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In May we attended the New York State Network for Youth Success conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. It's always great to be in the company of like-minded folks, people all working to improve the lives of young people and help them stay on track for success in life. Their motto of  “Empower Youth Success” is spot on.

This year's theme was “School's Out, Make It Count!” - which for data people like us begs the question, what makes something count? 

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2018 COMET JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Team

Being part of a team is one of the best things about working at COMET. Our common mission to support the success of children is one that resonates with each and every employee. Being part of a team - for example a sports team - is a particularly human experience that in its best light brings out the best in humanity.

This year, COMET decided to field a team for the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge! At my previous company, I had been Team Captain for our JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge team for over 20 years. I had basically grown as an employee, an event coordinator and a runner through these efforts. When I brought up the idea at COMET I was delighted to see that several of my co-workers were up for the challenge! We fielded a team of seven. We had a few runners, a few joggers and a few walkers - all approached the event with excitement.

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When You Should Delete vs. Make Inactive

It may seem like this isn't a meaningful choice - delete vs inactive - but making the wrong choice can have a huge impact on your data management. At COMET, we often get the question how can I delete a child's record?'. Our short answer is, as a user, you can't. The longer answer is that we made a choice in the development of our system to allow users to make records inactive, but not to allow them to delete records. The idea is that, if you don't want to see some data, make it inactive. If you never want to see data again, delete it. The follow up question would be, can you really ever be sure that you'll never want to access some data again? This is why we didn't create a delete button, instead we have the 'inactive' checkbox.

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From healthy birth weight to school readiness, Chemung County is on the path to tracking the developmental progress of all children from birth to age 5. The project started years ago with school districts wanting to look at school readiness. They worked with Children's Institute to bring RECAP to Chemung County. With RECAP they looked at assessing social-emotional health and other domains for Pre-K students with a focus on getting kids ready for kindergarden.

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...and by value, we mean necessity. If your programs are collecting data about the children and youth enrolled, you have hopes of sharing that data outside of your organization and you know parent consent is needed, here are some things to think about.

We work with a lot of organizations who collect data and ask us to help them understand how to share that data with another organization (a partner, a funder, a school district, etc.). We usually explain to them that the how of sharing the data is almost always doable. There is often time and cost involved but connecting two data sources is not an impossible task. There also need to be legal agreements in place to share data between the organizations (more on that topic here). However, often the hardest part which not everyone considers, is securing parent permission to share that data.

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Our monthly newsletter, "COMET Kindred Spirits" provides resources, best practices and information on new features to those who share COMET's passion for using data to make a difference. Keep up to date with the latest and greatest in the world of data and COMET.