Community and Consulting Research

Chantal aims to ultimately transform communities through effective policy and practice. Using sociological theories and rigorous methodologies, she conducts research with education and policy non-profits to directly impact education practices in New York City and New Jersey.

Ramapo for Children 

Ramapo for Children, a NYC-based education nonprofit, uses a whole school approach to equip school administrators, staff, and students with the tools to build, improve and sustain positive, safe, and welcoming school climates. Ramapo employs a School Climate assessment tool that includes school-level systematic observations to provide deeper insights into potential areas of improvement.

Since 2018, Chantal has consulted with Ramapo on improving and validating their assessment tool and their communication with school leaders. This process has included the refinement of existing assessment manual and scoring sheets, reliability testing, factor analyses of aggregate climate scores, and external validation. Chantal has also worked with Ramapo to improve their trainers and data collectors’ abilities to interpret the assessment data, effectively communicate schools’ strengths and challenges to school administrators, and develop plans to create environments that foster positive behavior and promote success in New York City and New Jersey Schools. 

More information on the Ramapo Assessment Tool.

Harlem Children’s Zone

Harlem Children’s Zone aims to give Harlem kids the individualized support they need to get to and through college and become productive, self-sustaining adults. In 2019, they launched  a full needs assessment in the St. Nicholas Public Housing community to identify areas of need that have the largest potential impact on residents’ educational attainment, economic mobility, and quality of life.

Levering Chantal’s research on New York City schools and neighborhoods and prior community-based participatory research in Washington, D.C. public housing, she and the Urban Institute’s Housing Opportunities and Services Together team facilitated community Data Walks and focus groups with over 100 St. Nicholas adults and youth. For the three Data Walks, the team developed easily understandable data presentations on community educational experiences and outcomes, neighborhood context and changes, safety, etc. and leveraged the presentations to conduct mini-focus groups around community issues and needs. The Data Walks concluded with larger focus groups on participants’ views on key issues facing the community and visions for their neighborhoods’ future.

Harlem Children’s Zone will use the focus group data to build their larger community assessment and programming in St. Nicholas.