The work of Believe 2 Become is grounded in three groundbreaking strategies:
1. Provide actionable information to parents about their children’s development, learning style, school attendance, performance, credits, so they can take the steps they need to as parents. As education has evolved away from small neighborhood schools with close supportive communities, it has become more challenging for parents to learn from one another. Add barriers of language and culture, and it’s challenging for districts and schools to communicate effectively. B2B experience shows that by using technology in new creative ways, it’s possible to bridge information gaps and help parents do what they already want to do: parent effectively.
B2B programs providing actionable information include:
Baby Scholars, a series of home visits to help parents help their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers grow smarter.
Challenge 5, an innovative attendance challenge that combines five critical elements: a strategic framework based on quantified attendance goal (no more than five absences), robust data mining and analysis, integration of attendance and educator performance metrics, in-school competitions and incentives, and disruptive communication strategy.
Project LIFT, a school-to-parent texting service that lets parents know, in their native language, about their child’s missing assignments, grades, and attendance, allowing parents to intervene in a timely manner.
2. Offer parents expanded access to their children’s schools and teachers, and educational resources designed for them. In many urban districts and schools, parents are criticized for their lack of involvement at the same time they are systematically excluded from participating in their child’s education by a host of obstacles: language barriers, campus policies, transportation and schedule restrictions, and lack of communication. B2B experience shows that the more access parents have, the greater their engagement in the education system, and the greater their children’s chances for success.
B2B programs expanding access include:
Parent University, a combination of school-based and online classes, all accessible via parents.grps.org.
Opportunity Line, a call-for-help phone service designed to assist parents struggling with school challenges with advice, advocacy, and intervention delivered by Grand Rapids Urban League.
Parent Engagement, including Parent Essentials meetings, Parent Teacher Community Councils, plus parent volunteer, recognition and communication opportunities.
3. Extend enrichment opportunities to students and their parents. One of the realities of many urban neighborhoods is a shortage of future-focused opportunities that expose students to potential pathways to continued education and training, employment, careers, and prosperity. While many entities focus on the goal of high school graduation, statistics show that depending on demographics, the odds of a high school graduate securing full-time employment within four months of graduation are slim: from 5% (black men) to 26% (white men).1 By introducing students to potential career paths, and helping them develop all the skills they will need to succeed on those paths, it’s possible to move more students toward becoming self-sufficient contributors to our community.
B2B programs providing enrichment opportunities include:
Summer Learning Academies, a set of research-based summer programs that include credit recovery classes, field trips, campus visits, employment and career experiences, and more.
Imagine U, a comprehensive, strategic and scalable model for sustainable change that is comprised of four mutually reinforcing components: (1) research-based content that helps develop student agency, (2) a delivery system including a professional learning community, (3) an integration strategy to move content and practice into action and impact, (4) data mining that drives understanding of how youth are situated and their growth over time.
Imagine More, a community-wide campaign and information platform connecting students and their parents to potential career opportunities, higher education and job training, and local internships and employers.
1 Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada & Walter McHugh. The complete breakdown in the high school-to-work transition of young, non-college enrolled high school graduates in the U.S.: The need for an immediate national policy response. Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, Boston MA, Oct. 2013