Success Story: America SCORES New York
A conversation with ASNY Executive Director Shannon Schneeman on the impact of using UpActive and UpMetrics to track and measure program performance
By Bryan Kitch
March of 2016, I wrote a story on the America SCORES New York program, discussing their approach, outlook, and goals. (You can read it here.) At the time, ASNY leadership was new to UpActive (then SportUp)—after a year of using the platform, as well as UpMetrics’ data correlation, ASNY was not only able to show that they were delivering on their promise, but also exceeding New York Department of Education averages for ELA and Math, with participants attending school more often than their peers.
Put simply, afterschool works.
Here, Executive Director Shannon Schneeman details the ASNY approach to data collection and analysis, and how it has evolved over time using UpActive and UpMetrics.
Bryan: Prior to using UpActive, how did you manage ASNY activities (pen and paper, other program management software, etc.)?
Shannon: Paper daily attendance, collected weekly by the Program Coordinators. Then we’d do data entry every couple weeks into Youth Services.
What were some of the more immediate benefits of using the UpActive platform?
Significantly reducing the need for paper attendance. We still need to use paper sign out sheets every day and keep them for our records, but now we don’t have to enter all the attendance manually anymore.
When you looked through the impact data from UpActive and UpMetrics, how did it feel to see the numbers back up what you knew instinctively already — that your program was making a real difference for its participants?
It was completely validating. For us internally, for our staff, it served as added motivation, knowing that there is real change happening with kids through our program. They know this about the students they work with, but to see it on a larger scale across multiple schools was pretty powerful.
How, if at all, has using UpActive and UpMetrics software changed your decision making process?
I’m not sure it’s changed our decision making, but it has helped us in several ways on the program administration side.
It’s helped us better track the quality of our teams and coaches. The UpMetrics dashboard allows us to quickly see which teams are struggling for numbers, which could mean the coach is not the best fit, or perhaps there is something else going on. It allows us to address those issues immediately rather than waiting for paper attendance to come back to the office and then dealing with the issue.
"So essentially, it's allowed me to talk about our program in actual numbers that we are serving today vs. numbers that we served 3 or 6 months ago."
UpActive has improved the safety of our program in that every staff person has all the student information on their phones so that they can step in and help with a team, or call a parent, without needing to track down a paper roster. The ability to call any parent and have every child’s pick-up information on our phones has improved our program’s efficiency and safety.
Overall, UpActive and UpMetrics has been very helpful for our program team and ED as we grow. If we still only had 5 schools and 10 teams, we could easily manage that size, but with 15 schools and 30 teams, we needed something to allow us to track progress of each program without senior staff being there in person every day.
How, if at all, has using UpActive and UpMetrics software changed your approach to fundraising?
The UpMetrics Academic Correlation Study we did last year allowed us to add a qualitative outcome to our set of outcomes we use when explaining to donors or potential donors, the academic impact that our program has. Previously, in addition to qualitative surveys, we had been able to get student-specific data directly from some schools, but that process was very time consuming and handled internally. Having the extra capacity from the UpActive staff and being able to receive the synthesized data is something we could not have done on our own in this timeframe, given we don’t have a full time staff person dedicated to M&E.
I use the UpMetrics platform and downloadable data for donor reports, which is not unlike what I used to use on Youth Services, but the difference is that I can get the updated information quicker since the attendance is updated daily rather than every couple weeks or after the season when we’re collecting paper sheets. So essentially, it’s allowed me to talk about our program in actual numbers that we are serving today vs. numbers that we served 3 or 6 months ago.
Thanks very much to Shannon for her time! Story by Bryan Kitch. Originally published to the UpMetrics blog, Data for Good, on Medium.