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Community School Data Presented at M3 Huddle

April 1, 2024

Sixty-four representatives from more than a dozen youth-serving organizations in Rice County attended the M3 Huddle in January to discuss how their programs were meeting their goals and how they might be improved. Participants also heard a presentation by three Northfield High School TORCH students.

Senior Xochitl Valdez, a former community school attendee; junior Rihanna Gonzalez Sandoval, a former community school attendee; and senior Marianna Estrada, a former community school staff member, surveyed more than 120 Northfield Community School participants in grades K-5. They shared what students said they liked about community school, and they made three recommendations for improvement: offer more engaging options for all students, offer clubs that include all students instead of separating them into different clubs, and continue to offer community school at no cost. 

Twice a year, Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) brings program teams together for an M3 Huddle to study data and plan action steps during a facilitated workshop. M3 stands for Making Meaning with Multiple Data Sets. It’s a continuous improvement method for youth programs that receive funding from the Minnesota Department of Education.    

The participants at the January workshop represented Growing Up Healthy, the HCI data team, MESA, the Northfield Area Family YMCA, the Northfield Community College Collaborative, Northfield Community Schools, the Northfield Middle School Youth Center, the Northfield Union of Youth, TORCH, RISE, and the four locations of Faribault Community School (Roosevelt Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Faribault Middle School, and Faribault High School). 

The M3 Huddle was facilitated by Amy McBroom, HCI’s Data and Analytics Director.

“Everyone is entrenched in their work, but they don’t always have time all together to take a step back, evaluate their data, and see if the program is making the impact they hoped,” McBroom said. “Scheduling these events gives people the planned time to be able to dive into their data a little more, to see if it’s showing them the impact they need to make, and if they are addressing the needs expressed by the youth and families they’re serving.”

Tessa Kiesow, the TORCH director at Northfield High School, said the TORCH team looks forward to M3 Huddles. 

With the day-to-day business of working with students, it’s hard to find time to reflect, and M3 Huddles give us a much-needed chance for data-driven, intentional conversations that shape our programming for the rest of the year.”

This was the Northfield Community College Collaborative’s first time attending the M3 huddle.

NCCC Director Meleah Follen said the NCCC staff was able to reflect on its goals for the students and the program, and consider whether it had the right tools to measure progress on those goals. 

Our biggest outcome was a realization that we need to more actively engage with our students in our evaluation work to ensure we are accurately capturing their experience,” she said.

The next M3 Huddle will take place in August.

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