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Literacy Coalition explores Community-Wide Data Sharing

May 15 2013

The Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County recently hosted a day-long event to explore “community data sharing”.  The meeting was organized by the Measurement Action Team (MAT) of the Coalition and was facilitated by Dr. Frank Ridzi of the CNY Community Foundation and Jeff Craig, Assistant Superintendent of Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES.   Apter & O’Connor Associates led the initial formation of the Coalition back in 2006 and has been excited to see the organization implement many activities since then designed to improve literacy rates across the County.    The purpose of this meeting was to consider a shared data mechanism for improving literacy services and position the community for funding opportunities.  Dianne Apter attended this invitation-only meeting which featured over forty representatives from key “data keepers” and “data needers”.  The Syracuse City School District, Onondaga County Department of Social Services, the Central New York Regional Information Center Data Warehouse and Childcare Solutions each shared the data they have available and the processes for accessing and potentially sharing that information.  Following lunch, participants heard a presentation by Dr. Serge Lossa about the Comet System ® a web-based data management tool developed by Children’s Institute of Rochester, NY and their technology partner SophiTEC.   The platform has capabilities for individual and aggregate analysis and reporting for a wide variety of child and family variables, using different levels of data sharing complexity.   Participants were very positive in their reflections about the meeting and the Literacy Coalition is committed to building on this momentum. It could prove to be the beginning of a community-wide data platform that could provide valuable information for evaluation and program improvement efforts as well as strengthen collaborations and funding applications.