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 year-olds.
- Ready to Succeed, for parents of 4-5 year-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 the 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 Pathways, 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 Out-of-School Time (OST) 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.
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 and 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.
Families that live in areas of racially concentrated poverty are exposed repeatedly to multiple forms of trauma over many years. What is typically viewed as negative behaviors by individuals often represent coping strategies or outcomes resulting from trauma and living in a survival mode, but which now stand in the way of achieving family and academic goals. (Examples of such behavior are conflict avoidance, challenges sustaining positive relationships, controlling emotions, etc.) As such, NAZ family achievement coaches and family support specialists are trained in a trauma-informed approach that helps them understand their own beliefs and how these impact parents and scholars.
Trauma-informed Student Engagement Framework
To ensure that every student reaches their academic potential, school cultures must address the daily trauma that Northside students experience. What is typically thought of as negative behaviors often represent underdeveloped ways for students who have experienced trauma to make their voices heard in positive ways.
The goal of the trauma-informed student engagement framework is to shift the lens from which teachers/staff view and engage students by helping teachers/staff identify their own beliefs; how these impact students; and by helping them learn and apply skills that address beliefs that impede effectiveness as educators. This work will take place within all K-8 schools in the NAZ collaborative (Ascension, KIPP, Mastery, and Nellie Stone Johnson). Over the course of the current school year we will:
- Foster the use of empowerment as a foundation for building scholar self-image and positive interaction skills;
- Increase educator quality and skills by helping teachers/staff become behavioral “regulating partners” who support scholars’ social-emotional development;
- Address the pressing needs of scholars by providing positive intervention for problematic behavior.
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.
Family Support Specialists provide 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 a Family Support 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.