Communities for Change 2013 brings together thought leaders and decision-makers from city governments, nonprofits, schools, educational institutions and community improvement initiatives.

 Hilton Omaha, site of nFocus Solutions' Communities for Change 2013 conference.   

The Communities for Change 2013 conference was held Oct. 23-25 in Omaha, Neb.

Attendees heard from nationally-recognized experts on timely topics including: Breaking the poverty chain, building developmental relationships and early childhood education.

The conference also featured tours of several Collective for Youth sites across Omaha, including Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, Girls Inc. of Omaha, Nothing But Net, Completely KIDS and the Urban League of Nebraska.

Select keynote and breakout sessions presentations can be found below. Click on the session title to download a copy.

Communities for Change 2013 Session Presentation Slides

Luncheon Keynote: Connecting Data to Impact

Dr. Ken Bird, Avenue Scholars Foundation

Communities nationwide are working to form data collaborations to get a complete picture of how their programs can make a difference on their most vulnerable youth. In this presentation, Dr. Ken Bird discusses how the organization is bringing together data from across the City of Omaha to help local youth successfully transition from high school to college and into the workforce.

Omaha Public Schools: Using Data to Track Progress & Create Goals

Mark Evans, Superintendent, Omaha Public Schools

Every day, the 7,000 employees of Omaha Public Schools set out to provide their 46,000 students with the tools they need to become successful in life outside the classroom. The use of data plays an integral role in helping teachers and administrators make the best decisions when it comes to building a curriculum, setting standards and preparing students for the future. Mark Evans discusses ways his staff are using data to inform better decision-making, change culture and increase accountability.

Panel: Components of a Sustainable Afterschool System: The Wallace Foundation Approach

Priscilla Little, Wallace Foundation; Dr. Amy Gerstein, John W. Gardner Center; Kim Eisenreich, National League of Cities

Communities across the country are embracing a systems approach to delivering quality afterschool programming. Drawing on lessons generated from its system building investments, Priscilla Little from The Wallace Foundation discusses the foundation’s approach to building and sustaining afterschool systems. She is joined by technical assistance partners Amy Gerstein from the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University and Kim Eisenreich from the National League of Cities. They discuss challenges and offer solutions to building reliable information systems to support program improvement and sustainability.

Communities In Schools: Providing Students with the Resources They Need Inside and Outside the Classroom

Dan Cardinali, President, Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools is a nationwide network of passionate professionals working in public schools with the goal of surrounding students with the support they need. The goal of Communities In Schools is to empower them to stay in school and achieve in life. Learn how the organization effectively leverages hard data and soft skills to address the country’s dropout challenges.

From Data to Action: A Community Approach to Improving Youth Outcomes

Dr. Amy Gerstein, John W. Gardner Center

The John W. Gardner Center, affiliated with the Stanford Graduate School of Education, partners with communities to develop leadership, conduct research and effect change to improve the lives of young people.. Dr. Amy Gerstein of the Gardner Center shares strategies to help nonprofits leverage data to inform policy and practice; navigate the process behind creating cross-sector community collaborations; and overcome challenges associated with using data to drive long-term, positive youth outcomes.

Bringing Data to Life: Understanding the Internal and External Issues Impacting Youth Development

Daphne Griffin, City of Boston/Boston Centers for Youth & Families

Community centers are on the front lines of providing impactful programs and services aimed at improving youth development. With a broad range of programming, including early childhood programs, school-aged and adult education, youth employment, and violence prevention and intervention, the City of Boston’s Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) is the City’s largest human services agency.. In this session, learn about how BCYF is implementing innovative, new data-backed initiatives that ultimately put Boston youth on a pathway to success.

Fresno Promise Neighborhood: Implementing a Data-Driven Approach to Helping the Whole Child

Stacie Hines, Data Systems Administrator, Reading and Beyond

Fresno-based Reading and Beyond has built a legacy of improving the academic success of children from birth through high school. Stacie Hines discusses the organization’s mission, as well as the tools and methods they’re using to build a data-sharing collaborative between Reading and Beyond and the local K-12 schools they serve.

Evaluation: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (And Why You Should Do It Anyway)

Carol Emig, President, Child Trends

The pressure is mounting on child- and youth-serving programs to undergo rigorous evaluation to demonstrate that they are evidence based. But do those evaluators really understand what’s going on in programs? Carol Emig discusses what it means to be an evidence-based program, and describes how the process and the findings of evaluations can strengthen program operations and improve outcomes for children and youth.

Getting Relationships Right: A Missing Key to High-Impact Education and Youth Work

Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Search Institute

What is it about the relationship that some teachers form with their students that motivates those young people to work hard and persist through difficulty? What is it about some mentoring or peer relationships that that help young people develop powerful life goals? A growing body of research shows what great teachers and youth workers intuitively know: High-quality relationships key to high-impact education and youth programs. This session introduces new Search Institute research on developmental relationships, which identifies key traits of relationships that make a difference.

Transitioning to a Data-Driven Culture

Dr. Anne Herman, United Way of the Midlands; Erin Bock, Sherwood Foundation

Many funders are asking for evidence showing the impact and the value of nonprofit community work. Organizations that have embraced data-driven cultures are able to increase revenues, positive press, staff morale, efficiency and impact. Transitioning to a data-driven culture comes with challenges, but the investment of time, money, staff and developing the expertise will pay off in multiples. Most importantly, it will have the greatest influence possible on children’s lives. In this presentation, you will learn how every organization can begin using a data-based approach to the work they are doing.

Exploring the Advantage of Summer Learning

Edwin Hernandez & Chana Edmond-Verley, DeVos Foundation

Summer is a time to be with family, have fun and enjoy time off from school. However, the summer break can lead to a significant loss in reading and math comprehension, along with academic and behavioral development. And this is particularly true for underprivileged children. The Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation, in partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools and more than 30 local nonprofits, is leading a collective effort to reduce the achievement gap facing impoverished or other at-risk youth. The collaborative’s data-driven approach works to ensure their efforts are creating positive results and improving the lives of local youth. Learn about the impact of summer learning loss, strategies for forming effective partnerships between foundations, nonprofits and school districts, and how to use collaborative data to improve school outcomes.

TIME Collaborative: Expanding Learning in Five States

Nancy Conneely & Ben Lummis, National Center on Time & Learning

The TIME (Time for Innovation Matters in Education) Collaborative is a partnership between the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning to develop high-quality and sustainable expanded learning time (ELT) schools in five states. Districts and schools in these states have engaged in intensive planning for a redesigned school schedule that expands the conventional 6.5-hour and 180-day school year by a minimum of 300 additional hours per year for all students. Learn how ELT provides students with greater understanding of academic material, further time for enrichment classes that enhance student learning and more about the obstacles that states, districts and schools have overcome during the planning process.

Measuring What Matters: Integrating Noncognitive Skills Into Your Benchmarks and Assessments

Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Search Institute

In the midst of the current buzz about why noncognitive or “soft” skills really matter for young people’s success in life, the conversation often gets stuck when someone says, “Well, you can’t really measure that stuff.” In fact, you can. Drawing on Search Institute’s decades of survey research with millions of youth around the world, this session highlights new research that reveals the power of noncognitive factors in student success and how programs, networks, and collective impact initiatives are measuring and building noncognitive skills to increase their relevance and impact.

4 Reasons to Attend Communities for Change 2013

Communities for Change is the leading conference for collaboration among schools, nonprofits and communities. But don't take our word for it. Hear why these leaders say Communities for Change is a must-attend event.

Watch the Video