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Data Use and Inquiry in Research-Practice Partnerships: Four Case Examples

The four case examples presented in this brief are drawn from the Gardner Center’s substantial experience conducting rigorous research in research-practice partnerships. The first case describes a partnership approach that enhances a school district’s capacity to use integrated longitudinal data to tackle persistent problems of practice and monitor students’ development. The second case exemplifies how an equitable research model, grounded in mutualism and sensitive to cultural nuances, can be leveraged to elevate the experience marginalized communities.

Boys & Girls Club Participation and English Language Development among English Learner Students

In this analysis, researchers at the Gardner Center used the Youth Data Archive to match English Learning students’ achievement data from the Redwood City School District to attendance data from the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula to study the link between afterschool program participation and English language development. Results from this analysis indicate that Boys & Girls Club attendance is associated with gains in English proficiency from one academic year to the next.

Mapping Out-of-School Time Resources for East Palo Alto and Belle Haven Youth

In 2009, community leaders working with youth in the City of East Palo Alto (EPA) and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park approached the Gardner Center with a need to better understand why many youth remain disconnected from the community’s youth service programs and agencies. The Gardner Center collaborated with these leaders to gather and analyze data to answer the following questions: (1) What programs are available to youth in the EPA and Belle Haven communities, and where are there gaps or duplication in available services?

Participation Among San Francisco Unified School District Students in Programs Offered by the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families

In 2012 and 2013, the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and their Families (DCYF), San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and the Gardner Center collaborated to examine SFUSD student participation in DCYF-funded programs. The goal of this partnership was to help DCYF understand which students its programs served and to better match its programs to students who needed the most help. To this end, the Gardner Center linked DCYF program participation records to SFUSD administrative data on students based on student identifiers and demographic characteristics.

Community Counts: How Youth Organizations Matter for Youth Development

This paper reports numerous accomplishments and successes of active young people engaged in community organizations. Over the span of ten years, the research team visited 120 youth-based organizations in 34 states that constructively involve young people in their non-school hours. Of greatest importance for society is the compelling evidence from the experiences of these youth that community-based organizations can play a critical role in meeting the needs of today’s young people.

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