Welcome New NAZ Leaders!

We are excited to announce three new leaders have joined the NAZ team: Vanessa Abanu, Keary Saffold, and Reggie Prince.

Vanessa Abanu, Collaboration Director - Academic SuccessVanessa Abanu, Collaboration Director – Academic Success

Vanessa will work with early childcare providers, K-12 partner schools, and Expanded Learning partners to continuously improve solutions that accelerate learning and create a culture of achievement.

Vanessa is a long-time resident of North Minneapolis, and has worked in educational settings for the past 24 years. Most recently, she has been the University of Minnesota’s African American & African Studies Department Community Outreach Program Coordinator. In this position, Vanessa managed the collaborative outreach programs, including K-12 professional development for educators. She received a M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership and is a doctoral candidate in Educational Policy and Administration and the African Diaspora at the University of Minnesota.

Keary Saffold, Engagement ManagerKeary Saffold, Engagement Manager

Keary will lead the NAZ Family Achievement Coaches and ensure strong collaboration with partners at Nellie Stone Johnson and KIPP North Star Academy.

Keary has been serving the needs of youth and families for the past 16 years in both mental health and educational settings. Most recently, Keary was the Dean of Students at Crosswinds Art and Science Middle School. He holds a B.S. in Human Services, and is currently completing his Masters in Educational Leadership at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Keary will start Monday, July 11.

Reggie Prince, Engagement ManagerReggie Prince, Engagement Manager

Reggie will coordinate the team of NAZ Family Achievement Coaches located onsite at NAZ Central, supporting their success in working with families and partners across the organization.

Reggie has vast experience in training and consulting in motivational interviewing, risk assessment, case management, and leadership skills. In addition to operating a consulting business, Reggie has supervised staff and developed programs in the field of Community Corrections. He holds B.A. degrees in Psychology and Sociology. Reggie will start Monday, July 25.

New NAZ Data Shows Promising Ways to Close the Achievement Gap

New NAZ Data Shows Promising Ways to Close the Achievement Gap

NAZ recently released the 2015 Data Summary of the NAZ collaborative’s work. In a state with the highest racial disparities in the nation, we’re very proud of the progress we’re making. Though the achievement gap is far from closed, we are beginning to see areas of significant improvement.

Key results include:

  • 1,100 Northside families with 2,300 children are participating in NAZ.
  • NAZ children are 2.5x more ready for kindergarten than peers.
  • Reading proficiency is higher among NAZ students attending partner schools with deeply embedded and integrated NAZ supports.
  • 303 children were supported to stabilize housing.
  • 616 children participated in academic-focused after-school and summer programs.
  • Parents who graduated from NAZ classes completed education goals for their kids at 2x the rate of those who did not attend.
  • 71 parents secured employment and 300 are working on career goals.

When children have access to opportunities, they do amazing things. Together we’re getting better at creating the opportunities they need most!

NAZ College StudentNAZ College Student: “If I can do it, you can too!”

NAZ scholar Jackie Lucas moved to North Minneapolis when she was young. “My parents didn’t want me to struggle like them,” she says, so they enrolled in NAZ.

Jackie started working at age 13 at NAZ partner organization Cookie Cart. She worked through high school at Patrick Henry, all the while keeping her grades up. This earned her a scholarship from NAZ.

Today, she attends a historically Black college in Mississippi. “Everyone is different and every college is different,” Jackie says. “Look into different colleges and pick what fits you.” She found a great group of friends at school who encourage each other to succeed.

Jackie plans to become an OB/GYN. She tells other kids to find their dream and make it happen. “If I can make it to college, you can too,” she says.

400+ Celebrate N Mpls Kids and Families!400+ Celebrate N Mpls Kids and Families!

On May 26, NAZ hosted our annual Community Celebration. Over 400 people from North Minneapolis and beyond came out to Patrick Henry High School to celebrate the amazing kids and parents who are transforming North Minneapolis into a college-going community!

There was food, face painting, Connect Four, giveaways, and a stage show featuring Abdul Wright, teacher at Harvest Prep and Minnesota Teacher of the Year; Destiny Fennell, NAZ scholar; Jackie Lucas, NAZ college student; Sondra Samuels, president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone; KMOJ’s Q Bear and Prince of Darkness; and drummers from TKO and Riot Squad.

Check out photos from the event on the NAZ Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

NAZ in the News

Not all bad news in the so-called “battle zone” of north Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 17
Not all bad news in the so-called “battle zone” of north Minneapolis
A June 8 headline in the Star Tribune called an area in north Minneapolis “the battle zone.” I call it my home, as do more than 1,000 families and 2,300 children who are enrolled in the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). Many families in the NAZ, especially children, face a complex web of challenges. North Minneapolis is ground zero for the racial disparities that have made Minnesota dead last in the nation for gaps in academic achievement, homeownership and household income.Read more
Why Dads Matter: The role of father in child development and what moms can do to help dads succeed Mom Enough, June 13
Why Dads Matter: The role of father in child development and what moms can do to help dads succeed
In the early months of a child’s life many dads struggle to find their role in caring for the baby and supporting mom through those exhausting days and nights. And sometimes we moms send messages, subtle and not-so-subtle, that dad just can’t measure up to our standards of care. But, in the long run, everyone will win (mom, dad, child) if dad is fully engaged as a caregiver.Read more

NAZ FLASH / News from the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ)
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