Gina & Mike,
Your input is very important in making this work. I'm glad we got a chance to talk about your suggestions and Alice Porter has provided some good input as well.
We have greatly simplified the data we collect because we can get most of it through administrative databases. The ultimate purpose of this data is legislative advocacy and we need to have variables that are as concrete as possible; however, this is nearly impossible when talking about education.
Because of the difficulty in defining how and to what extent someone is working towards their GED, we've decided that it is not something that we will measure, although this by no means suggests that your programs are not doing a lot of good work to engage youth in programs that help with GED. Ultimately, it may be something you want to track internally.
At intake we are asking for information about whether clients are either in or have exited from High School because this is an area in which advocacy could lead to additional funding. We do, however, realize that there are allot of alternative educational programs. To make things easier we have decided to have the definition of High School include (Community High School and/or any program that earns credit towards a HS Diploma). Please note that the follow-up question only now asks whether they were attending High School or a program earning high school credit at any time during the quarter.
We also think that the "Drop-out" term, while used extensively, is somewhat of a stigmatizing term so we've changed that on the form to "Exited High School", but again for follow-up we are only looking at whether someone attended school.
We've added "previous involvement in Corrections" and "previous involvement with child protective services" to psychosocial issues until we are sure we can access this data through administrative sources.
We've also added two new categories to the referral column, "mental health agency" (usually meaning internal referrals) and "social service agency" (referring to programs such as Spectrum).
I think we're getting there and most of our bases are covered but please let me know if you have any other questions/suggestions and I look forward to talking with you more about the data collection procedures at our teleconference scheduled October 11 at 1:30 pm. Again, the telephone number for the teleconferences is: 877-676-6548; participants will need to enter the code of 556189 at the prompt followed by the # sign.
Until then, I look forward to putting a new data collection procedure in place that will make all of our lives easier and give us some good hard data to continue to advocate effectively for the JOBS Program.
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