May 2016 OT3 Update

Outcome Team 3 has been determining which areas we can truly “move the needle on” to ensure every youth is engaged in education, training, or an employment pathway upon high school graduation. A few of the topics we’ve begun to explore include the FAFSA process, the culture of poverty, and the barriers for English Language Learners (ELL). Did you know 53% of Brown County students complete the FAFSA? Because of this statistic, we are looking at the FAFSA process from start to finish and feel there is room for enhancements.

Another topic our team is exploring includes the tentacles of “the culture of poverty.” Eric Chyn, an economist completing his dissertation at the University of Michigan notes that if a child can move out of a bad neighborhood, s/he has a good chance of earning more than those who stay in the bad environment.  “Children forced out of public housing went on to have annual earnings that were 16 percent higher than those who remained, and they were 9 percent more likely to be employed.” Moreover, “the effects may be even larger for those who moved while they were young.” (Source:

Mr. Chyn’s research topic is a continuation and enhancement to the longitudinal data from the research project “Moving to Opportunity.” (Source:

There are many avenues to poverty, and we look forward to sharing more as we learn more.

 A third topic we’d like to share relates to English Language Learners (ELL).  WISEdash, the Wisconsin DPI’s public data sharing portal, has provided valuable information to create graphs depicting the effects on graduation rates for schools that have high populations of students that need to learn English as a Second Language.  Looking at ELL rates, while there is a strong negative correlation between income levels and the percentage of English language learners in a community, the relationship between graduation rates and ELL is not as strong. The community with the highest percentage of ELL students does not have the lowest graduation rate.

The final topic to share looks at graduation rates as they relate to economically disadvantaged students and the poverty rate of the community.  When we take a closer look at the most recent data on graduation rates for economically disadvantaged students by school, we see that economically disadvantaged students in a community that has a lower rate of poverty overall will have a much greater chance of graduating than a similar student in a community with a higher overall poverty rate. This may speak to prevailing peer group and cultural norms, or to the importance of having ample available community resources and support systems. Further research is needed to determine the local reasons for these observed differences.

2013_2014 Ecnmcl disadvntgd student graph

– submitted by Allyson Baue



May 2016 OT2 Update

Achieve Brown County’s Outcome Team Two has been hard at work. Our team was formed with the single goal—to help every child succeed in school. Our work began with defining “success.”  What does it mean for a child to succeed in school? After much deliberation we agreed that success means graduation from high school. We then worked to understand the reality of Brown County’s students. After receiving the message that 13% of all Brown County students (the percentage is much higher for low-income, disabled, and ELL students) do not graduate from high school, we began to brainstorm the obstacles that students face upon the road to “success.”

Topics such as mental health concerns, housing insecurity, family dynamics, and language barriers were all discussed. After grouping these concerns, we worked to identify the numerous groups and programs that are in the Brown County area that are already working hard to combat these obstacles. We were both amazed and proud of this lengthy asset map.

We quickly identified that it is critical to include students in our discussion. Thus, three focus groups were organized. The first group met with current high school students at Rosa-Minoka Hill; the second and third group met with students enrolled in a GED program at NWTC. There were a couple common themes we heard through these focus groups:

  • the feeling of connectedness is incredibly important (large classes and transitioning schools were mentioned as difficulties.)
  • poor personal decisions began to steam roll and made it difficult to correct.
  • difficult relationships, both familial and peer, were reflected upon as being detrimental (i.e., bullying, lack of support from family, and poor transitions from school to school.)

Using the American Community Survey results, Mary Klos was able to give us a better picture of the differences between low income and not low income families in Brown County and the differences between low income families that live in urban and rural communities in Brown County. It was found that 84% of the households that are not low income are white compared to the 50% of low income. Another interesting piece of information was that 21% of low income households had 1 or more non-relative living in the household compared to 5% in not low income.

This past month we began the difficult discussion of which obstacles are most important for us to address and the approaches of addressing the issues. A few high on our lists were: mentoring, parent and community engagement, health (both mental and physical of the student and family), and the sequential impact of root causes of poverty.

We have a long road ahead of us so we wish for your support and well wishes and we work to smooth the path for our community’s future.

– submitted by Chloe Hansen-Miller

May 2016 OT1 Update

 Outcome Team Project Update

Accomplishments to date:

  • Defined Problem Statement based on known data
  • Defined Outcome Team Objective based on Problem Statement
  • Created draft Outcome Team Charter including team objective, key deliverables and success criteria
  • Aligned all Brown County School districts on a standard 5K school readiness definition and measurement process. Process to begin in September of 2016
  • Defined three sub-teams to evaluate problems/opportunities as well as objectives for each:
    • High Risk
      • Objective: To enhance access and engagement with existing community services that address at risk families by linking and aligning priorities within the multiple early childhood initiatives in Brown County.
    • Early Childhood Education
      • Objective: Ensure all children in Brown County receive a quality early educational experience by increasing the number of certified child care centers in the county.
    • Screening Opportunities (Early identification of delays or risks)
      • Objective: Ensure all children in Brown County receive appropriate services as needed to increase 5K readiness.

Sub Team Highlights

  • High Risk
    • Documented current state of CPC (Community Partnership for Children) processes regarding screening and assessments for all children born in Brown County
    • Identified opportunity areas to address gaps in current process
    • Evaluated Determinants of Health to identify additional risk factors
    • Categorized referral agencies by needs addressed
    • Evaluated opportunities for improvement
  • Early Childhood Education
    • Documented current state of quality of early childhood education in Brown County
    • Created process map for delivering high quality care and identified obstacles
  • Screening Opportunities (Early identification of delays or risks)
    • Documented current state of screening tools in community
    • Identified opportunities for screenings in health care systems, school districts, early childcare centers and support agencies
    • Began pilot of ASQ (Ages & Stages Questionnaires) Board at community events (Giant Play Date, Big Event for Little Kids)
    • In progress of investigating developmental screening collaboration between Madison United Way and UW Health systems to identify opportunities to leverage learnings

-submitted by Renee Gyrion