Monday, March 21, 2022

Build Data Dashboard using ESSER funding.

Last week I watched a webinar where the term Social Determinants of Education was used in context of the non-school data schools could be collecting to better understand school performance and propose solutions.  I wrote about it here and included links to the video and website, along with other resources.

Below is a screenshot from the demonstration shown in the video. This shows how non-school youth development programs are plotted on a map along with indicators such as poverty. 

In my article I showed how the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) had started building a list of Chicago non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in 1993 and began using GIS maps to show where programs were needed and where more were located as part of that strategy. 

Read this article to see growth of our mapping strategy since 1993.  Visit this page to see current status. 

What I did not emphasize enough was that while we pointed to youth serving organizations and indicators of need, we also pointed to businesses, faith groups, colleges, hospitals, banks, etc. who shared geography and could be directly involved in helping fill a neighborhood with a wide range of K-12 tutor and/or mentor programs.

Click on this image and enlarge it, then look at the list posted on the right.  This is how we were sharing information in the 1990s, prior to the Internet.  

It's part of a "Rest of the Story" strategy that we developed to draw additional attention and resources to neighborhoods featured in negative news stories, such as kids getting killed in Chicago.

When we launched the interactive Chicago tutor/mentor program locator in 2008 we built a page of asset maps. You can see this in the graphic below. This is only available as an archive now (click here). 

When this was working you could click on any of the categories and open a new page. 

For instance, of you opened the "banks" page you'd find a list of 
Chicago banks. You could build a view showing only one, or several banks. You could also add information from the other categories.  Then you could zoom into a zip code, or Congressional district, or any small area on the map, and see indicators of need, existing programs, which you could sort by age-group served and type of program, and assets.

Below is a map view created using the assets map section:

This shows how I was able to zoom into a section of the city and build a map view, then add an image from a May 2017 newspaper story about "two men shot in front of a church". 

You can find many map-stories on this blog, and the tutor/mentor blog, showing similar map views. 

While this service is no longer available, it remains as a model for people building new dashboards.  Until that happens, I've shown some ways to use other dashboards.

The map view below is shown in this article. I used the Chicago Public Schools Locator platform and zoomed into an area on the far South Side of Chicago with extensive poverty, but too few non-school youth support programs. I highlighted on the map businesses nearby who could be helping.

For those who have the funds (perhaps from ESSER) to build new dashboards I created this concept map to show layers of information that could be included.  See it in this article

What my maps and articles focus on is funding and sustainability. It takes 12 years for a youth to move from 1st grade to high school graduation and several more years to move into a job.  While a few non-school organizations may succeed in attracting consistent funding, most don't have that type of ability. They struggle. 

If someone can create an interactive dashboard, and someone else can build a list of non-school youth serving organizations, sorted by type of program and age group served, others can integrate this into the dashboard and lead efforts to draw 'people who can help' through the dashboard and into different parts of the city, and the websites of organizations in those areas.

In the graphic above I've drawn a grid over the map of Chicago illustrating the potential for volunteer groups, businesses, faith groups, etc. to adopt specific parts of the city, collecting and maintaining program data for that section of the city and leading on-going communications and outreach efforts intended to draw support to youth programs in that area.  The could also be supporting the operations of programs in that area and/or making specific types of learning more available, such as computer science education. 

Ultimately, every high poverty area should have someone taking this role.  That takes me to another innovative project.   This is the Twitter page of Proven Tutoring. It's a project of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Research and Reform in Education. 

Visit the website, read the blogs, and view the list of reading and mathematics tutoring programs that they point to.  

This is an example of what universities could be doing to collect and share information about non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs in neighborhoods surrounding each university.  I've been reaching out to universities since the late 1990s to enlist one, or more, to take this role in support of the Tutor/Mentor Connection's strategies. Here's one example.

Proven Tutoring is partially funded by the Walton Family Foundation.  Just last week I saw this Tweet, showing a $281 million gift from @MackenzieScott to fund the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.   
Imagine the potential for a major donor to fund the one or more universities adopting the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy and goals and hiring a team like that at @RS21 to build a data platform that has all of the Social Determinants of Education features that they described in their webinar and in this blog article, along with layers of information showing youth serving organizations, and assets, which was collected and updated by students. 

Imagine the even greater potential if students in business, arts, sports and media departments were leading on-going campaigns to draw policy-makers, volunteers, donors, youth, educators and others to the platform and on to websites of youth organizations, who they then would support with time, talent and dollars.

That's the goal.

If you're still reading, thank you.  Please share this with your network and with people who can take up this call to action. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Using maps to drive resources to high poverty areas

 I started the Tutor/Mentor blog in 2005 and have posted 255 articles showing uses of maps. If you look at some of these printed newsletters you'll see that I was putting maps in stories back in the 1990s.

This MappingforJustice blog was started in 2008 and until mid 2011 shared maps created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection to draw attention and resources to volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs in high poverty areas of Chicago.  I took over the blog in mid 2011 when I launched the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and have continued to share maps made using the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator (now an archive) and maps made using platforms hosted by others.

There are so many stories on these blogs that it's difficult for people to find an overview that they can understand.  Thus, I recently began aggregating a few articles around different topics on my Wakelet account.  Here's one focused on using maps:

While most of my maps created up till 2011 focus on Chicago I point to platforms that can be used to create map-stories focused on any part of the United States.  

With this in mind, use my articles as templates for creating your own stories and try to mobilize public awareness and a flow of resources into all high poverty areas of your own community.  More stories written by more people, built greater public awareness, understanding and motivation.

Share your articles on Twitter and tag me at @tutormentorteam so I can reTweet them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Use maps to guide giving


Since 2008 stories on this blog have shown ways to use maps to understand where poverty is concentrated in Chicago and other cities and to draw needed operating dollars, technology, volunteers and ideas to youth serving programs in every high poverty area of Chicago.

As you celebrate the holidays view my lists of youth serving organizations. Visit websites to see what they do. Pick one, or two in different parts of the city to support. 

I depend on contributions to Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (not a 501-3-c) to help keep my lists of programs on-line and available to anyone. Visit this page if you'd like to help. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Africa will have most of worlds largest cities by 2100

 The map below if from a Washington Post article showing how Africa will have most of the World's largest cities by 2100.

Read the article at this link. 

Perhaps universities in Africa will adopt the map-based strategies I've been sharing with Chicago and other US cities since 1994.  

Thursday, November 18, 2021

MapsCorps - another data source

I've used this blog for more than 12 years to show uses of maps in stories that attract attention to important issues and to places where people need extra help from volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs and much more.

Here's a resource to add to your collection.  I've known about MapsCorps for a couple of years but had not seen their community mapping pages.  

If you go to and scroll down on the home page you'll see this map of Chicago.

Next click on any of the Chicago community areas shown in red to open a map focused specifically on that area. I clicked on Washington Park, which is just West of Hyde Park on Chicago's South side.

The community area is shown and you can zoom in and out to get a closer look.  On the left side bar are categories of information shown on the map.  I opened the "childcare and schools" category, then clicked on each category to see what would show on the map. When I clicked "other" the Chicago Youth Programs site was shown.  The pop-up provides an address and phone number but not a link to the website.  

Open each of the community areas and you'll find a similar map, but different information will be shown. It's a great resource. I just wish they had a category for "tutor/mentor" program, and that more of the programs operating in the city were showing up on the maps. 

If you use this resource, along with data from other platforms (see this article, and others like it on this blog) you can build an understanding of community needs, available  youth serving organizations, and assets in the area who might provide volunteers, technology, ideas and dollars.

All of this can be included in blog articles, videos, PDF presentations and more, with a goal of supporting existing programs and helping new ones grow where needed.

I learned about this resource in a webinar hosted the the To&Through Project. In the Tweet below you can find a link to the video and learn about this, and the map resources provided by LISC Chicago.
Universities and high schools should be teaching young people to create such map stories and show how they need to be repeated over-and-over for many years in order to build attention and convince leaders to provide the needed resources to the neighborhood. 

A blog like this one, and the Tutor/Mentor blog, which I started in 2005, should be found on various websites in every community area of Chicago, its suburbs, and in other cities. Note that I've written these for more than 12 years and have led the Tutor/Mentor Connection since 1993. Until others build and sustain such a long-term commitment and consistent flow of stories too few will respond to the needs of kids and families in each area where map indicators show there is a need.

It's the only way we will ever cut through all of the noise and attract needed attention and resources to high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

I'm on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.  Find links here.  Let's connect.

I'll be 75 this December.  You can support my work by making a small contribution. Visit this page

However, what's more important, is that someone from one of Chicago's universities steps forward to take ownership of my archive so it remains available as a teaching tool and inspiration beyond my own lifetime. A wealthy donor could make that happen.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Using data from multiple platforms

 Below I'm showing some data platforms that I've seen recently which show indicators of need for extra support of youth living in high poverty areas.

University of Chicago To&Through Project released a new report showing CPS students' enrollment patterns and high school/college outcomes by the community area in which they live. Click here to view the report.   At the same time a data platform was created to help people use the data.  Below is an image showing one page on this platform.

Follow @UChiToThrough on Twitter and see how they are helping people understand what's available and how to use this tool.

Next, view this report showing schools that include Computer Science Education. Below is a screenshot from a section of the data tool showing the Illinois 7th Congressional District.   

Next, look at the Chicago Public Schools locator platform. Below is a screenshot from that platform that I used in this blog article, to show assets in the neighborhood around different schools who could be helping school and non-school programs help kids. 

After posting this article I attended a ZOOM meeting where the Chicago Community Data Portal was introduced. Below is a screenshot from that.

These are just four data platforms that are available to advocates and planners who want to focus on specific areas within large cities like Chicago. There's a load of data in these portals. Take the time to learn what's available and ways to use it.   

Open this concept map and view other platforms that can be used. 

This data can help people understand where kids and families need extra help but will be of little value if more people don't use the data tools to create stories that attract the attention of policy makers, donors, volunteers, business leaders and others who need to be involved helping programs grow and schools improve.  Those stories need to be launched over and over in order to attract attention and motivate changes in habits.

What this requires are efforts that "influence" what others do.  The graphic at the left is used in several articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog to show that we need to influence resource providers, not just program leaders, youth and parents.  Here's one example.

Get involved!

This blog was started in 2008.  The Tutor/Mentor Blog was started in 2005. The Tutor/Mentor Intern blog was started in 2006.

Review the stories posted over the past 13 to 16 years. They are examples of the type of stories others need to be posting regularly, and for as long, in order to capture attention, mobilize resources and do the work needed to help kids move from poverty to jobs and careers.

If you appreciate these articles, consider a holiday contribution to help me fund this work. Click here.