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X’s and O’s by Kenny Holdsman – September 2017 September 29, 2017

As the new school year begins, PYB is poised to launch its 3rd year of the Middle School Partnership Program (MSPP).  We look forward to continuing our growth by adding two additional schools and another 60 student-athletes from high need schools and communities.

In addition to growing our program suite, we are also collecting data in various ways to learn about our programs’ effectiveness and to measure its impact.  Under the leadership of Peter Kaffenberger, our Program Impact Analyst as well as one of our most seasoned Academic Mentors, we have developed an approach to gathering data which will enable us to pursue a continuous learning and improvement agenda, while also putting together data sets that demonstrate the outcomes and impacts of our program. You can read Peter’s article on the Importance of Data and Measuring PYB’s Impact HERE.

Many nonprofit leaders are beginning to realize that the measurement and evaluation work which is “imposed” on nonprofit organizations by various institutional funders is neither unrealistic nor unnecessary.  At PYB, we believe that the “formative evaluation” of what we are learning throughout the course of program implementation is every bit as important as the “summative evaluation” at the end of the program which may enable claims of making a measurable difference in the lives of our program participants.

While investing time and resources into data collection, analysis, and measurement is less inspiring than investments into direct programming, we are embracing the opportunity to put our work under the proverbial microscope to help make us smarter, sharper, and more intentional with our program delivery.  

PYB will continue gathering data this program year on not only participant satisfaction, but also the effect of our programs on the grades, attendance, and behavior of our MSPP participants.  Moreover, we will be using various survey instruments to glean the impact of our program on young people’s sense of grit and resiliency, educational and social competence, self-efficacy, and other important attributes which are enablers for success as a student, athletes, and positive leader.

Creating bandwidth to pursue research and measurement, while we are increasing the size of our program by 33%, is taking greater amounts of dedication by our staff team.  However, because we have all “bought into” the fundamental purpose of this work – continuous improvement and delivering higher quality programs to kids – the extra time and intellectual energy is time well spent.  For those in the nonprofit sector who think that the data work is merely about generating reports and proposals to funders to win grant dollars, the real value will be squandered.  

Please let me know if you have thoughts on this topic or would like to participate with our staff team in upcoming group work about data and measurement.  Once you get your mind into these more “conceptual” spaces, the work is stimulating.       

By Kenny Holdsman, President and CEO

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(c) 2017 Philadelphia Youth Basketball, Inc.