Nashville, Tennessee - StreetSOLID
For eight weeks I worked in Nashville for StreetSOLID, a non-profit that has created and implemented a recidivism-reducing social-emotional learning curriculum. StreetSOLID’s curriculum is currently taught in the Reaching Excellence As Leaders (REAL) program at the Oasis center and in juvenile prison facilities in Nashville. Nashville is the first city in Tennessee to begin using alternative justice methods like REAL instead of or in conjunction with incarceration. While the court system has been developing and implementing its own assessments of those arrested to determine best practices, I was tasked with developing assessments to determine the success of the StreetSOLID curriculum.
My original project was aimed at assessing the facilitators of programs using the StreetSOLID curriculum. However, during the first week my community partner suggested a better use of time would be directed toward assessing the participants in the program. To better understand this new focus, I researched recidivism and met with various professionals to help guide my process in developing the assessment tools. In addition, the StreetSOLID curriculum will be used to teach adult classes in the future, so the scope of my project expanded to include assessing both juveniles and adults.
Ultimately I created knowledge-assessments for both before and after a program session, which will help determine whether the StreetSOLID curriculum is teaching new material to the participants and whether participants gained the necessary knowledge they need to reduce their risk of recidivism. I then created risk-assessments for the participants to be administered three, six, and twelve months after completion of a program. The results from the risk-assessments will be analyzed to determine whether the StreetSOLID curriculum decreases risk and if that decreased risk is maintained over time. These risk-assessments were difficult to create because most previously created assessments utilize interview-style questions administered by a justice system between the time of arrest and the court session and the StreetSOLID organization does not have the resources to interview all its participants. Thus the assessments I have created are unique.
Pictured above is a REAL program graduating class. The young men are fitted for suits beforehand, courtesy of REAL. The transition many of these participants make is astounding, and hopefully the data gathered from the assessments will validate the perceived success.