Kanke | NAZ Academic Specialist located at PCYC

"At first, all of the scholars were trying to see who I was ...

One scholar was very resistant toward me, and toward a lot of things. Challenging behavior often shows up because the coursework is too difficult and the child tends to act out. It's not that they're a bad kid, but no one has had the time to stop and see what a kid needs.

One day, he brought his football, and I said: 'let's go to the gym' — knowing he was struggling with sight words. So we threw the ball back and for and spelled 'all' — A-L-L. That became our rhythm.

Now, he has a new way to learn. The classroom doesn't always work for everybody; sometimes we have to switch it up. And I really appreciate the opportunity to bring my creativity.

He's able to do both now — work in the gym and in the classroom space. What I'm able to do is build up his confidence in himself and in his reading. And he's doing it!

A lot of the staff a PCYC work in the field of social work, and they use the term 'hire.' And this scholar we're talking about hired me. It's a trust, someone he can trust and go to.

What I walk forward with is that connection with him. He knows we're on it — both of us. It's like 'Hey Ms. Kanke, we haven't met this week' and I'm like 'I'm coming for you; I got you.'

That's my guy. There was a lot of kicking and screaming at the beginning ... but he's the funniest and he's so loving and I wish everyone could see that."

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3 days ago  ·  

Mission & Values

NAZ Mission

The NAZ is a collaboration of organizations and schools partnering with families in North Minneapolis to prepare children to graduate from high school ready for college.

  • Our purpose is to end multigenerational poverty within North Minneapolis.
  • Each enrolled family moves through a “cradle-to-career” ecosystem that provides comprehensive support from pre-natal through college to career.

Shared Values

These values are the foundation of our work with families across the collaborative:

  1. Our Children Will Succeed: We believe that all children in North Minneapolis can and will succeed in school, in college, and in life—regardless of family background or past performance in school. Our actions with NAZ children match this belief.
  2. Families are Leaders: Every Northside family has assets and strengths. We believe a culture of achievement can only be built from within the community—one family at a time. We partner with families to set and achieve their goals, and bolster their belief in themselves and the expectation that their children will go to college.
  3. High Expectations with High Supports: Extremely ambitious expectations are set for NAZ students, families, partner organizations, and staff. The accountability for these outcomes is rigorous—but so are our supports. Every parent and student receives one-on-one support through our “high-touch” process, connecting them with programs and services across our partner organizations. All NAZ partners will support each other in an ongoing continuous improvement process.
  4. Driven by Data: Our resources are dedicated toward measurable outcomes for children and families. Success is gauged by results for children and families, not programs and organizations. NAZ partners work together to build evidence-based solutions that drive measurable improvements with NAZ families. We track the progress of each child toward kindergarten-readiness, grade-level achievement, and college readiness. If the data shows that we are not effective, we will revise our plans until we get it right.
  5. Relationships are the “Work”: We are creating transformative change built on strong relationships. We first work to change ourselves. Then, through our relationships, we invite change among organizations, families, children, and systems. Together we increase expectations, break down silos, and build accountability and alignment. We operate under the assumption of good intent in our interactions with each other, especially as we work through difficult issues together.
  6. Collaboration Creates Prosperity: NAZ partners built one system of support for families. This system is made up of many equal partners who are committed to working together for the success of NAZ children, including: parents, organizations, schools, funders, government, and faith institutions. We believe that our collaboration will have more than enough momentum to reach a tipping point of sustainable community transformation and prosperity.
  7. Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness: As we scale up to partner with more than 1,000 families with 2,500 children, we will be reflective of the diversity in our community—while targeting resources where the achievement gap is greatest. The rich diversity of our families is an asset to be woven into our processes and systems of support/service. NAZ staff and partners will embed cultural responsiveness within our work.
  8. Starting Early and Staying Long-Term: We work side by side with families from before birth through college, providing comprehensive support designed to impact a child’s education and life trajectory. We support the success of the whole family.