Results for America’s Local Government Fellows program was founded in September 2014 to provide an advanced group of local government leaders in diverse and influential cities and counties across the country the knowledge and support to implement strategies that consistently use data and evidence to drive policy and budget decisions on major policy challenges. The City of Seattle was selected in 2015, and the fellowship was transferred to the Innovation & Performance Director in November 2017 at the time of the mayoral transition.
Earlier this month I represented Seattle at the biannual convening of the Civic Analytics Network (“CAN”). The network, hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center, is a national network of data analytics practitioners from cities and counties that work together in order to further the use of data in government services.
In January, Innovation & Performance worked on a project to explore opportunities to increase access to city benefit programs and streamline program processes. At the outset the solution was predetermined, an online portal which would provide a one-stop shop to all city services and programs. Innovation & Performance doesn’t do predetermined solutions, so we set off to do our own research to test assumptions. We used many approaches to investigate and develop ideas to address the problem such as interviews with city staff, observations of community hubs, and interviews with city residents.
This engagement… “initiated important conversations about what our department strategic goals are and how we should measure progress. These conversations were occurring in silos, not at the broader level”, “moved us to actually adopting a broader set of performance measures”, “an interactive website with goals, metrics and current progress” – Department of Education and Early Learning
The Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) delivers quality programs to pre-school, K-12, and post-secondary populations served by the Seattle Public School district. DEEL’s mission is to ensure that all Seattle children have the greatest opportunity to succeed in school and in life and to graduate from school ready for college and a career. DEEL regularly collected classroom data that provided insight into student performance trends (e.g. test scores) but sought greater insight on how to evaluate and improve the operation of their own programs.
THE NEED // INTRODUCTION
In 2017, 11,643 individuals experiencing homelessness were counted in King County. An estimated 2,833 individuals were in families with children, 135 of those families were households headed by a young parent under 25 years of age. An estimated 1,498 individuals were unaccompanied youth and young adults, including 221 unaccompanied minors. Since 2013, the number of homeless students in Seattle Public Schools increased by 55% to 3,612.
THE NEED // INTRODUCTION
Opportunities abound in Seattle, yet disparities persist for young black men related to economic, educational, and social outcomes. These disparities manifest themselves in many ways: A disproportionately high impact of violence, reduced access to opportunity, and perceived lower levels of well-being. In recent years, Seattle has seen an increase in youth involved in shootings and domestic violence and this violence has disproportionately affected communities of color. [Read more…]