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Choice Neighborhoods Education Navigator

Position Summary

The Education Navigator is a newly created position on the staff of United Way of Greater Kansas City funded by a federal grant through the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The Education Navigator is one of several roles funded through the “People” aspect of the initiative aimed at supporting educational, health and economic success of 150 “target households” who are public housing residents and participants in the initiative.  The Education Navigator will work as a member of a six-member team comprised of staff from five organizations partnering in the initiative under the leadership of the Housing Authority of Kansas City.  The position is a grant-funded, time-limited employment opportunity that will conclude when the grant period ends in four years, with a potential extension of up to 12 months.  As a member of the People team, the Education Navigator will work in close collaboration with the case managers and have lead responsibility for implementing education strategies involving parent engagement and school advocacy on behalf of 180 school-age children and 50 preschool-age children in the target households.

Design and implement strategies aimed at achieving goals of Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. This includes increasing the percentage of students in target households who attend a high performing or significantly improving school and increasing the number of students from target households performing at or above grade level.  School attendance and behavior are also key measures of student performance in this work.  

Position Duties & Responsibilities

Relationships
Establish and foster strong relationships with key stakeholders in the partnerships that comprise the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, including with the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Kansas City Public Schools, area charter schools, and other key stakeholders. 

Annual Goals
Achieve established goals in the advancement of the education strategies of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.  Work with other members of the UWGKC team to ensure goals reflect, align with and contribute to the broader goals of the organization.

Flexibility
UWGKC is evolving with our changing external environment.  Flexibility is a key attribute for this position.  A willingness to take on additional duties to ensure the success of the team is essential.

Key Education Navigators Duties

  • Work with other United Way team members to collect and organize data on students from target households, gathered from district and charter schools.
  • Analyze aggregate data to inform development of strategies based on strengths and needs of students in Choice Target Households.
  • Use individual student data to prioritize parent outreach and prepare for conversations about the specific challenges, needs and opportunities related to that parent’s child(ren).
  • Conduct outreach to key staff at schools attended by children in target households, to create relationships and establish lines of communication, to facilitate outreach on behalf of students and parents. Work in partnership with those school personnel to support student success.
  • Develop and execute parent engagement strategies to support the scheduling and a conducting of 1:1 parent conversations. 
  • Conduct outreach to parents to schedule and conduct 1:1 education and out-of-school time opportunity-focused conversations with parents of students in Choice target households.  (A key performance metric of the Education Navigator position will be the number and frequency of 1:1 parent meetings.)
  • Hold 1:1 parent meetings, with a focus on understanding the needs, challenges and strengths of students, their parents’ aspirations for them, and creation of actionable goals.  Subsequent meetings should be focused on progress of action toward the achievement of goals. 
  • Create child-specific progress reports that can be updated periodically and kept in the family’s case file.  Reports should include school-provided data on standardized test scores, attendance, behavior, and special needs (i.e., IEPs/504 Plans).
  • Plan and execute quarterly parent engagement events, including but not limited to, school application event, school tours, education sessions/discussion groups—delivered in a fun and appealing way that takes into consideration that parents need care when children are not in school.
  • Make child-specific case notes that summarize conversations with parents, school contacts, and student, with a focus on progress toward identified goals.
  • Connect families to community resources that support student’s connectedness to school, attendance, positive behaviors and academic performance, including out-of-school time opportunities, mental health services, basic needs assistance and other resources.  This work will be conducted in close collaboration with Choice Neighborhoods case managers.
  • Develop and execute a strategy to identify students’ need for special services in school, including, but not limited to IEPs and 504 plans.
  • Use a trauma-informed approach to the work of parent and student engagement.  Become knowledgeable about mental health and other community resources that support success of students who have experienced trauma in their lives.
  • Build a parent educational resource network by collaborating with community-based organizations who focus on education and national promising practices to empower families and remove barriers to educational progress for school-aged children.

Qualifications

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily and be physically present in the office.  The requirements listed are representative of the basic knowledge, skills, and/or abilities required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

The successful candidate for this position will have the following experience and education:

  • Two or more years of working in educational or a social service setting
  • Knowledge of public education systems with an emphasis on K-12 schools, public and district, within the Kansas City district boundaries
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills and an ability to communicate effectively across audiences (parents, youth, school officials)
  • Strong knowledge of Kansas City Schools (Public and Charter Schools).
  • High degree of cultural competency.
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues affecting underserved families
  • Ability to maintain strict confidentiality.
  • Demonstrated ability to keep timely, accurate records and maintain required data.
  • Personal vehicle for travel.
  • Willingness and ability to work on occasion before and after regular business hours (early morning or evening), and very occasional events during weekend hours.
  • Demonstrated strong computer skills, including significant experience with Microsoft office suite, internet-based programs, e-mail, and database programs.
  • Bachelor’s Degree preferably in social work or education field.  A candidate with highly relevant and substantial experience in a similar family and community engagement role, but without a bachelor’s degree, would be considered.

Core Competencies 

Character
This leader follows the standards of behavior; displays honesty and integrity in every action and decision; is driven to achieve; is reflective and seeks authentic feedback; and is known as a continuous learner.

Team Skills
This leader is a good listener; includes and engages others; is an effective facilitator; brings the “right” stakeholders into decisions and actions; and resolves conflicts respectfully.

Functional Skills
This leader follows organizational policies and standards; has effective technology skills; demonstrates effective business acumen; is mindful and effectively leverages resources; has a key metrics focus in decisions; and is astute about how to improve outcomes.

Interpersonal Skills
This leader has effective verbal and written skills; practices a consultative approach, develops and mentors staff; is willing and able to have crucial performance conversations; and influences and inspires others.

This leader aligns his or her work to the strategies of UWGKC; understands external trends and prepares the organization accordingly; is seen as a change champion; is innovative; and is seen as a thought leader in his or her respective functional scope of work.

Position Leader: Senior Vice President of Community Investment
Position Leads: None
FLSA Status: Exempt


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