News

What we've been up to

DaCosta and Holbrook promoted!

September 19, 2019 We are happy to share that Erin Holbrook and Jadaiman DaCosta have accepted a promotion to Senior Research Associate with VIA. Congratulations to both of them and good luck! We look forward to many more years as colleagues and thank you both for your contribution to our team.

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Its been 10 years…

August 26, 2019 This year we are thrilled to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Emily and Caroline! Jessica and Komani feel lucky to have these two dedicated Senior Evaluators on team VIA and receive their 10 year commemorative bobble-heads. Thank you both. We look forward to many more years together – what should our 20 year commemoration be?!

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VIA recruiting interns now!

August 21, 2019 VIA is seeking paid Interns for the 2019-2020 school year for six, nine or twelve month posts. We are looking for individuals who want to learn how to apply their developing research skills and interests to help real-life programs improve. You will work and learn, with the guidance of Evaluators and Research Associates, to develop data management systems, collect + clean real-world data, analyze results, and create…

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To AEA we go – VIA headed to Evaluation Conference this fall

August 15, 2019 VIA is excited to attend the Annual American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference this year in Minneapolis, MN! This year, VIA will be presenting two sessions, Caroline and Erin will be presenting ‘Sharing Lessons from a Community-Conducted Needs Assessment’  demonstrating one approach to supporting a community-led needs assessment, in which a community advisory board of young adults designed the approach and data collection tools, conducted the data collection through…

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VIA presenting at Grant Professional Association Conference this fall

August 5, 2019 This fall, VIA will return to the Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference. Komani Lundquist will represent the team at the 2019 GPA Conference in Washington, DC on November 6th – 9th, 2019. When attending GPA in the past, Komani had several participants express interest in how we, as evaluators, approach a Logic Model, so with that in mind we are excited to be presenting “A Better (or…

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Afterschool Program Federal Grant Partnership Opportunities Announced

An exciting partnership opportunity from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Bay Watershed and Training (B-WET) program was shared at the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Summer Symposium attended by Emily Hagstrom. The funding requires grantees to partner with 21st CCLC program sites. B-WET regional funding opportunities provide hands-on watershed educational experiences for students and related professional development for teachers in support of regional education and environmental priorities. Additionally, the National…

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Hagstrom to attend 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Symposium In Washington DC

In mid-July, Senior Evaluator Emily Hagstrom will be joining 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grantees, evaluators, and State Education Agencies from across the country at the Summer Symposium. The symposium will focus on helping 21st CCLC programs succeed in running high-quality out-of-school time community programs. Mrs. Hagstrom has evaluated 21st CCLC grants for over 10 years. Each year, she attends a variety of conferences and trainings related to out-of-school time programming. This will…

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Federal Funds to Strengthen Institutions of Higher Education Available

The U.S. Department of Education has released several requests for proposals recently. One of the grant lines that has reemerged from years past is the Strengthening Institutions (often referred to as “Title III”) grant program. The purpose of the grant is to help institutions of higher education (IHEs) become self-sufficient and expand capacity to serve low-income students by improving academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. The Department will fund both individual…

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Why Hire an Evaluator?

June 17, 2019 What are the Advantages of Hiring an Evaluator? The right evaluator can help you use your organization’s resources wisely. We work with you to focus your efforts on what matters most to provide great services to your clients, and demonstrate results. We can: help you understand community needs streamline your data collection and reporting efforts, allowing you and your staff to spend more time on programming work…

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$40 million Available to Support School Climate

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that $40 million in competitive grant funds are available to fund school climate improvement efforts by Local Education Agencies (aka, school districts). The School Climate Transformation Grant will support LEAs to “develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for, and technical assistance to, schools implementing multi-tiered systems of supporting, for improving school climate.” Around 80 grants will be awarded at $100,000-$750,000 per year…

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Via at the Superhero Walk & Run!

July 14, 2019 The Via team participated in the annual Superhero Walk & Run for Children’s Mental Health at Delaware Park on June 7th. The event supports efforts to end the stigma surrounding children’s mental health. Via members and their families walked or ran around the track in their favorite super hero costumes to encourage conversations and promote empathy. We enjoyed supporting this important mission, and several of our clients,…

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True Community Collaboration

June 10, 2019 Since 2017, Caroline and Erin have been working with CAI Global to support the development of a community-led approach to reducing Sexually Transmitted Infections and promoting health equity. The Community Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (CARS) Buffalo project is one of a handful of innovative, interdisciplinary projects funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to genuinely engage communities in identifying factors contributing to disparities…

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Via Goes to Chicago

June 6, 2019 Last month, Erin Holbrook attended the Collective Impact Convening in Chicago from May 14-16. The Collective Impact Convening brings together funders, backbone organizations, and community partners for cross-sector dialogue and peer learning to achieve systems change and tackle complex social issues. Some of Erin’s favorite sessions included John a. Powell’s plenary on othering, belonging, and targeted universalism; Carmita Semaan’s short talk on authentic relationships and community participation,…

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VIA 2019 Interns join us!

June 3, 2019 We are excited to welcome our 2019 interns Andy Canizares and Domonique Griffin to the team for the remainder of the year! Andy holds a Bachelor’s in English from the University at Buffalo and has had evaluation experience with Cicatelli Associates and Morehouse College. Domonique joins us with a Master’s of Urban Planning from the University of Buffalo, and has research and evaluation experience with the United…

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Office admin support joins VIA for the summer!

May 28, 2019 VIA welcomes Hailey Ables to team VIA for the summer. Hailey will be helping our office manager, Kelli Cavo with administrative and post-move duties while Komani is out on Maternity leave. Feel free to call us and say hi to Hailey!  

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Team VIA attends statewide 21st CCLC conference

May 22, 2019 Next week Emily Hagstrom, Jadaiman DaCosta, and Jessica Weitzel will be attending The Afterschool Experience 21st Century Community Learning Centers Symposium in Albany. This event is coordinated by the 21st CCLC Rest of State Resource Center, and provides networking and professional development opportunities for New York State 21st CCLC grantees. Emily, Jadaiman, and Jessica are looking forward to spending time with our clients, meeting other out-of-school time…

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VIA is moving!

May 17, 2019 After nearly 15 years in our current location, VIA is moving! Where to? 325 Delaware Ave, Suite 100, Buffalo, NY 14202. IMPORTANT NOTE: Our offices will be closed from Friday, May 24th, and will be reopening in our new space on Tuesday May 28th! We couldn’t be more excited about our new home and we promise to post pics as soon as we get over there and…

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Caroline presents at United Way Board Leadership Training

May 17, 2019 Last week, Caroline Taggart, one of our Senior Evaluators was again invited and presented at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Board Leadership Training program. Caroline’s presentation covered the importance and general tenets of Program Monitoring and Evaluation, with an emphasis on questions non-profit organization’s Board Members can ask to encourage their organization’s engagement in these activities to ensure quality program delivery and maximum impact. If…

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Congratulations to The Service Collaborative of WNY!

May 15, 2019 We want to congratulate The Service Collaborative of Western New York for being awarded a highly competitive grant from Americorps: The AmeriCorps Builds Lives through Education (ABLE) grant! Their funded program will serve more than one hundred 3- and 4-year-olds in in Erie and Niagara Counties. The program will provide developmentally-appropriate math support to children in need in our community to promote Kindergarten readiness. We are excited…

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Find VIA at the NYS Network for Youth Success Conference this week!

May 9, 2019 Today, Komani Lundquist is headed to the New York State Network for Youth Success conference in Saratoga Springs, NY held this year on May 9 and 10th. Are you planning to attend?  VIA’s work has long focused on as-risk youth, and youth success, and we are excited to see everyone there! Stop by our booth to learn more about evaluation, grab some candy, and learn about current…

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VIA welcomes Shontay Barnes!

May 8, 2019 We are excited to officially welcome Shontay Barnes as a research associate to team VIA. Learn more about our newest team member here: http://www.viaevaluation.com/company/barnes/ Before joining Via, Barnes worked in multiple labs performing data collection, analysis, and reporting for populations ranging from clinical samples to adolescents in the community to current dental students. She also acted as a research mentor as part of a committee within a…

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Advantage Afterschool Funding Increased

May 6, 2019 The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) recently released the 2019 Request for Proposals for the Advantage Afterschool program. OCFS will be awarding $33 million to develop, extend, or expand after school programs. Community-based non-profit organizations can apply for grant funds, in cooperation with local school districts. Each contract will be for $80,000-$280,000 per year, likely from September 2019-August 2024. The maximum cost…

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Teacher Preparation Grants Available Now

April 30, 2019 The U.S. Department of Education just released a request for proposals to enhance teacher preparation. Find the most recent Teacher Quality Partnership Notice Inviting Applications here. Up to $1,000,000 per year for 5 years will be awarded to support partnerships between institutes of higher education and high-need school districts, including early childhood education programs, to implement teacher residency programs within schools. Up to 5 priority preference points…

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VIA Values Curiosity

 March 27, 2019 Recently, I [Erin Holbrook] attended an SSIR webinar on building a culture of curiosity, especially in this age of the culture of genius. I had never heard this expression – culture of genius. Two years ago, TechCrunch defined it as a “mindset [that] manifests as a culture that views brilliance as critical to success,” where “intelligence, talents, and abilities are fixed traits.” At first, this bothered me.…

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What is Ripple Effects Mapping?

March 20, 2019 What do you think of when you think of evaluation? Many of us have the same thoughts come to mind: surveys and interviews and focus groups and datasets…OH MY! Sometimes, these methods aren’t enough to capture the real changes that projects, especially community coalition initiatives, bring about, though. This is where ripple effects maps come in. Imagine skipping stones. The stone is your program, and the water…

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Gary Ciurczak, Founder, to Depart Via Evaluation

March 8, 2019 Gary Ciurczak, Founder of Via Evaluation, has announced his departure from the applied research and evaluation firm he started in Buffalo in 1998. Working primarily in the education space, Ciurczak focused on developing clients, growing the company’s portfolio and staff over 20 years. In 2012, Ciurczak and a team of employees collaborated on a name change and the firm became Via Evaluation. Today, the firm focuses primarily…

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Funding for Full Service Community Schools Available

March 5, 2019 The U.S. Department of Education is seeking to fund 8 additional Full Service Community Schools programs. The most recent Full Service Community Schools Notice Inviting Applications and related materials are available here. Applicants can receive up to $500,000 a year for 5 years to support the planning, implementation, and operation of full-service community school programs that improve the coordination, integration, accessibility, and effectiveness of services for children…

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High-Skill Career Pathways Grant Available

February 28, 2019 The latest round of the New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Program Request for Proposals has been released. A total of $24 million is available to support 8 new public-private partnerships in preparing students for high-skills jobs in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and finance. Programs will be funded for 7 years, and will provide academically and economically at-risk students with high school, college,…

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Victoria Neu joins Via Team as Research Associate

December 28, 2018 Jessica Weitzel, President at Via Evaluation has announced the hiring of Victoria Neu as a research associate for the firm. Neu first joined Via Evaluation as in intern in the fall of 2018. She brings a wealth of experience and a well-developed knowledge base. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, an M.A. in Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods, both from SUNY Buffalo, and is currently working…

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Happy Holidays – We’re Hiring!

December 18, 2018 VIA is excited to announce that we are seeking additions to our awesome team! We are looking to find candidates for both Research Associate and Internship positions. Interested? Check out our Jobs Page: https://www.viaevaluation.com/jobs/

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Grant to Help Homeless Students Announced

December 3, 2018 Approximately $5 million in McKinney-Vento Competitive Grant Program funding to help homeless youth succeed is available to public school districts, BOCES, and charter schools in New York State. Competitive funding applications are due to the New York State Education Department by December 19, 2018. The grant aims to foster improved attendance, engagement, and academic success of homeless children and youth. Specific goals for each activity, as well…

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VIA Continuing to Expand Afterschool Expertise

November 9, 2018 Two VIA team members are attending the New York State 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) afterschool program fall conferences in New York City and Albany this month. If you were at the NYC event, we hope you had a chance to say hi to Emily. You will likely see Emily and Jadaiman at the Albany conference next week. We attend these conferences multiple times each year…

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We can be found at the Grants Professionals conference in Chicago this week!

November 8, 2018 Komani is currently attending the 2018 Grant Professionals Association (GPA) annual national conference in Chicago, IL. For four days, she is attending a variety of workshops about grants that and learning more about the upcoming grants landscape. The GPA conference is also always a fantastic networking opportunity! Follow Komani on twitter @Komani for updates and posts, or track her down between sessions! She tells us she has…

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Via Promotes Hagstrom and Puca

Jessica Weitzel, president at Via Evaluation, an applied research and evaluation firm in Buffalo, has announced the promotion of both Emily Hagstrom and Amy Puca to Senior Evaluator. In addition to their ongoing evaluation duties, both will also be responsible for developing new client relationships and projects. Emily Hagstrom has been with Via Evaluation for nearly a decade. Prior to her time at Via, she was a Spanish teacher for…

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VIA Presenting at American Evaluation Association Conference

October 26, 2018 At various time next week, all of VIA’s full-time staff will be attending the Annual American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference in Cleveland. If you’re not busy trick or treating with kids (or by yourself), Komani (@komani) will be presenting Game Changers: Lessons from Small Evaluation Firms on October 31st from 4:30-5:30. She is joining up with leaders from other women-owned firms to share and discuss their evaluation companies’…

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Intern Victoria Neu Joins the VIA Team

October 15, 2018 Jessica Weitzel, President of Via Evaluation announced the hiring of Victoria Neu as an intern on their evaluation team. Victoria brings a wealth of experience and a well-developed knowledge base. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, an M.A. in Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods — both from SUNY Buffalo — and is currently working toward a Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo. Before joining VIA, Neu worked as…

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Why VIA? We’re Responsive to Your Needs

September 4, 2018 Now, as important as being timely experts is to creating a good evaluation team, it wouldn’t mean much if we didn’t take the time to get to know our clients and their needs. Gregg, our newest teammate, recently got a first-hand look at what responsiveness is like here at VIA. Within his first two weeks, he was put on a newer type of project for us –…

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VIA welcomes The Burke Foundation

August 28, 2018 VIA has been expanding our evaluation capacity building and early childhood work and we are excited to announce one of our newest clients, The Burke Foundation. Their mission is to improve the health and well-being of underserved children by investing in the most promising programs narrowing developmental, achievement, and health gaps in New Jersey. The foundation has recently refined its focus on improving early childhood outcomes. VIA…

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Why VIA? We’re Timely and Available to you

September 27, 2018 One of our biggest priorities at VIA is we ensure you have your data quickly and well before any deadlines. More than that, we want to guarantee that data is usable and understandable for you. The way to make that happen? Being there when you need us most. Our team realized that long before VIA changed its tagline to “Expert. Timely. Responsive,” We had embodied that workstyle…

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Why choose VIA? We’re a team of Experts

August 21, 2018 We believe any program can be on its way to better results, and at VIA, I get to be one of the people helping organizations be on that path. Working here, every day feels fulfilling, and I know this is not only due to VIA’s values or the meaningful projects I get to work on. This team, the VIA team, will blow you away with their knowledge.…

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Congratulations to awardees!

July 26, 2018 Congratulations to the school districts that received funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants! 38 school districts, some of which are our clients, were awarded part of a 28.5 million dollar grant line. These grants were awarded for three types of funding: 1) Well-Rounded Educational Opportunities; 2) Safe and Healthy Students; and 3) Effective Use of Technology. “The SSAE program is intended to increase…

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Via Hires Researcher Gregory Byrne

July 27, 2018 Jessica Weitzel, President of Via Evaluation announces the hiring of Gregory Byrne as a research associate for the firm. Byrne has both progressive and collective experience in the child development field, covering cognitive and social psychology, product research, and applied science over a wide range of ages. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from St. Bonaventure University, and has recently completed his degree from the State University…

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Via Evaluation Grant Project Evaluation Workshop a Success!

  July 9, 2018 Dr. Gary Ciurczak, Founder of Via Evaluation, provided the second half of the training day shared with Margit Brazda Poirier, M.S., GPC, of Grants 4 Good, at Fountain Plaza last week. A special thanks to Five Star Bank, who provided the excellent venue and breakfast! Workshop attendees included non-profit and university executive directors, managers, project directors, grant writers, and those interested in an overview of grant…

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VIA Seeking Interns for Evaluation Team!

June 19, 2018 VIA is seeking part-time paid Interns for the upcoming school year to join our team from September 2018 through May 2019. We are looking for individuals who want to learn how to apply their developing research skills and interests to help real-life programs improve. You will work and learn, with the guidance of Evaluators and Research Associates, to develop data management systems, clean real-world data, analyze results,…

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1-day Intro: Grant Writing & Project Evaluation workshop!

June 12, 2018 On Monday June 25th, VIA’s Founder, Dr. Ciurczak (Gary) and Margit Brazda Poirier, GPC, M.S., Founder of Grants4Good LLC, are hosting a full day workshop to cover ‘all you need to know to get started in grant writing’ in Buffalo, NY. They are eager to share their many years of experience in the field to give you best practices and key information if you are starting out…

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Via Welcomes Kelli Cavo!

5/23/18 We are excited to announce the addition of our newest team member, Kelli Cavo! Kelli will be joining  the administrative team as our with Komani and Gary, as the Office Manager. She brings a wealth of experience from her time at Gerard Place and Western New York Women’s Foundation as the Director of Development.

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Amy attended the SUNY Erie Mentorship Program Brunch

May 21, 2018 Now that Amy Puca has found her professional home here at VIA, she decided to help others find their way as a mentor in the SUNY Erie Mentorship Program. Amy worked with Chelsea Simmeth, her mentee, throughout the Spring 2018 semester on a variety of college and career topics, including future plans, life in the workplace, balancing responsibilities, and choosing an appropriate and balanced college course load.…

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Four Reasons to Consider Applying for the NYS Learning Technology Grant

May 18, 2018 The 2018-21 Learning Technology Grant was released by NYSED, due 6/8/2018. There is still time to decide to apply if you act now. Here are four reasons that may help your district make that decision. Funding is higher than it was in the past. The award maximum is now $100K/year for three years for an eligible (outside of the Big 4) district, and $200K/year for three years…

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VIA volunteering!

May 2, 2018 VIA staff serve on several advisory committees and in other volunteer roles. Our highlight of this community service today is the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) Research Advisory Committee through the United Way of New York State. Caroline Taggart and Jessica Weitzel have served on the committee. United Ways from 18 states are collaborating on the ALICE project to ‘quantify and describe the number of households…

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NYS Learning Technology Grant RFP out now!

May 1, 2018 The 2018-21 Learning Technology Grant was released by NYSED. Its purpose is to have grantees: “develop, implement, and share innovative programs that utilize learning technologies to personalize learning and/or increase access to high-quality, rigorous learning experiences, as well as professional development programs to assist teachers and educational leaders in effectively utilizing learning technology to enhance teaching and learning (from the RFP).” This RFP is very different than…

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VIA in the news!

April 27, 2018 Via Evaluation had the privilege to complete the analysis for the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and then present it to the board of Buffalo Public Schools. Both The Buffalo News, and WBFO reported on the project: http://buffalonews.com/2018/04/22/violence-drugs-suicide-survey-shows-buffalo-students-face-myriad-issues/ http://news.wbfo.org/post/preliminary-results-cdc-youth-risk-behavior-survey The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a reliable, national survey tool created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assess six categories of priority health-risk…

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Via’s Gary Ciurczak Introduced Keynote Speaker in Miami

April 17, 2018 Dr. Ciurczak met Teresa Grandal at the Grant Professionals Association conference in San Diego last fall. After speaking together, she invited him to introduce the breakfast Keynote Speaker of the Florida Council for Resource Development (FCRD) Spring Conference at Miami Dade College. About 70 members from 28 Florida colleges would attend. Ms. Grandal is the Interim Director, Resource Development there. The Keynote Speaker was Helen Vilorio, Executive…

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Grants and Evaluation, a perfect pair!

April 16, 2018 This Wednesday (April 18th), Jessica Weitzel will be presenting with Marie Battaglia of Grants for Growth at the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Western New York chapter Professional Development Luncheon Series in Amherst, NY. They will share tips for integrating evaluation into grants and using evaluative information to strengthen grant applications. Topics will include how to find the right grant writer and evaluator, use evaluation findings in needs…

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Via Evaluation is officially certified WBE!

April 13, 2018 We are incredibly excited to share that Via Evaluation is now a CERTIFIED Women-owned business (WBE) by New York State, Empire State Development, Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development! As you may remember, last year, Jessica Weitzel and Komani Lundquist purchased majority shares of Via Evaluation. Shortly thereafter, they submitted their application for WBE. We are excited to have finally received our approval from the state!…

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Use Reviewer Comments to Improve Your Proposal

April 11, 2018 “We regret to inform you…” It is always sad when your proposal is not accepted for funding. Last week, a colleague told me her proposal scored a 99, and yet was not funded. What are your next action steps? Request reviewer comments, and do it immediately There are timelines on this opportunity, and it is often 5 – 15 days Decide which comments were valid criticisms of…

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School’s Out, Make it Count! Conference next week

April 6, 2018 Next week, owners Jessica Weitzel and Komani Lundquist, along with Emily Hagstrom will be attending the New York State Network for Youth Success conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. Will we see you there? The theme for the two day conference is “School’s Out, Make it Count.” Our work at VIA has long focused on as-risk youth, and youth success, and we are excited to see everyone there!…

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Migrant Education Tutorial and Support Services (METS) Program RFP Released

3/28/2018 The new METS RFP was released, and is due on April 25, 2018. Key takeaways from the RFP: Award is for five years, Funds are for eight Migrant Education Tutorial and Support Services centers, Student achievement data now requires secure handling and storage, Use of evaluation results to improve program is required. In their proposals, applicants will explain how they will use evaluation results to change or modify their…

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Gary Ciurczak to attend NGMA Annual Grants Training!

March 27, 2018 Next week, Gary Ciurczak will be attending the National Grants Management Association Annual Grants Training in Arlington, VA. Will he see you there? The theme for the training is Celebrating 40 years of Education and Excellence. One interesting session is entitled: What is the Current Administration Up To? We at Via Evaluation work closely with Grant Writers and Grant Managers, and we are excited to continue to…

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Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Competitive Grant Deadline Nears

3/26/2018 Working on a WIOA proposal? Its due April 11, 2018, the Q & A are available here. The WIOA RFP is for adult education and literacy service provider, for out-of-school youth and adults to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency. Bringing in Via Evaluation to provide feedback on your objectives and writing your evaluation plan is the most effective way to make your proposal…

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New Grant Opportunities Arriving Daily

3/21/2018 The busy season for grant proposals has started! At VIA we review RFPs from multiple sources and bring them to the attention of clients and others where we see an excellent match between their interests and opportunities. Proposals we’re working on now include the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA/WEP) (Due: 4/11/18), the Mathematics and Science Partnerships (Due: 4/6/18), the Migrant Education Program (Due 4/25/18), and the next phase…

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Via parties like it was 1998 – our first year in business!

3/15/2018 Last week, Via Evaluation celebrated 20 years of data and results. We were happy to host clients and friends at our offices, so they could see where our nerdy magic happens. Thank you to all who came to celebrate, and a giant thank you to all of our clients, near and far! We literally couldn’t do it without you We did a little data collection (pictured above) of those…

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Via Evaluation proud member of NAWBO

Komani Lundquist, co-owner of Via Evaluation, is a proud member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Founded in 1975, NAWBO serves as the unified voice of women-owned businesses in the United States. NAWBO propels women entrepreneurs (the fastest growing segment of the economy) into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by: Strengthening the wealth creating capacity of its members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial…

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Now Hiring, Via is looking for an Office Manager!

March 6, 2018 Via Evaluation is on the hunt for a new member for our team, an Office Manager. Details can be found here: Apply now! Please let us know if you or someone you know is interested, we will be collecting applications throughout March 2018! For more information about VIA, please feel free to call us at (716) 362-0627, or email us at info@viaeval.com

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Mathematics and Science Partnerships RFP Released!

February 26, 2018   The Mathematics and Science Partnerships RFP has been released, and it is available here. The NYS Education Department released it last week. This grant is significant as it provides interested districts and partnering IHE’s resources to provide support, and enhance science and mathematics teachers’ content knowledge, classroom practices, and ultimately their students’ achievement. This much we already know: the RFP requires a partnership between high-need school…

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40+ Million in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Grant Funds Available

2/20/2018 That’s right! More than 40 Million in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Grant Funds are available now. If you provide adult education and literacy services to assist out-of-school youth and adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency, then NYSED has released an RFP you will be interested in. With this funding a grantee may also assist these individuals in completing…

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Via Welcomes Patrick Pidgeon

2/8/2018 We are excited to announce the addition of our newest evaluation team member, Patrick! Patrick Pidgeon has joined our team as a Research Associate. He will be teaming with Amy Puca to work on data management, reporting and analysis.

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Mentor Teacher Internship Program Grant – Evaluation Required!

2/6/2018 Why is mentoring so popular as a school district development tool? The simple answer: it works! Districts in New York State, especially when matching up with an Institute of Higher Education (IHE), are now eligible to apply for this year’s Mentor Teacher Internship Program grant, due postmarked by March 9, 2018. Districts and BOCES may apply, and districts that are designated High Need by NYSED receive an extra 10…

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Buffalo’s Community Schools Work Gains Recognition

1/17/2018 The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools, Catholic Charities of Buffalo, and many other partners, has been implementing a federal Full Service Community Schools grant in the South Zone of Buffalo. This work builds on years of Closing the Gap implementation that coordinates and links students to needed services in the community. Via Evaluation evaluates the state and federal grants supporting the…

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Can a NYSED Mathematics and Science Partnerships Initiative Grant Help Improve Your Teacher’s Content Knowledge?

1/16/2018 Again, the short answer is yes, it can. A majority of over two-thirds (n=37) of projects funded by MSP nationwide identified at least one significant positive finding for improvement in teacher content knowledge, among projects meeting the MSP criteria for a rigorous evaluation. Nearly all projects were aligned with the state common core standards. In this group of rigorously evaluated projects, many included Summer Institutes with at least 2…

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Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant Funding Available from NYSED Requires Comprehensive Needs Assessment Prior to Submission

NYSED has released this RFP for over $28 million to improve student’s academic achievement by increasing the capacity of eligible districts and public charter schools “to provide all students with access to a well-rounded education, improve school conditions for student learning, and improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students.” Eligible applicants (available here) are public school districts or public…

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Weitzel and Hagstrom to Present at The Afterschool Experience Winter Conference

12/29/2017 In January, Jessica Weitzel and Emily Hagstrom will be presenting “Making Your Data Work for You” at The Afterschool Experience Winter Conference in Albany. This three-day conference is one of the annual professional development conferences hosted by the 21st CCLC Rest of State Technical Assistance Resource Center. Grantees from all over New York State will be in attendance. If you would like to learn more about evaluation and the…

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To Make an End is to Make a Beginning, 2017

12/29/2017 2017 was certainly a year full of change, yet it was also full of transformation. Here at VIA, we had not only the pleasure of seeing our own company step into the future, we also saw our clients’ programs grow in new and diverse ways. We are so honored and inspired by the work of the schools, community organizations, higher education, and foundations that are shaping our communities. While…

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Can a NYSED Mathematics and Science Partnerships Initiative Grant Help Improve Your Students’ Achievement?

12/15/2017 The short answer is yes, it can. Over two-fifths (25) of projects funded by MSP nationwide identified at least one significant positive finding for student achievement, among projects meeting the MSP criteria for a rigorous evaluation. Many districts used summer institutes with at least 2 weeks of professional development for their teachers. There were also other strategies. Review this synopsis of MSP projects and their results. You will probably…

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Lessons from AEA: Learning from Failure

12/20/2017 It’s over a month after AEA’s #Eval17 and just a few weeks before the new year. It’s hectic and nonstop in the office with new projects coming in and evaluators hopping in and out for conferences and site visits. Then there’s the holidays and winter break and before you know it, 2018 with all its resolutions, change, and hope. Before we get too focused on change and the new,…

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Staff Insights: An AEA Conference Newbie

12/19/2018 As evaluators, we evaluate everything, and AEA’s 2017 conference is no different. Yet this was the first survey that’s stumped me in a long, long time. It was the second question: “What was the single best part of your experience in attending the Evaluation 2017 conference?”. It’s rare I can choose the single best part of anything, but I felt I should be able to come up with something.…

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Lessons Learned from AEA: Opening Keynote or Open Challenge?

12/18/2017 AEA President Kathy Newcomer’s keynote was an inspiring challenge to evaluators everywhere. After the performances of several local D.C. non-profits, residents, and artists, it seemed as if her speech would be of the positive, motivating type. Needless to say, she did not go that route. Instead, we began to hear about the top seven challenges facing evaluators today: there are too few incentives for learning, there is not enough…

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Mathematics and Science Partnerships RFP Released Date Update

12/15/2017 The NYS Education Department has announced that the Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) program RFP is now set to be released on January 16, 2018. This provides interested districts and partnering organizations more time to plan their program and organize their partnerships. VIA Evaluation expects that the RFP will continue to require an external, third-party expert evaluator. VIA Evaluation has been an external, third-party expert evaluator for this grant line…

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VIA Evaluation Can Support Districts’ Response to Education Trust – New York’s Call to Action

12/14/2017 Education Trust’s new policy brief: Improving Opportunity & Achievement for Students Experiencing Homelessness, is a clarion call to most school districts that they can do more to support homeless students. The extensive data analysis uncovered remarkable findings, including the myriad of problems associated with being homeless or formerly homeless, as well as schools with homeless students exceeding the NYS average achievement in mathematics and ELA. Every district with homeless…

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NYSED to Release Math Science Partnerships (MSP) RFP Soon!

November 20, 2017 Its time to prepare! The large Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) program is slated to be released by the NYS Education Department in early January 2018. If your district or eligible charter school (qualified charter schools were eligible in the last RFP) is considering applying, now is the time to begin planning for the application. A few things to note from the 2014 RFP: this grant has…

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Via heads to annual evaluation conference this week!

November 6, 2017   This week, new owners Jessica Weitzel & Komani Lundquist and Research Associate Erin Holbrook will attend the annual American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference. Every time we attend, we come back with brains bursting with new ideas. We can’t wait! After completing a record 9 presentations at the 2016 conference, we decided to take a break and spend our time simply learning this year. We’ll keep you…

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Via to Present at Grant Professionals Association Conference

November 2, 2017 Gary Ciurczak, Ph.D., Founder of Via Evaluation, will return to make his second presentation at the Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference. The 2017 GPA Conference is in San Diego, California on November 9th, 2017. Many development offices, grant writers, and project directors are unsure of how to choose the right external evaluator. They are also unaware that a carefully chosen external evaluator can pay long-term dividends, including…

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VIA Presents in Atlanta

November 1, 2017 Next week, evaluator Caroline Taggart will head to Atlanta to present at the American Public Health Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo. Taggart will be presenting a poster detailing the work of the HOPE Buffalo project, a community collaboration to reduce teen pregnancy in Buffalo [below], created collaboratively by Via Evaluation and Cicatelli Associates Inc., centers around how Collective Impact has guided the mobilization efforts of HOPE…

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NYSED Releases Early College High School (ECHS) Program, Due Postmarked by 11/22/17

October 20, 2017 The NYS Education Department has released the Early College High School ECHS Program. This 5 year grant offers funds to school districts as lead agencies in partnership with institutions of higher education (IHEs), and community and business organizations. A signed MOU between the applicant district and one or more IHEs must be submitted with the application. There is a total of $15 million available statewide, with the…

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Key NYSED RFPs Scheduled for Release This Month

October 12, 2017 NYSED has scheduled the imminent release of requests for proposals (RFPs) for the following major grants. Each grant has been issued in the past. Watch NYS Grants Gateway for a link to the RFPs. This is the NYSED summary for each grant: Exemplary School Models and Practices grant works to close the achievement gap and increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness (CCR) of students…

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What are data dashboards?

9/25/2017 Have you ever walked into a meeting to be greeted by a stack of paper full of so much data you don’t even know where to start? You need a data dashboard! The dashboard of your car is full of valuable information. You use your speedometer to track your speed, your odometer to measure progress on a trip, and your check engine light to monitor your engine’s health. In…

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We hired a professional, and you can too!

September 15, 2017 As consultants, we encourage organizations to hire experts. Over the years, we have seen over and over how clients save substantial time and energy, with better results, by hiring us to help them with data and evaluation. We try to take our own advice, and have hired great business advisors who help us run a high-quality business (including the lawyers who made our ownership transition a legal…

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Revealing AmeriCorps Member Experiences

9/11/2017 Since 2013, Via Evaluation has been working with The Service Collaborative of WNY, the largest AmeriCorps grantee in the Buffalo area, to collect and use data about their AmeriCorps Builds Lives Through Education (ABLE) program. As our work evolved from data consulting to logic modeling to comprehensive evaluation, it became clear that ABLE member experiences were an important element of the program that was not being measured. To address…

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Via Gets Dirty to Show We Care

8/21/2017 Not many people would consider digging your hands in a tiny cup of dirt to untangle a mass of wriggling, fat worms satisfying, but on August 16th, the Via team learned otherwise. For the 5th year in a row, Via had the privilege to participate in United Way of Buffalo and Erie County’s annual Day of Caring with over 3600 other volunteers. This year’s project: help 100 youth from…

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Ba Zan Lin Reflects on His Experience at Via Evaluation

August 3, 2017 The team at Via Evaluation has benefited from the insight, perspective, and experience of Ba Zan Lin for more than a year in his role as a Research Associate. Lin, a committed social justice advocate and organizer of the Burmese Water Festival in Buffalo, is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Culture, Policy, and Society at the University at Buffalo. We wish him well as he diversifies…

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Via Evaluation Applied for Women Business Enterprise Certification

July 24, 2017 This April, we announced that Via Evaluation is stepping into the future and transitioning ownership and leadership of the company. On July 1st, Via Evaluation became a majority women-owned and -led business. Jessica Weitzel is now the President and Komani Lundquist the CEO of Via Evaluation. Founder Gary Ciurczak has agreed to stay with the company as a partner and Director of Business Development for the next…

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Weitzel attends The Evaluator’s Institute

July 18, 2017 Last week, Jessica attended the Conducting Successful Evaluation Surveys course at The Evaluator’s Institute. Taught by Dr. Jolene Smyth, the course reviewed many of the basics of survey design that we use here at Via Evaluation. Dr. Smyth also shared more recent research about effective survey design, including varied approaches for paper and online surveys. Via Evaluation is committed to the continuing professional development of our staff,…

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Our promise..

July 5, 2017 We are very excited to be the new leaders and co-owners of Via Evaluation! Both of us have been at Via Evaluation for about a decade, and have helped to build and sustain the core values and culture of the company under the leadership of Founder (and now Director of Business Development) Gary Ciurczak. We look forward to moving the company into the future with our excellent…

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Via Evaluation attends Global Implementation Conference

July 3, 2017 Caroline Taggart attended the 4th biennial Global Implementation Conference (GIC) in Toronto, Canada last week. With the conference theme of “Expanding Implementation Perspectives: Engaging Systems,” the GIC focused on expanding the understanding of systems working together “to effectively implement at scale and with social impact.”  This topic resonates with Via Evaluation, as we currently evaluate the HOPE Buffalo initiative to prevent teen pregnancy, through which various partners…

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Evaluation that Tells a Story

June 26, 2017 At Via, we know how important it is for you to be able to tell your story. Whether you’re a part of an organization, program, or coalition, your story is integral to your efforts. Funding, participation, engagement, awareness, and even culture are dependent upon your ability to your story. We can help with that. Does your company run on quantitative data, leaving you in a pile of…

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Via Evaluation attends Association for Institutional Research Conference

Jessica Weitzel and Caroline Taggart attended the annual Association for Institutional Research Conference in Washington, DC last week. We have worked with staff in various offices of Institutional Research at colleges and universities, but the conference was a chance for us to learn more about the roles and challenges that Institutional Research staff experience. As fellow data enthusiasts, we had many informative conversations at the conference, and attended a variety…

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Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

June 20, 2017 Proposals Due to NSF August 29, 2017 The National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program “seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science (including engineering and computer science) teachers. The program invites creative and innovative proposals that address the critical need for recruiting and preparing highly effective elementary and secondary science and mathematics teachers…

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What are Data Placemats?

June 19, 2017 Having a hard time communicating your program’s story and results to your board or funders? Let Via help! We understand the value of engaging stakeholders with your project – a large piece of which means understanding data and evaluation. Have you ever sat down to dinner and appreciated the picture in front of you? The salad, dinner, and bread plates have their own space along with all…

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Pie beg your pardon!

June 7, 2017 Here at Via, we all know the pie lies. The pie chart that is. So imagine one team member’s surprise when she receives a text asking her where a 2D or 3D pie chart is better…! We love data visualization here at Via, and would never want to discourage an attempt at what we lovingly call “dataviz”. InsPIEred by dataviz wizard and Excel ninja Stephanie Evergreen (link…

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Summertime is “crunchtime” at Via

June 12, 2017 As the school year comes to an end, our busiest time begins. This summer, the team at Via will complete 50 end of year reports for State and Local funders. This includes 14 Round 6 21st CCLC summative evaluation reports, that will reflect on all four years of funding as these grants sunset. Via Evaluation has 19 years of experience completing hundreds of high quality reports, and…

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