Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Amplifying Youth Voice and Igniting Student Centered Learning

Session Number: 1915
Track: Youth Focused Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Julie Poncelet [Independent Evaluation Consultant - Action Evaluation Collaborative]
Presenter 1: Kim Flores [CEO - Algorhythm]
Presenter 2: Delia Arellano-Weddleton [Senior Program Officer - Nellie Mae Education Foundation]
Presenter 3: Zack Mezera [Executive Director - Providence Student Union]
Presenter 4: Laura Burfoot [Lead Organizer - Hearing Young Voices]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Kim Flores [CEO - Algorhythm]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Delia Arellano-Weddleton [Senior Program Officer - Nellie Mae Education Foundation]
Third Author or Discussion Group Leader: Zack Mezera [Executive Director - Providence Student Union]
Fourth Author or Discussion Group Leader: Laura Burfoot [Lead Organizer - Hearing Young Voices]
Time: Nov 08, 2017 (06:15 PM - 07:15 PM)
Room: Thurgood Marshall West

Abstract 1 Title: A Participatory Approach to Evaluating Youth Organizing to Amplify Student Centered Learning

Presentation Abstract 1:

This presentation will provide an overview of the participatory methods used during an evaluation of a youth organizing initiative designed to promote student centered learning in New England Schools. The presenters will discuss how they engaged foundation staff, adult allies, and youth organizers as both respondents and active evaluators, sharing the bright spots and lessons learned. In addition, this presentation will discuss the findings of this study and how youth have begun to move the needle on the quality of student centered learning in New England Schools.

Abstract 2 Title: From Research to Action: The Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s Use of Findings from their Amplifying Student Voice & Leadership Evaluation

Presentation Abstract 2:

Presenters will share how an evaluation effort has ignited new learning within the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) and how the participatory practices used will support continued efforts to amplify youth voice to promote student centered learning (SCL).

In the short-term, findings helped develop a clearer understanding of the connection between a youth organizing group’s model, length of funding, and its capacity to mobilize its members to promote SCL in its schools. Information was used to design the various technical assistance supports the Foundation provides the organizations — from organizing to social media — and to inform workshops that are held at the Foundation’s annual Youth Leadership Institute.

Long- term, findings help NMEF gain greater insight into how the various models of youth organizations can promote student centered learning and possibly expand our vision of what those models look like as we continue to seek new groups to fund.

Abstract 3 Title: Providence Student Union: Youth and Adult Experience of Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 3:

The Providence Student Union (PSU) was formed in the spring of 2010, when students from Hope High School joined together to protect their school’s popular block schedule from being dismantled. These young leaders formed PSU’s first chapter — Hope United — and began a series of campaigns to improve their school. After achieving a number of school-based victories, the group started organizing chapters across the Providence school district. Currently, PSU includes active chapters in 6 schools across Providence that work together to increase the collective power of all students. This presentation will focus on PSU’s experience of the Nellie Mae Education evaluation - discussing the degree to which the study mirrored their values and respected youth voice, and how the study promoted ongoing learning and evaluation capacity building. Youth Organizers, in particular, will discuss the impact of their involvement in the study as evaluators.


Abstract 4 Title: Hearing Youth Voices In Evaluation: A Case Study

Presentation Abstract 4:

Hearing Youth Voices (HYV) is a youth-led social justice organization working to create systemic change in the education system in New London, Connecticut. They do this by supporting the development of youth organizers through participatory action research (PAR) projects, intensive political education workshops, and arts-based cultural work. Hearing Youth Voices is committed to building the political power of people of color, queer and transgender folks, undocumented people, and women. Through campaign work, direct action, and art we fight to end the oppressive systems that harm our people and communities. During this presentation Youth Organizers and Adult Allies will discuss their involvement in funder driven evaluation and share the benefits and challenges of this for their work.

Theme: Learning About Evaluation Use and Users
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

This panel will include the voices of funders, evaluators, adult allies, and youth organizers.  Together the panelists will share the process they used to engage in a year-long participatory evaluation designed to explore the question: “How does the amplification of youth voice ignite student centered learning in New England Schools?” And panelists will share the findings of that evaluation. The evaluation team will share how they attempted to create a strategy that valued and respected the on-the-ground organizing work and youth voice; grantee partners will discuss how they have begun to weave participatory evaluation practices into their ongoing work; and the foundation will discuss the implication of the study findings for their ongoing learning and strategy.


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Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 16, 2017. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. Fax request to (202) 367-2173. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 16, 2017 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2017, international attendees and presenters who encounter complications due to the international travel environment will have up to 30 days after the event to request a refund and submit appropriate documentation. No administrative fee will apply for the international requests. The $50 fee will be waived for registrants who planned to travel into the US and experienced international travel issues.