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COVID-19 Can’t Stop Progress: Spotlight on Education and Evaluation

September 30th, 2020

In4All was able to adapt quickly when COVID-19 ripped through Portland, Oregon in March 2020. They closed their offices March 13, and were determined not to let this disruption stop their important work to bring educators and businesses together to impact students who are historically under-served at critical points in their K-12 education.

Program Adjustment: Their STEM Connect ™ program brings business professionals into 4th and 5th grade classrooms. When COVID transitioned all schools to an online learning environment, their STEM Connect ™ program did the same.

There was one major change they needed to make: for in-person classes, the business volunteers would bring materials for students to work with in groups to sessions. To adjust to an online learning environment, volunteers adjusted to allow for students to use individual kits that allow them to do the activities while physically distances or even at home. That way, students would still get the value of doing the STEM activity at home with instruction from the STEM business volunteer via the school’s online platform.

Evaluation Adjustment: The evaluation process, happily, did not require major adjustments in order to continue as planned.  Teachers and STEM business volunteers still were asked to complete mid-year and summative surveys to understand challenges, successes, and opportunities. The one change, however, was the addition of the following question:

“When you think about our partnership next year, what excites you? Brings fear?”

This cleverly worded question was able to indirectly gauge how respondents were feeling about COVID-19 without calling attention directly to the issue. The question allowed In4All staff to better understand how teachers and volunteers were feeling about what next year might look like.

Outcomes: “The findings weren’t surprising,” said Elaine Charpentier Philippi, In4All ‘s Executive Director. “It showed concerned about community spread, and in-person engagement. It helped us make a decision based on findings to target virtual experiences for all students next year.”

Using these mid-year surveys and responses as a basis, the In4All program impact manager, in partnership with the ad-hoc program committee and In4All Staff, re-wrote the curriculum to adapt it to online.

By using input from teachers, volunteers and students, In4All remains responsive to what everyone needs to be successful. Their program planning is based on data, helping them to quickly adapt what they’re doing and how they’re doing it to meet everyone’s needs.

Congratulations to the determined and innovative In4All team for finding ways to adapt and continue your important work during such a challenging time – it’s been an honor to work alongside you and to help you use data to make effective program planning decisions!

Learn more about In4All and their programs by visiting in4all.org.

Want to learn how YOU can use data to make program planning decisions during COVID-19? Contact me and I’d love to help!

Now we have an amazing way to measure the physical, emotional, and mental effects of our programs...

Chari accurately captured the fundamental goals and mission of our organization and transformed our input into a clear evaluation process that helps us assess the impact of our programs on the lives of the families that we serve. Now we have an amazing way to measure the physical, emotional, and mental effects of our programs and to guide change, ensuring that we are delivering services in the most effective way possible.

Brandi Tuck, Executive Director, Portland Homeless Family Solutions

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