Archive for the ‘Program Evaluations’ Category

America Saves, the organization that coordinates the annual America Saves Week , is working with Money Smart Week on a public awareness campaign that began April 5th. Money Smart Week seeks to connect providers of financial education to consumers who want to better manage their personal finances.

money smart weekThe need to connect consumers with financial resources is clearly there, as Americans continue to face challenges saving money and paying bills even as the country continues a slow economic recovery. In February, Stephen Brobeck, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of America, discussed the results of the America Saves’ annual survey saying,

Only about one-third of Americans are living within their means and think they are prepared for the long term financial future. One-third are living within their means but are often not prepared for this long term future. And one-third are struggling to live within their means.”



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I often reference Zero to Three in my posts on early childhood education.  They are a wonderful resource for parents and professionals interested the health and development of infants and toddlers. zero to threeZero to Three is also one of the main sponsors behind an early learning movement called Rally4Babies, which kicked off last July with a virtual rally that can still be viewed on their website.

In January, CAP was proud to recognize Kari Alley-Melchior, a lead teacher at Sand Springs Early Childhood Center, for co-authoring an article for Zero to Three’s bi-monthly journal. The article, titled “Common Themes Impacting Quality of Early Care and Education Environments for Toddlers,” explored six themes aimed enhancing the quality of education in toddler classrooms:

(1) Developing language throughout the day;

(2) Implementing alternatives to whole-group time;

(3) Following through with behavior guidance;

(4) Scaffolding all areas of development;

(5) Using encouragement in multiple and appropriate ways; and

(6) Integrating various types of data.

The journal itself requires a subscription, but their digital only option provides substantial savings over the print edition. Zero to Three is currently offering a free look at the digital version of (more…)

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The 2014 Tax Season will soon be in full swing.  This year there have been changes to CAP Tulsa’s Tax program, and we wanted raise awareness so Tulsans can easily find volunteer tax sites and other resources.

Beginning with the 2014 tax preparation season, CAP Tulsa will no longer offer free tax preparation publicly to Tulsa families. The CAP Tax service will only be available to families participating in other CAP Tulsa services, including its early childhood education program and those who live in the Eugene Field and Kendall Whittier Neighborhoods in conjunction with our Neighborhood Revitalization initiative.211 postit

The Tulsa Area United Way has been working with CAP Tulsa to garner interest from other Tulsa agencies, with the long-term goal of building a coalition in Tulsa to continue offering this vital service.

For the 2013 filing season, the United Way has been successful in locating agencies to host tax sites open to the public. Anyone seeking assistance for free tax preparation in 2014 can call the Tulsa Area United Way helpline at 2-1-1 or visit http://www.211oklahomahelpline.org/to find tax websites or options near you.

Anyone who is interested in filing their own tax return online can do so by visiting (more…)

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This guest post was written by Monica Barczak, Director of the Innovation Lab. 

Here’s a question we don’t get to ask ourselves all that often in the not-for-profit world: “What if anything were possible?” Frankly, it probably isn’t asked very often in the for-profit world, either. But it’s a terrifically powerful question underlying a problem-solving approach called Design Thinking. And it’s one of many notes I’ve jotted down since I began the “Design Thinking for Business Innovation” class on Coursera.

Design thinking 2As an innovative agency, CAP Tulsa is continually interested in producing better outcomes for the families we serve. We’ve gone about this in various ways: we research best practices; we work with academic experts; we survey the families and create focus groups.

Last year we worked with a leading design agency called IDEO.org, which was our first, unwitting step into the world of design thinking.  It was an eye-opening experience – fast-paced and, to tell the truth, uncomfortable. Now that I have the opportunity to learn about the steps involved in design thinking, however, I am excited about the possibilities of using it to tackle some of the complex problems we’re working on.

Here are some of the takeaways that have stood out so far: (more…)

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There is growing concern about the amount of student loan debt in the U.S, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warning that more than $1 trillion is owed on outstanding loans.  The reason behind this record amount of student debt is tied to the rising cost of college and the increase in college enrollment.

While a college degree is still a worthwhile investment, the debt today’s graduates accumulate can impede their financial stability for decades after they leave school.  In fact, it can leave many young people with the impression they can’t afford to take a job in public service, such as teaching, because it doesn’t offer a salary high enough to pay off their loans. This reality drives talent away from public service, and is one of reasons the CFPB 09-26-12-Student-Debt-00-01 and others are trying to raise awareness of loan repayment and forgiveness options (See: Public Service & Student Debt).

According to the CFPB, the cost of attending a public university in the U.S. has increased 42% in the last ten years, and for private universities the cost rose 31% for the same period.

Yet even in the face of rising costs, more people are attending college.  In the last 20 years, college enrollment has risen from 13.8 million to 21 million.  Pew Research now estimates 19%, or one out of five, American households owe outstanding student debt as of 2010.

As worrying as the cost of a college education may be, there is still value in it.  Last year (more…)

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We all need a break once in a while.  No one can argue with that.  However, the long summer break can be challenging for low-income families with regards to child care and food security, as discussed in a previous post.  Another downside to long summer breaks is the well-documented learning loss that occurs when children are not engaged in educational activities for long periods of time.

The good news is that this “Summer Slide” is not inevitable.  By taking part in special activities, kids can have a fun and educational summer. Summer Learning DayResearchers have found one reason for the achievement gap between low- and middle-class students is a lack of access to quality summer enrichment programs among lower-income families.

Summer learning loss is cumulative, building over time so that many kids from low-income families fall further behind their peers year after year. According to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose two months of grade level equivalency in math during the summer break.

Studies also show that while students from middle-income families make slight gains in reading skills over the break, students from low-income households lose more than two months of reading achievement. While a number of districts have turned to year-round schedules or extended school years to combat summer learning loss and meet the child care needs of working families, summer programs offer a slightly less expensive way to target educational enrichment courses to high-risk students.

According to a 2011 Wallace Foundation report, Making Summer Count, school districts running their own summer programs spent less (more…)

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School is already out for many Tulsa students, and for families struggling with food insecurity the summer months can be a lean time. Tulsa Public Schools reports that 84% of students in their district receive a free or reduced lunch. For these kids, the summer months can be hungry months if their ongoing nutritional needs are not met.

SFSPLogo_smTo address this need, the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program provides meals during the summer break. Nationwide, 2.28 million children participated in the program in 2012.

The TPS version of this program, Summer Café, kicks off on June 3rd and lasts through July 26th.

There are no applications or documentation requirements. Summer Café will feed children regardless of school enrollment, citizenship or status.

More than 60 sites across the TPS district will serve breakfast and lunch to children under the age of 18. Locations include schools, worship centers and community centers.

According to a recent story on Tulsa’s Channel 8 News, the program served 81,690 breakfasts and 121,201 lunches to Tulsa children during the summer of 2012.  However, TPS wants to spread the word about Summer Café, because they feel they could serve more children if they raised awareness about this program.

Across Oklahoma, other areas are also offering the Summer Food Service Program:

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