Network News: Aspire Gathers Data on Measurements

In late July, Aspire held two joint sessions with members of the kindergarten readiness and the graduation networks to discuss metrics and measurements. The sessions were facilitated by Lean Six Sigma experts from O-I, Saundra Farah and Bob Harman. Approximately 30 people from 15 organizations attended (see list below). A third and final session will be held on Thursday, June 30. We encourage you to attend to ensure that your voice is heard.

The point of the sessions was/is to find out what programs and organizations in Lucas County feel we should or could be measuring and what we/they are already measuring. The ultimate goal is to identify which secondary measures would best indicate whether we are on the track to improve our primary measures and outcomes.

We started with a review of the overall objectives:

Outcome Children enter school ready to learn Youth graduate from high school prepared for the next step
Primary measure KRA Scores 4 year graduation rate
Secondary measures In discussion In discussion


The point of identifying secondary measures is that it will take years to see sustainable improvement in the primary measures, but there are other things that could serve as indicators of change. For instance, a consistent increase in attendance rates in grades 10 through 12 would likely result in larger numbers of students who graduate.

The first question participants responded to was what we called the “Blue Sky” question – “What could or should we be measuring to better understand what’s happening?” Network members wrote their ideas on sticky notes and placed them on flip charts for the appropriate are: Kindergarten Readiness / Youth Development / High School Graduation.

The second question was “What are you currently measuring?” We discovered that many programs, especially in the early childhood area, measure many different things. We did not attempt in these sessions to determine whether the data they were collecting would be considered good and replicable data, nor whether it was actionable. That will be done later with the help of experts.

The third topic we discussed were concerns/hopes and fears related to Aspire’s quest for data and measurement. We appreciated the openness with which participants shared their concerns, and we will do our best going forward to better explain what we are and are not trying to do.

All of the responses will be captured in a report and shared with network members and outside experts, who will help us determine which of the measures are appropriate, replicable and meaningful. Our hope is to have these measures determined by the fall so that we can pilot them with certain programs.

Organizations that participated in the measurement sessions:

  • YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo
  • Harbor Behavioral Health
  • YWCA of Northwest Ohio
  • Toledo Lucas County Public Library
  • YWCA of Northwest Ohio
  • Grace Community Center
  • United Way of Greater Toledo
  • Center for Nonprofit Resources
  • Brightside Academy
  • Toledo Public Schools
  • Mosaic Ministries
  • Legal Aid of Western Ohio
  • Center for Hope Family Services
  • Child Support Enforcement
  • Acumen Research and Evaluation, LLC


IMG_6991 IMG_6973 IMG_6969 IMG_6968IMG_6995 IMG_6991 IMG_6950

Ohio Four Year High School Graduation Rates

Network News: Joint Kindergarten and Graduation Network Invitation

Aspire to host several joint network conversations to gather input on quality measures on June 24, June 27 and June 30, 2016.

Following is the invitation sent to network participants:

Aspire has been working with many of you to help determine the root causes of why two-thirds of our children enter Kindergarten unprepared and why nearly one third of our youth do not graduate high school.

We have learned a lot through our conversations with all off you, and with parents and students.

Our next step is to use this input to create a tool that will help our service providers and other stakeholders determine how effective their programs are in improving those statistics. The tool, which will be called a program quality report, is intended to drive accountability and results in each of the programs, and to provide transparency to the larger community.

Using your input, we will decide how we measure the effectiveness of similar programs. For instance, after school programs might report on the improvement in reading scores of children from the start of the year until the end. If we see, therefore, that Program A has improved reading scores by 10 percent and Program B only by 5 percent, Program B will surely want to know what it can do differently to achieve Program A’s results. The objective is to provide all programs the opportunity to deliver the best outcomes, which will drive systemic change. The objective is NOT to shut down Program B because its scores were lower.

Together we must decide what benchmarks we will be using, what secondary measures will be considered — i.e. Improved ninth grade graduation rates may signal improved high school graduation rates – and what quality indicators will be considered.

We have asked Bob Harman, Black Belt and LSS expert from O-I, to facilitate these sessions to be sure we effectively gather all the information you have. Specifically, we would like you to tell us the following about your current programs and measurements:

  • What benchmarks are you using?
  • What data do you already collect?
  • Is there data you’d like to collect but cannot?
  • What are the secondary measures you believe are relevant?
  • How can we measure quality?

Please attend and make sure we understand all that we can about your programs and what you are measuring. If you cannot attend the meeting, please call Kristen Kania or send her your program measurements via email.

Thank you for your attention and response.  We look forward to seeing you at our event.