Boston College:City Connects Performance Support System

Gnaritas worked closely with Boston College’s Lynch School of Education in an engagement for its “City Connects” program that drew on our expertise in a number of areas and went beyond a typical e-learning/performance support project.

The “City Connects” program uses the existing structures of schools and the resources of community agencies to deliver tailored support and enrichment opportunities for students. Its school-based model identifies the strengths and needs of every student and links each child to a tailored set of intervention, prevention, and enrichment services in the school or community. Currently active in 63 sites, including in Boston and New York City, the program efficiently and cost-effectively addresses the in- and out-of-school factors that impact students’ academic, social-emotional, family, and physical well-being.

The project goal was to provide a comprehensive online performance support system that would not only support the workflow of those who implement the program, but would also address the research needs of the program team in terms of capturing and reporting relevant data for program evaluation and development.

Our approach depended on a deep understanding of the different needs of the various stakeholders: the users of the system (coordinators based in schools who are responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the program, reviewing the needs of students in order to refer a wide variety of individually tailored supportive services); the managers of those users at an area level; and the administrative and research teams at BC who use the data to measure the results of the program and to plan for future growth.

Our approach was to base the system design on a thorough, structured initial analysis of the job performance and user needs at all levels. Interviews at schools allowed us to map in detail the workflows of the coordinators, who are the front line of the program. Matching the day-to-day work of the coordinators to the complex data capture requirements of the research team was key, so that the system would seamlessly support both sides. The interface, design and database structure all built on what we learned about the actual job tasks, so that the complex processes, forms and reporting etc. that are involved in implementing the program, became easier to complete. In addition, online task management support was provided to help track, highlight and measure the progress in key areas, shown at a glance.