Results Count Realizes Gains in Reading and Math Proficiency

Updated September 13, 2019 | Posted July 4, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Improving reading and math proficiency for children

In one Min­neapo­lis neigh­bor­hood, kids have made sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments in math and read­ing — all thanks to a long-term effort by the North­side Achieve­ment Zone (NAZ) and an array of gov­ern­ment, non­prof­it and civic partners.

As a Promise Neigh­bor­hoods grant recip­i­ent, NAZ began par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Results Count™ pro­gram, which is designed to devel­op results-dri­ven lead­ers in the social sec­tor. The orga­ni­za­tion cred­its this pro­gram with trans­form­ing its cul­ture and sys­tems to achieve bet­ter out­comes for kids liv­ing in a 250-block neigh­bor­hood in North Minneapolis.

NAZ and its part­ners first engaged with Results Count by set­ting tar­gets to close achieve­ment gaps in three areas:

  1. kinder­garten readiness;
  2. aca­d­e­m­ic suc­cess; and
  3. sup­port for low-income families.

By teach­ing lead­ers to use results to dri­ve action — and not the oth­er way around — the pro­gram fun­da­men­tal­ly shift­ed how NAZ works.

We spent five years in a race to cre­ate and exe­cute what we called solu­tion plans — con­crete plans to build, build, build,” says Michelle Palo, NAZ’s senior direc­tor of col­lab­o­ra­tive learning.

But were those plans effective?

The Results Count pro­gram helped NAZ’s staff and ser­vice-deliv­ery part­ners assess whether their actions were gen­er­at­ing results for local fam­i­lies. And, two years since com­plet­ing their Results Count sem­i­nars, the answer to this ques­tion is a resound­ing yes.

Today, the col­lab­o­ra­tive is see­ing some sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant — and sat­is­fy­ing — results. For instance:

  • African-Amer­i­can NAZ schol­ars were more like­ly to be pro­fi­cient in read­ing com­pared to oth­er north­side class­mates (25% ver­sus 18%). This improve­ment moved the NAZ schol­ars clos­er to the statewide aver­age (34%).
  • African-Amer­i­can NAZ schol­ars were also more pro­fi­cient in math (26% ver­sus 12%) and again moved clos­er to the statewide aver­age (29%).

Those these gains are encour­ag­ing, Son­dra Samuels, CEO and pres­i­dent of NAZ, cites a Barack Oba­ma quote for per­spec­tive: We have to acknowl­edge the progress we made but under­stand that we still have a long way to go. That things are bet­ter, but still not good enough.”

While par­tic­i­pat­ing in Results Count, NAZ lead­ers worked on build­ing the skills, behav­iors and rela­tion­ships need­ed to move their orga­ni­za­tion and their part­ners toward their iden­ti­fied tar­gets. These lead­ers strength­ened the col­lab­o­ra­tive process, clar­i­fied their roles and mod­i­fied the solu­tion plans to become results plans. We’ve worked hard to put the right scaf­fold­ing in place to accom­plish our com­mon goals,” says Palo. Results Count gave us tools for sup­port­ing one anoth­er, shar­ing respon­si­bil­i­ties and empow­er­ing the next set of lead­ers with a clear vision for the road ahead.”

Relat­ed Promise Neigh­bor­hoods Resources

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