Teachers Grow and Young People Find Their Voice. Ford's Theatre, where President Lincoln was assassinated, invited DME to help it build its education programs. DME provided technical assistance, research to "tune" new programs, and strategic guidance. Initial work focused on leadership, history, and voice. Through its oratory programs, Ford's empowers teachers and students, with a focus on rural and urban communities. DME studied partners from Missouri, D.C., Nebraska, Baltimore, Iowa, and across the U.S. to inform Ford's oratory work.
Sharing Wisdom to Save Baby's Lives
Baltimore Healthy Start turned a corner after working with DME for a year through JSI Inc. technical assistance and then engaging direct DME planning and facilitation, this public health organization rebranded, stabilized the organization, and began to share its wisdom with other communities throughout the region. Dedicated to reducing infant mortality, it had a generation of success stories of how to connect with and empower young mothers in Baltimore's central neighborhoods to make choices, tap health care, and support each other to invest in their baby's health. Since the coaching, BHS and its partners have hosted two Health and Housing Symposia to tackle the challenging systems surrounding infant mortality. These convenings serve to raise the voices of its community leaders, shine more light on systemic challenges and gains made in these central Baltimore neighborhoods, and raise the BHS profile as a thought leader and convener, allowing it to help more people and save more infants.
To support this two decade old network, DME facilitated their early discussions about what is most important to measure when evaluating the impact of their work. With the identification of the key role of health measures, VFTS engaged the VT Department of Health to take the lead developing and collecting a baseline on school food and nutrition activity. Results of the first statewide survey follow, allowing the network to begin to understand the current level of engagement and involvement and build the case for strengthening state and local support for VFTS grants, universal meals.
Tennessee Eliminates the Poverty Achievement Gap in Test Communities. DME's state needs assessment, Ready, Set, Grow!, served as the foundation for a Tennessee education reform effort that received the top rated 2006 U.S. Department of Education grant. The support catalyzed Value Plus Schools, a research-based, arts-infused reform initiative for schools in under-resourced communities, from rural mountain towns to urban cities. An independent evaluation finds
the Value Plus Schools students showed greater academic progress than
comparison schools, even though they had higher percentages of students
at-risk for failure. The reform approach involves families as assets, uses whole school professional development, teaches in and through the arts, and makes schools more permeable.
Theatre Empowers Those Not Heard
As a result of working with DME on its partnership with a maximum security juvenile rehabilitation center, Delaware Theatre Company learns to teach and adapt to a variety of populations. Through playwriting, theatre and professional development, DTC now structures innovative partnerships to cultivate and share the creative wisdom of students, seniors, and social service clients.