’s education; (2) increased academic skills of high school students participating in academic enrichment and intervention programs; (3) increased youth eligibility and preparation for postsecondary opportunities; and (4) increased communication and service coordination among service providers, schools, and community members. Evaluation methods included staff, student, and stakeholder surveys, student focus groups, interviews with service providers, analysis of student and parent attendance data from partnering service providers, and analysis of a variety of school-wide and student academic achievement indicators such as graduation rate, completion of the courses required for admission into UC/CSU, and California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) passing rates. Public Works also participated in monthly meetings with LAEP as part of the initiative’s coordination team, monthly resource council meetings at the high schools, and quarterly collaborative meetings with all school stakeholders. As part of the project, Public Works submitted semi-annual Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) reports to the U.S. Department of Education, as well as semi-annual summative evaluation reports to LAEP and other initiative stakeholders.
Evaluation of Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant Initiative, Local District 8 of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Public Works served as the local evaluator of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant initiative at Washington Preparatory Senior High School and its 19 feeder schools in south Los Angeles. Research focused on the extent to which the initiative—a collaboration between 20 elementary and secondary schools, local law enforcement, county social service agencies, and community-based organizations—enhanced the safety of the twenty grantee schools and their surrounding communities and improved the health of students at those schools.Evaluation methods included staff and student surveys, focus groups and interviews with school and project staff and community partners, as well as analysis of a variety of school-level data such as truancy rates, suspensions and expulsions, referrals to mental health services, probation youth outcomes, and student participation in alcohol and drug prevention and intervention programs. Public Works also participated in monthly meetings with the initiative’s project team and external partners, quarterly meetings with the schools’ principals, and quarterly meetings with parent representatives and other school stakeholders.
Consultant, The Frostig Center. Public Works served as a consultant to The Frostig Center, a company dedicated to improving education for students with learning disabilities. Consulting activities included three internal meetings, reviewing financial information and marketing materials, meetings with the Board and the development of a plan for key focus areas, especially Fund Development. Public Works drafted a plan for The Frostig Center based on these consultation services.
Evaluator, Mustangs on the Move, Flintridge Operating Foundation. Public Works served as the evaluator for Mustangs on the Move, a collaboration of nonprofit organizations and community members in Pasadena, CA. Public Works evaluated the effectiveness of the program that targeted high school students at John Muir High School. Evaluation activities included collection of attendance data; analysis of student outcomes data including a match to a demographically similar group of students; collection and analysis of partnership data; development and administration of a student survey; and development and administration of a parent survey. Public Works provided four summary reports of the data to Mustangs on the Move.
Evaluation of the Reach for the Stars After-School Program, Whittier City School District (WCSD). Public Works has served as the external evaluator for the WCSD’s after-school program funded through a combination of federal (21st Century Learning Center) and state (After School Education and Safety) and local (After School Enrichment Program) funding sources. Evaluation methods include monitoring after-school attendance, conducting site visits to each of nine participating schools, rating each school’s after-school program based on a performance rubric, and surveying teachers of students involved in after-school programs. In addition to reporting on implementation of the after-school programs, evaluation reports have included analysis of student outcomes (standardized test scores and regular school day attendance) of frequent after-school participants to students uninvolved in after-school programs controlling for demographic characteristics and prior academic achievement.
Evaluation of PasadenaLEARNs, Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). Public Works helped to meet the grant reporting requirements and provided training to an after-school program funded through County, State and Federal funds at 17 elementary and 3 middle schools in PUSD. Evaluative research examined the program’s impact on academic achievement as well as student behavior, leadership and community involvement. Evaluation methods included descriptive analysis of quantitative data linked to student performance on standardized tests and regular school day attendance and the compilation of qualitative data collected in previous years’ evaluation into narrative for reporting purposes. In addition, Public Works designed instruments and provided training to all after-school sites for the purposes of developing a peer-monitoring model in which sites self-evaluated and provided feedback to peers regarding program implementation.
Evaluation of the Early Childhood Program (ECP), Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). In the first phase of this evaluation, Public Works investigated the immediate effects of ECP, a pre-Kindergarten program targeting the academic, social, and emotional development of children ages three and four. Using a combination of interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and surveys, the evaluation assessed ECP in terms of its ability to prepare children for Kindergarten through an examination of program curriculum, intake and assessment procedures, instructional materials and resources, and interactions with parents. In the second phase of the evaluation, Public Works analyzed quantitative measures of student achievement for ECP graduates compared to Head Start participants and PUSD students not involved in either early childhood program. Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analyses isolated the independent effects of ECP participation on students’ standardized test scores controlling for demographic factors, grade level, and attendance.
Evaluation of PasadenaLEARNs and LACOE After-School Program, Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). Public Works is evaluating the effectiveness of a County, State and Federally-funded after school program in operation at fifteen PUSD elementary and middle schools, called PasadenaLEARNs and LACOE After-school. Evaluation strands include examinations of program implementation, student community involvement and leadership, and academic impact. Evaluation methods include site visits and interviews, survey analyses (K-2, 3-5, 5-8 student surveys, parent surveys, teacher surveys and provider survey), development of student-level database for program coordination and record-keeping, administration pre/post assessments of student literacy and mathematics achievement, leadership assessment and homework log. The evaluation includes selecting a control sample at each school site to compare to the after-school population in terms of student performance on measures such as SAT-9, New Standards Reference Exam, attendance and discipline.
Needs Assessment of Teen Program on Domestic Violence, Haven Hills and KYDS. Through a grant from the California Department of Health Services (DHS), Maternal and Child Health Branch/Domestic Violence, Public Works, Inc. and O’Mally International were contract to develop a plan for a two-year project that deals with the problems of relationship abuse among young people, ages 14-22, in West San Fernando Valley. Conducted a focused needs assessment that identified available programs and/or gaps in services; selected some strategies for intervention and prevention, and decided on workable solutions to set up a successful project. Techniques included one-on-one interviews, focus groups and surveys with teen clients of battered women’s shelters, staff from battered women’s shelters, like Haven Hills, staff from youth-serving agencies, like KYDS, and youth and adults from our local community. Work resulted in a Work Plan and Evaluation Plan.
Evaluation System for the Alumni House, Casey Family Foundation and Transition Partners. Public Works, Inc. is developing an intake and evaluation procedure for the Alumni House in Pasadena. The Alumni House provides housing, social services, job search and other information and support to graduate of foster care who are beginning to live independently. Strategies include a needs assessment of foster care youth in independent living programs, graduate of foster care, and community-based organizations providing service. After the needs assessment, intake procedures and data systems will be developed with a focus on user-friendly, limited burden systems. A process and outcome evaluation on effectiveness of services and activities delivered in under development.
Evaluation of Angel Gate Academy, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Public Works evaluated the Angel Gate Academy, a joint program between LAUSD, the National Guard and Cuesta Community College aimed at intervening with at-risk middle school students in a quasi-military, four-week experience. Evaluation methods included intensive focus groups with students and National Guard personnel, written student surveys, parent telephone interviews, transcript analysis and interview/observation techniques. A final report documenting program success and areas for further improvement was developed.
Evaluation of Pilot Special Education Project, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Public Works evaluated a pilot joint venture at Los Angeles Mission College providing work-based learning and career education for special education students 18-21 years old and classified as Mentally Retarded Moderate (MRM) or Specific Learning Disability (SLD). Public Works examined the implementation of the Center for Advanced Transition Skills Program is terms of its ability to provide participating students with opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills related to a potential career and place them on a job related to classroom instruction. Interview with program staff, employers, and students were the primary methods used to provide an interim report aimed at improving this pilot program. In the second phase of the evaluation, Public Works will evaluate student records and outcomes of program completers in the areas of basic and social skills through the analysis of test scores, transcripts and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) as well as examine barriers to student employment.
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