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Showing posts from September, 2014

Child Trauma and Prevention Unified Outcomes Project Update

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by Molly Baltman, Assistant Director/Grantmaking This blog is an update of "Launch of McCormick Foundation's Child Trauma and Prevention Unified Outcomes Project", posted on July 8, 2013. Due to a lack of standardization of outcomes in the field of home visiting, parenting programs, and child trauma, the Communities program launched a capacity building project in 2013 in partnership with 30 grantees funded through Chicago Tribune Charities. The goal of the project was to determine appropriate data to use in evaluating program impact, increase capacity of organizations to use data for decision-making and quality improvement and allow for benchmarking and cross-agency learning through grantee convening. Now, after more than a year, we are seeing the results of work on behalf of our grantees and staff. The short-term results of and learnings from the project are as follows:Broadened the standardized data we collect beyond client-level behavior changes (shown through evid…

A Revelation for Disabled Vets

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by Jeff Reiter, Senior Manager of Communications&nbspIn June, Cantigny Golf was pleased to receive RevelationGolf’s Humanitarian Award for its work helping veterans through their rehabilitation programs at Cantigny. Elk Grove-based nonprofit RevelationGolf is small but it does big work, especially with disabled veterans. Cantigny Golf has been a RevelationGolf partner since 2010, conducting monthly clinics for veterans with disabilities. The clinics serve veterans from Edward Hines Jr. Veteran Affairs Hospital in Maywood and Jesse Brown Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Chicago.Cantigny’s head golf professional, Patrick Lynch, works with veterans personally and considers it an honor. The partnership with RevelationGolf shows once again that golf is more than just a game – it can be transformative.Some of the veterans are just getting back to golf while others are new to the game. Some participants are blind or struggle with PTSD. Many rely on modified and adaptive equipment. But …

Preschool Attendance Matters

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by Stacy Ehrlich and Julia Gwynne Nationally, there has been a great effort to increase funding for early education programs to increase enrollment of at-risk children into high-quality programs, such as Head Start. However, recent research highlights that once children are enrolled in preschool, they must also regularly attend to reap the benefits. A study conducted by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, in collaboration with Chicago Public Schools, found that preschool students who are chronically absent – meaning they miss 10 percent or more of enrolled school days – have lower levels of math, letter recognition, and social-emotional skills by the time they enter kindergarten than children who attend regularly. In the 2011-12 school year, 45 percent of 3-year-olds and more than one-third of 4-year-olds were missing this much school – equivalent to three weeks. Moreover, for a portion of these students, preschool is the beginning of a pattern that con…

Six Major Civic Lessons for Illinois

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by Dr. Shawn Healy, Civic Learning & Engagement Scholar  Today, the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition (ICMC), convened by the McCormick Foundation, announces nine new Democracy Schools. Since 2006, the ICMC has recognized over 30 high schools throughout Illinois who have demonstrated deep commitments to civic learning across the curriculum, in extracurricular activities and through student voice in school governance.During this time, we have learned six major lessons about sustaining and institutionalizing high-quality, school-based civic learning in Illinois:These efforts must target cities, suburbs and rural areas to reach the ever-diverse student population. Our democracy’s health is dependent upon equitable civic learning opportunities.Civic learning is not merely the concern of civics and government teachers, but the entire school faculty.Principals should lead a vision for their schools’ civic missions and create space for their faculties to align civic learning with Common…

Students Need Mentors

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Letter originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times "Letters to the Editor" on September 12, 2014.Can a struggling student at a school in one of Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods be successful?We believe the answer is “yes” and there’s research now that shows the way. Obstacles can be addressed if students have a mentor. A mentor can model good decision-making and problem-solving skills that can have a huge impact on a young person’s life. Mentors serve as living testaments to the rewards of staying on the right track, and helping students visualize a bright future.The need is big. Some 400,000 kids began a new school year in Chicago this month. Most of them lack sufficient economic support. About 85 percent of Chicago Public Schools students receive free or reduced-price meals. These kids often face some big hurdles, such as housing, incessant hunger and one-parent-families stressed by abuse or incarceration. Then there is the neighborhood violence in Chicago.A rigorous 2…