Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth

Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth
Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth


Over the past several months, AYPF conducted in-depth studies to examine how three high-achieving youth-serving programs utilize data as a tool for continuous program improvement and ongoing accountability. Key research questions included: how has the organization’s use of data evolved over time; how is a comprehensive data management system serving the dual purposes of program improvement and compliance with reporting obligations; and what information is most useful to drive program improvements.

During the webinar, we discussed the key findings from our forthcoming report, Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth, as well as, had an opportunity to engage in dialogue with each included program.

Presenters included:  Gloria Pineda with Diploma Plus, Bob Rath with Our Piece of the Pie, Inc., and Dana Betts with Roca.  The three profiled: Diploma Plus Network, Our Piece of the Pie, and Roca were selected because of their proven track record of success in serving the needs of disconnected youth.

Presenter Biographies


Dana Betts has been employed at Roca for over eight years.  She is currently the Program Director and oversees the work for Roca’s highest risk males, ages 17-24 years old.  Starting as a Roca Youth Worker, Dana has grown in management throughout the organization.  Prior to her career at Roca, she worked with youth committed to the Department of Youth Services.  Dana graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and recently completed her Master’s Degree from Lesley University.

Gloria Pineda is the National Network Director for the Diploma Plus™; a non-profit educational corporation that creates and manages performance -based, alternative education network high schools for at-risk youth; where she formerly served as network manager and implementation school coach.

Before joining Diploma Plus, Gloria Pineda was an English Language Development Instructor, GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Program Coordinator and interim Counseling Coordinator for Salem State College Access Programs where she designed and managed outreach programs to increase post-secondary awareness and academic access for students from various socioeconomic backgrounds. She has been featured in Competency Works’ The Art and Science of Designing Competencies (August 2012).

Ms. Pineda has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters Degree in Education from Cambridge College and is currently focused on developing competency-based program design and coaching practices for off-track youth.

Bob Rath is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Our Piece of the Pie®, Inc. (OPP®), based in Hartford, Connecticut. With more than 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, Bob led the transformation of OPP into a youth development organization intently focused on helping urban youth, ages 14-24, become successful adults. OPP’s signature program, Pathways to Success, has been successfully implemented in three settings: community-based centers, high schools, and community colleges.  In particular, OPP’s high school-based programs target over-age, under-credited youth, and currently exist in the Hartford, CT (Opportunity High School) and Bloomfield, CT (Learning Academy at Bloomfield) areas.  These schools reflect Bob’s commitment to addressing the high school dropout crisis, as they are exclusively focused on re-engaging high school dropouts and struggling students.  Along with working to expand Pathways in communities and schools across the state and nation, Bob is engaged in state and federal policy agendas, pushing for a greater focus on our country’s struggling students and high school dropouts.

Bob was recognized as a “Local Hero” by Bank of America in 2006, served as Chair for the CT Children’s Council, served as Treasurer and Board member for the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC), currently serves as Chair for Communities Collaborating to Reconnect Youth (CCRY), the CT Employment and Training Commission Youth Committee and has been a member of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce since 2006. Most recently, Bob was awarded the 2010 State of the Schools Award, in gratitude for improving the state of Hartford’s schools.  Bob has recently co-authored several issue briefs on the issues facing these students, offering solutions for how to best serve them.  In December 2010, “Clearing the Path: Creating Innovation Space for Serving Over-Age, Under-Credited Students in Competency-Based Pathways” was released as collaborative project between leaders at OPP, Schools for the Future, MetisNet, and iNACOL.  Following this, OPP released “The Rise of High School Dropouts in Adult Education: Making the Case for Raising the Compulsory School Attendance Age and Expanding Alternative Education Options in Connecticut” in November 2011.  Finally, in July 2012, OPP released “Helping Over-Age, Under-Credited Youth Succeed: Making the Case for Innovative Strategies.”


Click here to view the Power Point slides»
Click here to view this Webinar on YouTube» 


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.