These principles provide the foundation for developing a robust set of data practices that are critical to developing a culture of effective data use at CASA.
Data plays a vital role in ensuring that CASA is accountable to all stakeholders, including our members, funders and the public.
- As a non-profit organization, CASA is supported by multiple investors including the federal government, the State of Maryland, Prince George and Montgomery counties, corporations and foundations. At CASA, staff use data to measure how we are fulfilling our obligations outlined in our funding proposals.
- CASA has gained national and international recognition for its work. Given its lofty standing, the organization plays a critical role in helping to shape the local and national dialogue on Latino issues. Data and research on our services and programs can serve as a source for members of the public to examine the current and future status of the Latino population.
Data are crucial to understand how CASA is serving its membership, and if necessary, implementing changes in order to improve its services and programs.
At CASA, staff use data to understand how their programs are performing at any point in time. Through these data staff can identify problems, develop solutions and measure progress toward outcomes.
At CASA, we use a mixed-method approach to inform our data practices.
- CASA incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods (surveys, focus groups, interviews) in order to tell the story of how we are improving the quality of life of low-income immigrant communities in Maryland.
Research to Action
In recent years, CASA has engaged in an increasing number of research projects to elevate the understanding of the Latino community in Langley Park and the surrounding Washington D.C. area. Through these projects, CASA has developed and implemented recommendations for improving its programs, organizational policies and practices.
Langley Park Promise Neighborhood (SOMOS Langley Park)
Research: In 2012, CASA received a Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In conjunction with the Urban Institute and the University of Maryland, CASA conducted an in-depth needs assessment to examine the multiple challenges facing immigrant children in Langley Park. Findings from this study indicate that: Langley Park children start school less ready to learn than their peers, students fall off of track during middle school and in high school students face tremendous pressures to leave school early. Although parents express a desire to ensure that their children succeed, they often lack the knowledge of how to help their children get there.
Action: CASA has implemented key recommendations key initiatives to help improve the well-being of children and families in Langley Park including a multifaceted parental engagement program focused on increasing parent’s knowledge of school policies and practices.
Research: Since 2014, CASA has implemented Learning Together: a U.S. Department of Education funded integrated, place-based initiative designed to build parents’ skills, confidence, and social capital to navigate the U.S. education system in spite of Limited English Proficiency (LEP), low-education attainment, and immigrant/cultural challenge. Learning Together is part of an ongoing collaboration between CASA de Maryland (CASA), Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), and the Family School Working Group at the University of Maryland’s College of Education (UMD). The Urban Institute serves as the external evaluator for the program and will work to conduct a final evaluation of the program to be completed in March 2017.
Action: Anecdotal information indicates that parents involved in Learning Together have shown increases in their: knowledge of school practices and policies. In addition, a large number of parents enrolled in Learning Together have become advocates in improving the education system by launching and leading local PTO organizations.
Preparing for the Purple Line
Results: In 2014, CASA, in conjunction with the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, College Park conducted a survey of Langley Park residents. The goal was to better understand residents’ housing and transportation needs. The full repot will be released during the fall of 2016.
Action: Preliminary results indicate that as a result of the looming Purple Line, residents will face a multitude of changes to affordable housing and transportation. As a result, CASA is working to organize its members to continue its fight for fair and affordable housing and transportation.
Reforming Criminal Justice
Research: In 2016, CASA received a Byrne Criminal Justice planning grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. To better understand the issues facing the community in Langley Park, CASA worked with the Howard University of Department of Economics to develop and implement a community survey. In addition, CASA worked with leaders in the criminal justice field to conduct two focus group: one focused on youth and one focused on police officers- in order to gain a holistic view of crime in Langley Park.
Action: CASA will released the findings of this report in December 2016 and subsequently launch a campaign focused on reducing crime in the area.
Research and Action in the News
Langley Park study finds students face serious challenges– Washington Post (June 23, 2014)