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Showing posts from December, 2018

Myths and realities about Somali parental support for education

By Joanna Tzenis According to a recent student survey , Minnesota youth of Somali heritage report high levels of family support for education. But what does this support look like? Scholars, practitioners, and humans in general agree that parental support is important, but there’s no consensus on how it should be offered. Should parents help with homework at home? Should they volunteer at the school? Sign their kids up for extracurriculars? Let them relax with unstructured time when not in school? Should parents be cheerleaders or task masters?  My point is that there are many ways parents can support their children’s development. I've blogged before about educational strategies that are informed by cultural world views. What gets tricky is when parents’ approaches for supporting their kids differs from the expectations of the cultural majority. Studies on cultural and social resources of immigrant youth show how challenging it is to navigate different value systems arou

Living as a grateful leader

By Nancy Hegland In the past few months, I’ve had many reasons to be grateful for my family, friends and colleagues. We have had a lot happening at work, and this fall there has been a need for many people to add tasks to their lists that weren’t in their plans of work, or even on their radar. But there were things that needed to be done, and I had to choose which people needed to take on additional work. Every single person that I called to ask if they could pick up more work responded by saying “yes.” I am so grateful for their willingness, and hopefully I expressed it to them at the time, and continue to show appreciation each and every day. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and just keep things moving, yet it is important to express gratitude during the entire year. We tend to be good at expressing our thankfulness this time of the year, but we should make it part of our everyday lives. "The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for good

How to be a master evaluator

By Samantha Grant I work with some brilliant evaluators. They can do some pretty amazing things like use mapping software to see trends or conduct sophisticated evaluations to understand systems that influence our programs. Evaluation can be a very technical field. Not all evaluation is highly technical, though sometimes evaluators perpetuate that idea. I believe, and have seen through my work with youth workers, that some of the most astute youth workers are also great program evaluators. Why do some people feel comfortable conducting evaluations and others don’t? That is the million dollar question. I believe that basic evaluation skills are easy to build with some core tools. With that in mind, I have developed an evaluation website called Evaluating Education Programs to help people who lead educational programs learn more about evaluation. Check out the website by going to: . You’ll find: Fun and informative videos on topics like creative