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Alex Visconti | Kelly Babcock DESIGN STUDIO

Low School Attendance Among 18–20 Year Old, At-Risk Youth

Copyright © 2012


TABLE OF CONTENTS 07 Introduction 17 Research + Synthesis 109 S2: Synthesis of the Synthesis 127 Prototyping 157 Final Client Presentation

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INTRODUCTION An introduction to the focus of our spring studio semester work. Section Contents: 09 The Client 11 Project Point of Entry 13 Our Role + Process 15 Project Timeline

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Areisha Geier Director of Case Management at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School

Introduction | The Client


The Client: YouthBuild Charter School Through personal connections as well as our own efforts, we established our client as YouthBuild Charter School in North Philadelphia. Specifically, our point of contact was Areisha Geier, the Director of Case Management. YouthBuild is part of a national chain of charter schools and offers a one-year program, where high school dropouts, typically aged 18–20 years old, earn a high-school diploma as well as a certification in a trade/vocation, all while providing community service and learning soft skills.

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YB

Introduction | The Client


Project Point of Entry For our project point of entry we were particularly struck by the paradox we had heard in our discussions with the staff. YouthBuild offered support services that typical publics schools did not, yet they had significantly low attendance rates. Some days attendance may be as low as 40%, and overall, it was the lowest attendance they had ever seen. Additionally, the demographic and geographic proximity of YouthBuild in Philadelphia added a level of complexity and exposed a great need. This was further supported by a recent Huffington Post article, published May 6, 2012, stating that among young adults, in the area highlighted in red on the map to the left, 1 in 4 do not graduate high school.

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Qualitative + Quantitative

Making sense of research

Adding constraints Rapidly prototyping User testing for feedback

Introduction | Our Role + Process


Our Role + Process Not only did the paradox reveal an opportunity, but also how the roles we had taken on as Social Designer, and our design process could be applied to address the issue of low attendance. For us, the term “Social Designer” means: one that notices pressing problems–that often include inequity, education, access to food and water, and sustainability–and seeks to solve them. Rather than efforts directed toward something like better vacuuming (and large economic profits), the drive is toward helping people and creating social capital, the non-economic wealth within a community. Semantic Zoom In

Semantic Zoom Out

We also used the method of semantic zoom throughout our process to understand the larger system of people, environments and services in relation to attendance. 13


Introduction | Project Timeline


Project Timeline For our project timeline, we began our work with YouthBuild right around the mid-term of the semester. Previously we had been pursuing a different direction that proved to be too large to tackle in the semester timeline. After establishing YouthBuild as our client we jumped into our research and worked through two rounds of prototypes and had various presentations to the client as well as within MiD.

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STAFF INTERVIEWS Objective: To gain a better understanding of how case managers view attendance/ absences, their role in the students’ life at YouthBuild, and any ideas for improving/ mediating low attendance. Section Contents: 19 Staff Interviews Research Method 25 Staff Interviews Research Tools 37 Staff Interviews Synthesis

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STAFF INTERVIEWS RESEARCH METHODS RESEARCH METHODS


Frank Case Manager

Louisa Case Manager

Ameen Dean of Students

Charla Case Manager

Pat Case Manager

Regina Case Manager

Staff Interviews | Research Methods


Interviews We chose to interview seven staff members at YouthBuild. They consisted of Ariesha (not pictured) the Director of Case Management, Ameen (top left) the Dean of Students, and five case managers. As we understood, the case manager’s role is to guide the student through external processes and give them access to services provided outside of YouthBuild.

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Staff Interviews | Research Methods


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STAFF INTERVIEWS RESEARCH METHODS RESEARCH TOOLS


Key Interview Points Name: Ariesha Geier Position: Director of Case Managers Company: Youth Build Philadelphia Date: 3.15.12

Surprises and memorable quotes:

Things that matter most to interviewee:

“touchy feely� at YB

the students well being

there is no attendance policy

wants to keep improving the school conflicted about wether to have an attendance policy, if so they need to stick to it

Main themes or learnings:

New topics or questions to explore:

YB is doing everything it can think of to get better attendance

the mentor/student relationship

YB is willing to try anything and let us help however we can they value an outside perspective

Staff Interviews | Research Tools

the data surrounding attendance restorative justice/practices


Key Points Worksheet We developed these worksheets as a way to digest and organize the information we gathered during the staff interviews. It helped us to keep track and share what each of us got out of the interviews.

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Key Interview Points Name: Louisa Position: Case Managers Company: Youth Build Philadelphia Date: 3.26.12

Surprises and memorable quotes:

Things that matter most to interviewee:

“The that it is is that a lot of them have been out of school for years that they are just so use to being on their own schedule, even if they are sitting at home watching Maury Povich, its not like they get up and go to the library, they’re just not here. A lot of it is laziness, but a lot of it is like no one was ever pushing them or making them, so it is a lot of self-motivation.” 6:55

Finding a way to connect with students to then use that as a motivator Seeing her caseload students using a skill YB taught them in a real life situation Connection

“Just connecting it on the day-to-day, that is the hard part.” 12:25 See quotes page

Main themes or learnings:

New topics or questions to explore: Living together

Connection on an individual and personal level to build trust Gift card incentives don’t work for those who don’t come Students not knowing how to overcome barriers outside of school prevent them from attending Need more time spent on creating long term goals in the beginning of the year and more revisiting of those goals

Staff Interviews | Research Tools

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YB get better at adhereing to rules they set for themselves Mental toughness 2 weeks Alumni come back for help frequently


Key Interview Points Name: Regina Position: Case Manager Company: YouthBuild Date: 3.26.12

Surprises and memorable quotes:

Things that matter most to interviewee:

she stays very connected to students after they graduate (wall of alumni)

connecting with students

thinks the attendance is within the control of the school - YB can do more to promote better attendance, sometimes the programs they enact just put a bandaid on a situation

running women’s group hard to maintain balance between giving and getting with students (enabling them)

thinks daycare at YB would be effective, not enabling students doesn’t know how to get students involved beyond understanding what motivates them and use that to help

Main themes or learnings:

New topics or questions to explore:

vocation attendance is worse because students have to be with the same teacher/students all day, on academic side they switch

women power

challenge is that she doesn’t want to burn out too early, wants to maintain balances

team meets (?)

male students have a harder time getting services and support

tools for motivation & what motivators are

day care truancy laws

female students give male students money, assistance

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Key Interview Points Name: Charla Position: Case Managers Company: Youth Build Philadelphia Date: 3.28.12

Surprises and memorable quotes: Students are very good at “juggling the system” for survival–in reference to enabling vs. supporting more difficult for men, women receive more support and have more housing options

Things that matter most to interviewee: tough love– I am not your friend biggest challenge is limited resources–need more age specific resources like housing, food, clothes, etc.

homeless because of conflict with parents

Main themes or learnings:

New topics or questions to explore:

Put more effort and time into students that are out of school than the ones who are actually here and doing what they are suppose to be doing

Being treated like they are in the workforce

social assimilation does not seem to be the main motivator for low attendance

picking vocation at orientation

Staff Interviews | Research Tools

Use alumni more to motivate current students–Brian is developing a program

need more age specific resources like housing, food, clothes, etc.


Key Interview Points Name: Ameen Position: Dean of Students Company: Youth Build Philadelphia Date: 4.2.12

Surprises and memorable quotes:

Things that matter most to interviewee:

started as a case manager

hard to find the balance between hand holding students and the real world

students intentionally drop out of public high schools and attend YB suspension rate was down 60% the year after implementing restorative practices

finding the right connections, not just any connection teaching in the moment re-examine lifeskills build in curriculum, not just when the student’s in trouble

Main themes or learnings:

New topics or questions to explore:

need to re-look at the mentorship program, redefine the word mentor

should leverage the squad more

use of the “care” word very passionate growing the “length of engagement” for the YB school year

alumni usage restorative practices and trainings some of the data about graduation in spring, summer and fall graduations

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Key Interview Points Name: Frank Position: Case Managers Company: Youth Build Philadelphia Date: 4.2.12

Surprises and memorable quotes:

Things that matter most to interviewee:

more of a tough love approach, but conflicted because restorative practices seem to work too

not hand holding students too much

Main themes or learnings:

New topics or questions to explore:

students have too many options for after they drop out, too many programs to enable their behaviors

reevaluation of the mentorship program

treat students the way he wants to be treated, and like adults he’s a realist, doesn’t sugar coat anything if you want it you’ll make it happen

Staff Interviews | Research Tools

students have attitudes and a sense of entitlement that he hasn’t seen before

more use of alumni


Key Interview Points Name: Ms. Pat Position: Case Managers Company: Youth Build Philadelphia Date: 4.2.12

Surprises and memorable quotes:

Things that matter most to interviewee:

Most students live on their own and have to pay bills–they need to work

Tough love/old school way/”no sympathy”/dont baby them

“If you really want it, you’ll make it work.”

Bring alumni back to talk about their experience

Been here 10 years, this class is crazy

Sometimes they have to fall to get back up

Main themes or learnings: Childcare and CCIS is the biggest problem Act “entitled” but when classmates see others in internships and graduating then itclicks and they get their butt in gear if mentors dont connect, ask them to try harder–try having lunch with them and you might find that you have more in common than you think

New topics or questions to explore: Receive a stipend once a week to help with bills when classmates see others in internships and graduating then it clicks and they get their butt in gear find better way to connect mentors

when a student doesnt connect with case manager or feels uncomfortable, they switch but keep the original informed

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Questions  for  Case  Managers     30  min  Interview     Name:   Date  &  Time:     1. Are  you  in  a  lunch  club?     2. What  is  your  typical  day  like?  When  are  you  most  busy/least?     3. What  do  you  like  most/least  about  your  job  here  at  YouthBuild?     4. What  is  your  biggest  challenge/most  rewarding  memory?     5. Less  formal  version  of  student  absence  worksheet:   a. When  you  have  been  absent  for  a  couple  days,  what  motivates  you  to   come  back?   b. How  do  your  coworkers,  students,  etc.  react?     6. How  do  you  react  to  the  students  after  their  first  time  absence  offense?  Second   time?  Multiple  offenses?     7. What’s  the  most  common  reason  you  get  when  asking  about  absence?     8. How  do  you  practice  empathy  with  students  on  a  daily  basis?     9. How  do  you  problem  solve  with  the  students  and  address  barriers?     10. How  does  the  low  attendance  affect  you  personally?  How  do  you  cope  with  it?     11. How  does  morale  change  with  attendance?       12. How  do  your  efforts  change  with  low  attendance?     13. Since  you  don’t  necessarily  see  an  “end  product”  with  the  students,  how  do  you   stay  motivated?  And  how  do  you  measure  success  for  yourself?  

Staff Interviews | Research Tools


Interview Questions We developed questions regarding all aspects of the YouthBuild experience, not only attendance. These questions allowed us to break into other aspects of YouthBuild that could effect low attendance rates.

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STAFF INTERVIEWS RESEARCH METHODS SYNTHESIS


“Most of the time it is outside

“Intimidated by older men in the

barriers why they don’t come to

shelter, lots of drugs or mental health

school[…]day care and housing.

issues. They would rather run the streets at night and sleep during

the day. Charla | Case Manager | #

Charla | Case Manager | #

“There are shelters in the city, but

“Playing the system for years, they

very few geared towards their age

know how to juggle it to get what they

group[…] sometimes there is a month

need. For many of them it is a way of

wait list.

survival, and many of these kids are a product of that.

Charla | Case Manager | #

Charla | Case Manager | #

“They are bouncing around, they

“They say, ‘well dag, you’re so busy calling

don’t have their uniform clothes[…]

the other students, I’m right here, can’t I

don’t know where their book bag is

get 10 minutes of your time.’ The pressure

located. Charla | Case Manager | #

Staff Interviews | Synthesis

is on to get back some of the students who aren’t in school. Charla | Case Manager | #


Quote Cards We audio recorded all of the interviews for easy reference after we left the office. Upon listening to these interviews, we realized that the staff was very passionate and had some great quotes that summed up different aspects of their positions at YouthBuild. These quotes were put into a card form, which we developed for easy manipulation.

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“Every student has something that

“I just try to figure out what their

motivates them, whether they are

goals and interests are and I just try

connected to stuff at school, or other

to play on that.

things like that. Louisa | Case Manager | #

Louisa | Case Manager | #

“A lot of it is laziness, but a lot of it

“I’m not saying that you can’t work on

is like no one was ever pushing them

it; but, there is something that we all

or making them, so it is a lot of selfmotivation.

have inside that makes us get up.

Louisa | Case Manager | #

Louisa | Case Manager | #

“In their minds they have to go [to

“If students don’t have those goals

school], and I tie it to them having

then I think that is a big part why it

goals beyond here.

[YouthBuild] is not connecting with

them. Louisa | Case Manager | #

Staff Interviews | Synthesis

Louisa | Case Manager | #


“A big one is child care–now if we had our own building, a daycare part

“What I try to do is bring in an alumni or a former student.”

would help out a lot.

Pat | Case Manager | #

Pat | Case Manager | #

“If you really want it, you will come to school.”

“I always tell them you want to be buying your own stuff, you don’t want to be depending on them because if you depend on them they will be all up in your face.

Pat | Case Manager | #

Pat | Case Manager | #

“If it was mandatory to go to school

“We are here to assist you not to give

every day to get your little corner job,

you what you want, but to assist you.

then you would, but they come and

You have to prove to me that you are

blame everything on us, but there is

only so much we can do. Pat | Case Manager | #

trying to get there. Pat | Case Manager | #

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“He and I still communicate today through Facebook.”

“I really have to pull teeth to get them [male students] to express themselves

Regina | Case Manager | #

Regina | Case Manager | #

“By the time I figured out what he was going through, it was [too late]”

“What I like most about my job is the connections I make with the students...when you can see the

transformation Regina | Case Manager | #

Regina | Case Manager | #

“Can be very difficult to find out whats going on with the male stu-

“About once a week I have a former student coming in here

dents

Regina | Case Manager | #

Staff Interviews | Synthesis

Regina | Case Manager | #


“the biggest problem is that a lot of them don’t understand…school is a

right, and in this age it’s a privilege

Frank | Case Manager | #

Frank | Case Manager | #

“if I don’t do youth build, I’ll just go to another program…there’s

too many options

Frank | Case Manager | #

“there’s too much wiggle room, too much grey”

Frank | Case Manager | #

“mental health issues aren’t getting addressed”

“not in the shelter because he doesn’t want to work. He’s taking the shelter as a given, where the shelter

is just to help Frank | Case Manager | #

“treat people the way I want to be treated” Frank | Case Manager | #

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“2010 had the largest graduating class we’ve ever had” Ameen | Dean of Students | #

“turnover has a lot to do with culture, cohesion and connection” Ameen | Dean of Students | #

“strict attendance policies and retention rates don’t necessarily go

“its my life’s work, its who I am”

hand in hand

Ameen | Dean of Students | #

Ameen | Dean of Students | #

“whenever I think about attendance and

“you plant the seed, but you may not

a solution, its never this single bullet,

reap the benefits of that seed, but

thing, its always an equation to me

you’re doing you’re job by planting

that seed. Ameen | Dean of Students | #

Staff Interviews | Synthesis

Ameen | Dean of Students | #


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Staff Interviews | Synthesis


Affinity Diagramming We used affinity diagramming to see connections between the different Case Manager views. It allowed us to manipulate the cards in a way that is easy to draw connections between what the case managers said and how we could group their quotes into similar categories.

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04.04.12

Staff Interviews | Synthesis


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04.04.12

Staff Interviews | Synthesis


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OBSERVATION Objective: To understand the various types of interactions, the vibrant culture, and the unique environment. Section Contents: 55 Observation Research Methods 63 Observation Research Tools 69 Observation Synthesis

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OBSERVATION RESEARCH METHODS


Observation | Research Methods


Observation We observed seven classes and community meetings at YouthBuild. Community meetings are a daily meeting where all staff and students gather together to present the work they are doing, as well as commend each other on academic and personal successes.

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01.25.12

Observation | Research Methods


03.15.12

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03.21.12

Observation | Research Methods


03.28.12

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OBSERVATION RESEARCH TOOLS


Date:

time:

teacher:

class subject:

# of students:

# of Females:

# of males:

EnvironmEnt

Post-class intErviEw

Physical, students, classroom, noise, arrangement

with teacher, “How did that go?”

Date:

time:

teacher:

class subject:

# of students:

# of Females:

# of males:

intEraction

EngagEmEnt

student ↔ student ↔ teacher

How long? levels? triggers in and out? who’s doing the engaging?

Observation | Research Tools


Topic Reference Sheets To aid us in focusing our observations, we created note taking sheets with the main topics of interaction–looking at all interactions between students and staff; engagement–how long students stay engaged, or what may cause them to lose focus; environment–studying the aspects of the physical environment; and a brief post-class interview with the teacher about how they felt the class went.

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03.15.12

Observation | Research Tools


03.21.12

03.28.12

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OBSERVATION SYNTHESIS


Observation | Synthesis


Transferring Our Observations To synthesize our observations we needed to extract the key points onto sticky notes. By bringing the information to the most granular level, we were able to then identify areas of commonality.

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Observation | Synthesis


Affinity Diagramming After the key points of our observations were captured on sticky notes, we then began using the method of affinity diagramming to group them by commonality. Once the stickies were organized, we wrote the topic that best described the cluster.

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03.23.12

Observation | Synthesis


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STUDENT GROUP Objective: To gain a deeper understanding of the student perspective on absence/attendance, ways they use and react to YouthBuild resources and ideas for improving low attendance. Section Contents: 79 Student Group Research Method 89 Student Group Research Tools 103 Student Group Synthesis

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STUDENT GROUP RESEARCH METHODS RESEARCH METHODS


Student Group | Research Methods


Student Group We held two iterations of the student groups. The first was a broad look at the students’ first day back at school after being absent for a period of time. We also attempted to gain better insights into their culture and sense of community outside of YouthBuild.

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03.22.12

Student Group | Research Methods


03.22.12

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03.22.12

Student Group | Research Methods


04.12.12

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04.12.12

Student Group | Research Methods


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STUDENT GROUP RESEARCH METHODS RESEARCH TOOLS


Think of a time when you were absent for a few days, but decided to come back to school. What motivated you to come back to school after being absent?

How did you feel during your first day back?

How did the following people react when you returned and how did that make you feel? Their Reaction

Teachers

Case Manager

Classmates

Mentor

Student Group | Research Tools

How You Felt


First Day Back Worksheet We designed this worksheet to use a matrix format in which students expressed how they felt their first day back at school after a long absence. It allowed them to fill in how different people reacted to them coming back to school and how they felt about that person’s reaction.

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Use the people stickers provided, and place them on your relationship map according to how close you feel to that specific person.

YOU

Student Group | Research Tools


YouthBuild Support Network This worksheet was developed for the second iteration of the student group we held. This worksheet zoomed in on the student’s individual support network at YouthBuild. It allowed them to visualize how close they felt to other people in their network.

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Example of student work.

Student Group | Research Tools


Case Manager

Case Manager

Case Manager

Case Manager

Teacher

Teacher

Teacher

Teacher

Mentor

Mentor

Mentor

Mentor

Student

Student

Student

Student

Alumni

Alumni

Alumni

Alumni

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Draw your Mentor.

What is one thing they always say to you?

What do they always carry with them?

Student Group | Research Tools


Draw Your Mentor This worksheet was designed to allow the student to draw what his/her mentor looks like. It offers a space for the student to write in one thing their mentor always says to them and one thing they always carry with them. It also asked the student to answer two simple yes or no questions relating to a deeper understanding of the mentor/student relationship.

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Example of student work.

Student Group | Research Tools


Example of student work.

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Student Group | Research Tools


Trends Activity During the first student group we asked the students to write comments about popular trends that relate to their lives outside of YouthBuild in an effort to understand the culture and atmosphere in which they operate on a daily basis.

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STUDENT GROUP RESEARCH METHODS SYNTHESIS


Frequency of Stakeholders in Student Support Network Charts

1 Teacher

Alumni

Student

Mentor

Other

Case Manager Is your Mentor your Squad Leader? yes no Do you set goals with your Mentor? yes no

Student Group | Synthesis

2

3

4


Matrix We set up a matrix for comparing the relationships on the student Support Network worksheets. It revealed to us that students felt closer to their mentors than case managers.

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04.15.12

Student Group | Synthesis


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S2 SYNTHESIS OF THE SYNTHESIS Making further sense of our synthesized research, in an effort to identify areas of opportunity to inform a prototype. Section Contents: 111 Meta Themes 117 Viewpoint Comparison Tool

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META THEMES


Dependency

Balance

Connection

Motivation

Basic Needs

Barriers

S2 | Meta Themes


Meta Themes We gathered the main themes from our synthesis of the staff interviews, as well as the provocative statements from the observations and student group interview synthesis, and identified that there were six greater, meta themes. Although these themes were common across both stakeholders, we found that their viewpoints towards each differed.

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04.04.12

S2 | Meta Themes


05.01.12

115


VIEWPOINT COMPARISON TOOL


[STUDENT VIEWPOINT]

[STAFF VIEWPOINT]

[TOPIC]

Misalignment

[OPPORTUNITY]

S2 | Viewpoint Comparison Tool


Viewpoint Comparison Tool To better understand how the viewpoints differed and to look for areas of opportunity for potential prototypes, we developed the Viewpoint Comparison Tool, on the left. In the center “topic” area, we placed one of the meta themes. In the “student viewpoint” section we placed a provocative statement from our synthesis that related to the meta theme. In the “staff viewpoint” section, we placed a quote card that related to the meta theme. From this, we extracted an area of opportunity and placed that statement in the “opportunity” section. We applied each of the meta themes, except for “basic needs” to this tool, which you will find on the following pages.

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OBSERVATION

QUOTE

Students are better at mediating altercations and motivating each other because of their ability to empathize with each other. They are very open and comfortable sharing everything.

“I encourage them to connect with someone who is positive–connect a negative with a positive person.”

MOTIVATION

Misalignment OPPORTUNITY

A better facilitation and understanding of the value of peer-to-peer relationships and student support network at YouthBuild would lead to more effective motivation initiatives.

OBSERVATION

QUOTE

Students with connection to Alumni can see a positive role model of a YouthBuild graduate and have higher levels of motivation to attend school.

“I run a group here...often times if they are having issues I’ll ask the Alumni to come and talk to the group.”

CONNECTION

Misalignment OPPORTUNITY

If student access to Alumni at YouthBuild was more frequent and formalized–even when there are no issues–then students will be more likely to develop those strong connections.

S2 | Viewpoint Comparison Tool


OBSERVATION

QUOTE

External barriers that students face are often hard to control and happen unexpectedly, which leads to an excess of absences.

“We don’t always realize the things in front of us that are the reasons why we are doing something, even though we know we are doing it for a reason–just connecting it on the day to day, that is the hard part.”

BARRIERS

Misalignment OPPORTUNITY

Students who are better prepared to overcome external barriers, outside of YouthBuild’s walls, will be more likely to have higher attendance rates.

OBSERVATION

QUOTE

Students get easily discouraged in the face of a problem or thinking about planning for life after YouthBuild.

“We’re gonna coach you up because you’re devoid of these skills.”

BALANCE

Misalignment OPPORTUNITY

Adding more time to the program, could lead to an unhealthy dependency; however, students need more time for the restorative method to be effective.

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OBSERVATION

QUOTE

The student-teacher relationship had a better balance of give and take. It is more defined and ruled by a more solid framework for accountability.

“We may be enabling them... we’re giving these things that may just be a band-aid.”

DEPENDENCY

OPPORTUNITY Misalignment There needs to be more of an emphasis on shifting from a negative dependency on YouthBuild to a more positive dependency on the outside community and other students.

S2 | Viewpoint Comparison Tool


04.23.12

123


Student

Co Ac nnec ta t s t ion is he co asig Bala or din ned nce ato /de of P r o pen are fo de nt/ ut sid nt on Chil dR em r oti ecei elat v va i tio ing s onsh n( er v ip ie. alu ices mn i)

cas em an ag er

Case Case Manager Manager

go es to

m en

blems c pro emi cad d/a uil hB ut Yo

Studen t go es t o

s lem b o pr ic

al tur /na ry nic a ga nd ip al/or seco sh on otion post ati rel l/em Build h tor na en rso Yout o d/M r/pe dt e en ep Fri cte of is de nne ce co lan ction tion Ba e a nn tiv Co l mo a Go

wi th

m te ys

Stu de nt

ith rw to

s

Student

Mentor Mentor ion Motivat

ion Connect

Motiv ation Conne ction

Understanding stakeholder relationships

S2 | Viewpoint Comparison Tool


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PROTOTYPE After identifying areas of opportunity through the use of the Viewpoint Comparison Tool, we were at the point in our process where we could begin applying them to prototype possible initiatives to address the issue of low attendance. Section Contents: 129 Context + Constraints 135 Mobile Application Development 151 Workshop Proposal

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PROTOTYPE CONTEXT + CONSTRAINTS


As outsiders, we see a large part of the problem of low attendance is that students have a hard time accessing the motivation and connection aspects of what they learn and feel at YouthBuild outside of the building.

Prototype | Context + Constraints


Informed Statement We began prototyping with an informed assumption, developed from the opportunities identified with the themes of motivation, connection and barriers.

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Prototype | Context + Constraints


Observed + Assigned Constraints We also applied both observed and assigned constraints to develop our prototype. We observed frequent mobile smart phone use by both staff and students. We were assigned a Design Sprint, where the constraints were: a one week time frame, use of simple materials, and bringing the prototype to a state in which it could be tested by users.

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MOBILE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT


Prototype | Mobile Application Development


Mobile Application Development We prototyped a mobile application as a way to build a bridge between the support practiced within YouthBuild’s walls to the students’ lives outside of school.

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CONCEPT DESCRIPTION Our focus for the design sprint and why it is valuable in the context of our project

Human connection is the most effective motivator for a student’s physical and mental presence in school. We intend to prototype a program that facilitates a stronger connection between mentors and students–ultimately leading to a more responsible and supportive peer-to-peer network inside and outside of school. The collaboration of the mentor and peer-to-peer network will form a community of interest, with the interest being the collective students’ (“squad”) graduation.

Prototype | Mobile Application Development


AUDIENCE DEFINITION Our target audience and what we hope to learn through this particular prototype

The users of our prototype include: mentors (all staff who are not Administration or Case Managers), motivated students (greater than or equal to 80% attendance), unmotivated students (under 80% attendance), and alumni of YouthBuild; these audiences are the make-up of the “squad.� Through our research we discovered that the most effective way to combat low attendance is by strengthening personal relationships, and having students hold each other more accountable. We hope to learn if technology can more effectively match mentors and students, as well as digitally complement the faceto-face relationship, to promote a more influential interaction.

139


OSITIVE PEER PRESSURE

Synthesis

Prototype

Students already set goals in school Students are better at mediating with their buteach have a difficult altercations andMentors, motivating accessing these goals othertime because of their ability to for use as motivation outsidestudent of school. empathize with another in a

similar situation; whereas, students in a conflict are quicker to dismiss teachers who “don’t understand.”

print 2 | GRID 605 Design Studio II: Interaction

Prototype | Mobile Application Development

p. 7


TUDENT CONNECTIONS

Synthesis

Prototype

If students able to have a visual Students value aare genuine connection representation of the members with authorities at YouthBuild, which in their squad respect in one place, they a feel fosters a mutual and builds directly connected to their moremore motivated student. YouthBuild support network outside of the building.

p.

esign Sprint 2 | GRID 605 Design Studio II: Interaction

141


Synthesis

Prototype

If students to create Although the hallsare of able YouthBuild aretheir own material, they they overed in motivational material, will out-dated feel a sense ofirrelevant ownership and it re often and will beinterests. more relevant to what o students’ By having inspires them. tudents generate content that is

meaningful to them, they will be more likely to change their actions based on it.

rint 2 | GRID 605 Design Studio II: Interaction

Prototype | Mobile Application Development

p. 9


ORT

Synthesis

Prototype

By digitizing already Students tend to bean very opensuccessful, and common practice of “shout-outs,� comfortable about sharing their students are able to send and opinions, knowledge, physical space, receive them outside of just personal objects, and food with one community meetings. another.

p.

ign Sprint 2 | GRID 605 Design Studio II: Interaction

143


Day 1 Mental Toughness Squad 22

YBridge

Squad 22 Contacts

YB

Joe 555-555-5555 Mary 555-555-5556

Day 14 Mental Toughness Squad 22

What was the best/worst part of the app? How can you use for the rest of the year?

YB

Scenario 1: Setting up the application during the beginning of the school year

SNOOZE

SHOUT OUTS

1 NEW

SHOUT OUTS

SHOUT OUT VIEW

Squad 22–great job on our attendance goal this week, we are SO close to getting free lunch, keep up the good work!

Shout out to Brie

Squad 22–great job on our attendance goal this week, we are SO close to getting free lunch, keep up the good work!

TEXT MESSAGE TEX

T MES

SAG

TO: SQUAD 22 Runnin way–b g late, but e there on in 15 my min!

SEND

E

TO: SQUAD 22 Running late, but on my way–be there in 15 min!

SEND

Shout out to Brie

Scenario 2: Student using the application outside of YouthBuild

Prototype | Mobile Application Development


To bring the application to a testable state, we built a paper prototype to better understand the application’s functionality. Through the use of simple materials we were able to visualize how a user may interact with it’s features.

145


03.29.12

Prototype | Mobile Application Development


03.29.12

147


03.29.12

Prototype | Mobile Application Development


149


WORKSHOP PROPOSAL


1. Introduction

4. Identify Misalignments and Areas of Opportunity

2. Capture Current Efforts of Mentors

3. Divide and Identify Common Themes

5. Brainstorm Tangible and Testable Solutions

6. Share and Debrief

Prototype | Workshop Proposal


Workshop Proposal As we zoomed back out and looked at the greater system, we identified additional areas of research needed–specifically with Mentors, who are all staff members except for Administration. For our second prototype, we developed a workshop to be run at the upcoming staff retreat. In an effort to share our process and have the staff prototype potential initiatives, we created the phases based on a similar method to what we had done throughout the semester. This would allow us to also gain a better understanding of the Mentor’s perspective.

153


YOUTHBUILD STAFF RETREAT

Total: 2 hrs

Introduction –Who are Alex and Kelly? –What work has already been done? –What work are we about to do? –Agenda –Ground rules

5 min

Capture Current Efforts of Mentors –Explanation of capturing method –Write five current mentor efforts, one per sticky note, pertaining to each of the following themes: balance, connection, and motivation (Example prompt: “As a mentor, or from your experience observing a mentor, how have you/they addressed each of these categories in dealing with your/their mentees?”)

11 min

Divide + Identify Common Themes –Divide into three theme groups: balance, connection, and motivation (group assignments are determined randomly by the number on the agenda they receive as they arrive at the retreat) –Group related sticky note ideas, within the specific theme group, to form common themes/topics

13 min

Identify Misalignments + Areas of Opportunity –Digest the provided research (common themes/topics from our research with the Case Managers and students) –Discuss misalignments across all stakeholders (Case Managers, students, and Mentors) –Re-frame the misalignments into three areas of opportunity –Vote for one area of opportunity to address when brainstorming solutions

27 min

Break Brainstorm Tangible + Testable Solutions –Brainstorm tangible + testable solutions by combining the area of opportunity with the constraints of each: a physical object, a YouthBuild service, a physical or digital environment/space, a YouthBuild process, or a printed or digital material –Vote for one solution to share with the larger faculty group Share + Debrief Share solution with the larger faculty group Debrief and give feedback

Prototype | Workshop Proposal

27 min

25 min


04.16.12

155


FINAL CLIENT PRESENTATION Objective: To inform the client of our research findings, methods and tools as well as share recommendations and next steps with them. Section Contents: 157 Client Presentation Process 161 Wicked Problems 163 Reflection: Co-Creation 165 Client Feedback

157


Presentation | Process Photos


Client Presentation Process We showed the client the process, tools, and recommendations for the final presentation. We used a physical manifestation of the Viewpoint Comparison Tool and went through the steps and how we used it. We developed three different narratives for presentation and chose the one that would best emphasize the point we wanted to get across.

159


04.16.12

Presentation | Process Photos


04.16.12

161


What is a Wicked Problem? A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: • incomplete or contradictory knowledge • too many people and opinions • large economic burden • interconnected with other problems “These problems can be mitigated through the process of design, which is an intellectual approach that emphasizes empathy, abductive reasoning, and rapid prototyping.” –Jon Kolko

Presentation | Wicked Problems


Wicked Problem We felt that it was important to stress to YouthBuild that attendance is a symptom of a wicked problem and that they will not find the one shot answer they were looking for. Rather than focusing efforts on one solution, we recommended that they chip away at the smaller more manageable aspects of the greater wicked problem than try to solve it all at once. We also recommended that they formalize a YouthBuild process that works for them through the use of the Communities of Practice.

163


Prototyping | A More Systemic View

Co-Creation + Transformative Design

Presentation | Reflection


Reflection We reflected on the fact that we were asking too much of the client to let us into the staff retreat and host a workshop in which we addressed specific aspects of the attendance issue. In this reflection, we came to realize that we had not been following our own advice and using cocreation all along. We also recognized the need for more of a regular update of the client on our research and progress. This explained why they were so hesitant to let us host the workshop.

165


Attendance + YouthBuild

Kelly Babcock and Alex Visconti YouthBuild | Spring 2012

Presentation | Client Feedback


Client Feedback The client was very receptive to our methods and research findings. We stayed for about an hour after the presentation to talk with them about the problems they see and better explain our process.

167



YouthBuild Process Book