Urban Update 
The monthly newsletter of the UMass Dartmouth
Urban Initiative
October 2013
Over the past month, the Urban Initiative has returned to its roots in education--our first project was this report on dropout rates in the SouthCoast--in a big way.

First, we've been working with our team of high school interns to finalize and publish the report documenting their findings on college access in the region. They will be presenting their work at an event on November 1 (details below).

Second, we've added college access and school finance pages to SCUIP, both of which link to research being undertaken by our students.

Third, we've going beyond SCUIP to inform the conversation about education taking place in Fall River and New Bedford, a conversation that grown louder thanks to new MCAS scores and local elections. In the span of one week, our team has landed an op-ed in each of the city's newspapers. Mike McCarthy (UMD '14) has a piece in the Herald News on the need to compare Fall River to fellow Gateway Cities, not just its neighbors, when it comes to MCAS scores and other education data. Meanwhile, Katya Starostina (UMD MPP '14) shed light on the conversation New Bedford has been having around school financing in Sunday's Standard-Times.

To become engaged in our conversation around education issues in the SouthCoast, read on for more information, send us an email, or join us for our students' November 1st event!
SouthCoast Indicators
Thanks to the hard work our students have been putting in over the last month, we've got two new education subcategories on SCUIP:
  • Financial investment (Fall River/New Bedford), which breaks down factors like spending above mandated minimum, local contribution as percentage of spending, per pupil expenditure, and teacher salaries 
  • College access (Fall River/New Bedford), based on our high school interns' findings; indicators include SAT performance, financial aid application rates, rates of college-going, college enrollment rates 
Got an idea for a SCUIP page we haven't created yet? Let us know!
From the blog
  • Mike's blog post on the need for Gateway Cities to compare MCAS scores to peer districts got the attention of the Herald News via Twitter, which led to his subsequent op-ed. Social media does pay off! 
  • Katya uncovers a likely unintentional bias in the way that education data is presented on the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education website: the scale is too small, making it hard to detect differences and changes.  
  • Here's an update on the status of our projects. 
 Upcoming Events

What: College access in the SouthCoast: a presentation on research conducted by Urban Initiative high school interns during summer 2013; for a preview of their findings, click here
When: Friday, 11/1 at 4p in the Grand Reading Room of the Claire T. Carney Library at UMass Dartmouth
Cost: Free; RSVP to urbaninitiative@umassd.edu to receive a link to the final report

What: Connecting for Change, a 3-day event sponsored by the Marion Institute to engage a diverse audience in solutions-based conversation around creating positive change in communities
When: October 25-27 in downtown New Bedford
Cost: Varies, and scholarships are available; learn more and register here 


Let us know if you want to see your event listed in this space! 

 Grants

KaBOOM! playground construction grants - deadline: 10/11  

 

KaBOOM provides funding and tools for community members to build their own playgrounds. Applicants must have an available site, additional funding for equipment, and a low-income population that will be served by the playground. Learn more here.   

 

US Soccer Foundation Field-building grants - deadline: rolling

Nonprofits, municipalities, and schools are all eligible to apply for funds to build a soccer field in an underserved community. Learn more and apply here.  

 Job opportunities
Do you need help getting the word out about a job opportunity? Send us your announcement and we'll share it both here and on our blog.

NEW: Massachusetts Nonprofit Network Job Board has launched; post or find a job here

Event Manager, Buzzards Bay Coalition
This full-time position is responsible for planning and implementing all fundraising events. Candidates should have project management experience, excellent communication skills, and a commitment to the mission of the organization. More details available at this link.
 

Assistant Project Manager, City of New Bedford Office of Tourism & Marketing

This full-time position will support the city's Director of Tourism & Marketing on projects that promote New Bedford and the arts and culture community, including supporting the city's proposed Cultural District. Candidates should have a Bachelor's degree and at least two years of relevant experience. Full job description here.

 

Financial Aid Advisor, uAspire Fall River

uAspire supports students (and parents) at Fall River's Durfee High School and Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School with the process of researching and applying for financial aid and scholarships. This position will be based in Fall River, but will require one day/week at uAspire's Boston office for training, development, and program planning. To learn more about the position, click here

In this issue:
SouthCoast Indicators
From the blog
Events
Grants
Jobs




 About the Urban Initiative:

 

The UI is a division of the Center for Policy Analysis that addresses challenges and opportunities in the region's smaller industrial cities, with a particular emphasis on Fall River and New Bedford.  

 

In addition to conducting applied research, evaluating programs and policies, facilitating collaborations, and providing technical assistance to cities and organizations therein, the Urban Initiative serves as a knowledge base for urban policy issues in the region.

 

Perhaps most importantly, our work to support cities supports UMass Dartmouth students. Graduate and undergraduate students enjoy the opportunity to apply their coursework in the field by serving as paid staff and interns. If you are or know of a UMass Dartmouth student who wants to work with the Urban Initiative, get in touch!


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Contact us!

 
Phone:
508-910-6407

Email: urbaninitiative@umassd.edu

Mail:
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747

Website: http://www.umassd.edu/urbaninitiative/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/urbaninitiative

Twitter: @UrbanUMassD 



Urban Initiative staff


Project Manager:
Colleen Dawicki

Graduate research assistants:
Robert Golder 
Katya Starostina

Undergraduate research assistant:
Mike McCarthy

Undergraduate intern:
Bethany Turek