Event Highlight: Nelson Chair Roundtable featuring the Boston Promise Initiative

DSNI staff, leaders, and organizational partners gathered last month for the Tenth Nelson Chair Roundtable on Networking Community-Based Programs: Shared Leadership, Shared Outcomes, hosted by the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. At the Roundtable, we reflected on four years of the Boston Promise Initiative (BPI), with the goal of supporting children’s learning by strengthening schools, families, and the Dudley Village Campus. BPI, is mostly supported through a Promise Neighborhoods grant through the Department of Education-a federal program aimed at improving educational outcomes by empowering communities as a whole. As the federal funds come to an end this calendar year, we are finding it all the more important that we celebrate BPI’s successes, build upon our shared learning, and envision new directions to support young people in Dudley. It was also important to reflect on a major takeaway of BPI: the necessity of bringing community voices into institutional decision-making.

Discussion topics included “Building Pathways for Young People,” “Principals as School and Community Leaders,” and “Working with Mutual Data Sharing Agreements.” Plenary sessions included “Networking Partnerships for Educational & Community Change” and “Using Data to Inform Policy Development and Sustainability.”

The Boston Promise Initiative has been a unique opportunity for DSNI and our partners to improve our children’s educational achievement in the short-term and assess what more we can do in the long-term.  By focusing on empowering individual families through initiatives like “No Child Goes Homeless,” we’ve demonstrated that institutions must listen to community voices in order to make progress. No Child Goes Homeless serves about 150 families. There are many more families in Boston who are at risk of becoming homeless or are already homeless. “Some people might think that bringing the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, the Boston Housing Authority, Project Hope, and DSNI to the table for just 150 families isn’t efficient. We think it’s a sign of progress”, said Andrew Seeder, Data Systems Manager at DSNI. “Because if we can’t get it right for them, there’s no way we can get it right for all the other families out there.”

BPI Director Sheena Collier also emphasized progress. “With DSNI at the center, Promise has changed the way that partners collaborate with each other in Boston,” she said.  Thanks to your continued participation in (and support for) DSNI, we will continue to build off of BPI’s successes.

This event was made possible by the Boston College Nelson Chair Roundtable on Networking Community-Based Programs.