Parents are the first and primary teachers of their children. NAZ Family Academy is one important step in NAZ’s ecosystem of supports that provides parents with the knowledge and resources to help their young scholars succeed. These classes are an important part of our layered and aligned collaborative strategy.
Family Academy offers a series of classes focused on providing parents with the skills and tools they need to strengthen the stability of their family and support the academic success of their children. Courses include:
- Family Academy Foundations, for parents of children of all ages
- College Bound Babies, for parents of 0-3 years olds
- Ready to Succeed, for parents of 4-5 years olds
- College Bound Scholars for parents of elementary age scholars
Family Academy curriculum combines evidence-based best practices with the real life experiences of NAZ families. The parenting strategies are presented in ways that are relevant to lives of NAZ families and that value parents’ unique strengths. The skills they develop in class are reinforced through one-on-one interactions with their NAZ Family Achievement Coach.
Today, about one quarter of children living in North Minneapolis start kindergarten ready to learn—marking the beginning of the achievement gap. NAZ provides more than 100 state-funded scholarships, called Race to the Top, to attend three- and four-star rated early childhood centers.
NAZ partners with nine area schools to improve the educational experience and support academic excellence for all children. NAZ Anchor Partner schools include a unique collaboration of public district, public charter, and parochial institutions that are located in North Minneapolis. All have been working together on groundbreaking reforms at the leadership level.
NAZ scholars are jumping ahead in reading and math proficiency with the support of Expanded Learning (ExL) programs, offered at seven partner sites. Each program follows the same best-practice NAZ Solution—and focuses on accelerated math and reading outcomes.
After-school and full-day summer programs are offered. NAZ scholars are tested when each session begins and ends. See our results page for the most recent outcomes.
Research shows that children are more likely to stay in school and succeed academically when matched with a mentor. NAZ combines strong mentor role models with our “cradle to career” support.
As purposeful connections are made between caring adults and every eligible NAZ child, a culture of achievement is built throughout North Minneapolis—one family at a time. We are actively seeking mentors. Please join us!
Our college solutions are currently in the planning stage. Through NAZ, local colleges and universities are gathering to develop a plan that supports NAZ scholars to transition to and graduate from college. This includes colleges regularly connecting with NAZ scholars as early as middle school. While our scholars are preparing for college, our partner institutions are also working to be ready for Northside youth when they arrive on campus.
Our health & wellness solutions are currently in the planning stage. Local health providers are beginning to collaborate with NAZ to support our scholars and parents to identify and address health concerns that are a barrier to their academic success. We are committed to promoting a culture of wellness within North Minneapolis.
High levels of challenging behavioral health conditions are experienced by Northside residents; much of this stems from trauma. Schools and after school programs regularly remove and expel children with behavioral health challenges, exasperating their learning gaps.
The NAZ model is designed to identify and address these needs on the front-end. Families are connected with the NAZ Behavioral Health Access Specialist—a licensed clinical social worker who meets face to face with families and works to understand their needs. The Specialist follows a diagnostic process that begins with a formal intake tool to assess whether the family has needs related to conflict, social-emotional/behavioral concerns, safety/risk concerns, chemical dependency issues, and other mental health concerns.
Scholars and parents with behavioral health needs are supported with counseling from our partner organizations. This helps scholars to remain in high-quality academic programs and helps parents to stabilize their household.
Career & Financial Pathways supports are designed to strengthen NAZ parents’ economic ability to provide a healthy and financially stable environment at home—so their children can succeed academically. As parents improve their own trajectory, they are better able to support their children in preparing for college and a career.
The NAZ Career & Finance Specialist provides one-on-one support to explore education and work history to identify an individual’s employment strengths and any employment barriers.
NAZ families each set goals within their Achievement Plans that follow best-practices in supporting educational success for their children. After at least three months of demonstrated focus working toward their goals, families may be connected with the NAZ Housing Specialist to receive specialized support to find housing opportunities. The Specialist works to understand each family’s goals and budget; helps them create a housing stabilization plan; and works with housing partners to secure housing placement. In addition, parents may be referred to Behavioral Health or Career and Finance partners when issues of mental health or employment are mitigating factors.
NAZ Connect is an online achievement planning and data collection system that supports our “high-touch” approach with families.
Families work with their Family Achievement Coach to develop one set of goals within the NAZ Connect tool—called Achievement Plans. These Achievement Plans are supported across our system of collaborative partners. Through NAZ Connect, we are able to monitor the progress of each individual toward their goals, as well as the progress of each program.
Through the coordination of the NAZ Connect tool, families, schools, and organizations are now working together at every turn to drive success and provide opportunities, support and solutions to persistent challenges.