• Description of Services/Scope of Services

    Community Engagement Services for Portrait of a Graduate

    Over the coming year, Lowell Public Schools will bring together our students, families, educators, employers, and community partners to create a bold new vision for Lowell’s graduates: Portrait of a Graduate 2020 will emerge from a community-driven process that redefines success for Lowell students, including the values, knowledge, skills, and work habits they will need to thrive as learners, workers, and leaders in the 21st century.

    To ensure that this process is community-driven and equitable, the Office of Equity & Engagement of the Lowell Public Schools is seeking trusted community organizations to conduct authentic community engagement that will connect communities in Lowell to the Portrait of a Graduate Initiative. The Community Engagement service providers will provide outreach and engagement, facilitate community circles/focus groups, interview community members and engage in other forms of data collection inspired by the Critical Participatory Act Research approach.

    Critical participatory action research (CPAR) is a form of research that relies on both traditional and next‐generation methodological approaches; CPAR projects typically investigate questions of interest to local communities, including an explicit analysis of how systems of power may be influencing everyday people. Although it is an approach to research, CPAR is also a form of youth and adult development. The individuals involved in CPAR projects typically benefit from feelings of connection, motivation, and empowerment as they work collaboratively to create positive change in their school or community contexts (e.g., Cammarota & Fine, 2010).

    The goal of the Portrait of a Graduate initiative is to engage the community and ensure that diverse voices are included in this important visioning process, as well as future decision-making processes, within the Lowell Public Schools. The Lowell Public Schools also views this as an opportunity to grow the capacity of our community partners by providing training for, and increasing the use of a relevant form of authentic engagement in educational systems.

    Learn more about the Portrait of a Graduate Initiative here: https://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/portraitofagraduate


    Responsibilities include:

    • Participate in a 10-20 hours of Participatory Action Research training
    • Develop and implement a plan for data collection across several subgroups within the broader Lowell community; data may be collected through focus groups (potentially virtual), community meetings (online or in person when appropriate), interviews, events or other activities, but will need to meet certain requirements in terms of scope and participant group
    • Analyze the data collected and report findings back with both the Portrait of a Graduate design team and the larger Lowell Public Schools community.

    Eligible Applicants:

    • Organizations that have extensive and successful experience serving, engaging, and building trust with individuals and families that represent diverse socio-economic and demographic communities in Lowell
    • Individuals with experience in facilitating groups, implementing community engagement strategies, and who have built trusted relationships with diverse socio-economic and demographic communities in Lowell

    Note: Applicants wishing to provide a bid for services must be familiar with the Lowell Public Schools and the Lowell community.

    Total Award Range: $1-4,500 in funding to implement CPAR engagement activities; the amount of funding will depend on the scope of services proposed -- e.g., the breadth and depth of the data that the organization hopes to collect.

    Technical Training: Each awarded applicant will receive 10-20 hours of technical training on Participatory Action Research methods. These methods will assist partners to ensure that the Portrait of a Graduate Initiative outreach and engagement is equitable for all communities in Lowell. It is also anticipated that the training will increase the capacity of our partners in Lowell beyond the Portrait of a Graduate project. This training will likely be delivered across the span of the project, so as to support the stages of study design and data collection that we will undertake.

    Submission Details: Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis starting May 20, 2020. Applications must be emailed to Vannak Khin at vkhin@lowell.k12.ma.us


    Applicant Information





    Authorized Contact Person (if applicable):






    Narrative: Please keep response to one page.

    1. Please provide a brief description of your organization or your work in the City of Lowell.







    1. Please describe how your work connects with Lowell Public School students.







    1. What neighborhoods or communities do you serve in Lowell? What are the demographics of the communities that you serve?







    1. Please describe your experience with community engagement and facilitating groups in Lowell. What is your approach to building trust in your communities?







    1. Why are you interested in becoming a partner on the Portrait of a Graduate project?







    1. Please provide a brief description of how funds will be used if awarded. (Budget can be attached)