Capitol Hill Release of AYPF Report on Programs Serving Disconnected Youth

Capitol Hill Release of AYPF Report on Programs Serving Disconnected Youth
Capitol Hill Release of AYPF Report on Programs Serving Disconnected Youth

Over the past several months, AYPF has 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.


This forum discussed the key findings from AYPF’s new report, Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth, and gave audience members the opportunity to engage each included programs in a dialogue around data collection and use.


Presenters included Molly Baldwin, Roca; Bob Rath, Our Piece of the Pie; and Akili Moses Israel, Diploma Plus.  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

Molly Baldwin is the Founder and Executive Director of Roca. For over twenty four years she has been a tireless advocate, mentor and community leader, reaching out to the highest-risk young people from our area’s most dangerous urban communities, and bringing together the major institutions, corporations, and agencies that affect these young people’s lives.

In 1988, Molly launched Roca from a single grant from the Teen Challenge Fund of Massachusetts to address teen pregnancy and violence in Chelsea. The organization has since expanded to serve the communities of Boston, Revere, and Springfield, MA, and is being sought after for national replication.

Roca’s Intervention Model for high-risk young people is internationally recognized for its effective use of evidence based practices and stage-based programming to help high-risk young men and young mothers change their destructive behavior, get jobs and stay out of jail. And Roca has become particularly well-known for its use of data-tracking and performance based management.

No longer a multi-service youth development agency, Roca is now poised to offer the criminal justice system a more effective and economically sustainable model for rehabilitating court-involved high-risk young men. Under The Intervention Model is emerging as a leading solution for breaking the perpetual cycle of violence, poverty and incarceration that affects so many young urban adults in America.  Roca is also deeply honored to work with 200 young mothers.


Akili Moses Israel serves as the Executive Director for Diploma Plus, a nationally recognized alternative education model designed to build competency-based high schools. As the Executive Director, Ms. Moses Israel provides successful implementation of the Diploma Plus’ vision, strategic plan, and program components in existing and emerging Diploma Plus networks.

Akili Moses Israel has been dedicated to educational improvement particularly for vulnerable youth and their families. She began her professional experience in education reform with the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (now Springboard Schools) in 1995. She has worked in several organizations committed to systemic school district improvement. Previously, Ms. Moses Israel worked for LEED-Sacramento (Linking Education & Economic Development), a nonprofit organization managing regional workforce preparation and development in various roles including CEO and Director of Educational Development. Her work primarily focused on providing technical assistance to high schools and districts to create educational systems and environments that work to increase educational, emotional and social success for all young people.

Prior to her work with LEED, she served in multiple capacities to support educational organizations in their efforts to achieve educational excellence including School Improvement Facilitator, School Coach, External Evaluator, Education Researcher and Director of School Redesign. Her more recent work included supporting school conversations to create and develop smaller learning communities and small autonomous schools to better prepare young people for life after school.


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 for this forum»

Click here to download a PDF version of the Beyond the Numbers publication»

Click here to read the Forum Brief for this event»


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.