We build strategies and solve problems to further the missions of our clients.
- Administration on Children, Youth and Families
- Office of School Support and Accountability
- Office of Innovation and Improvement
- National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
- Office of English Language Acquisition
- Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
- National Center for Homeless Education
- Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Technical Assistance and Learning
- Office of Safe and Supportive Schools
- Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Institute of Education Sciences
- Office of English Language Acquisition
- Office of Safe and Supportive Schools
- Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Well-Rounded Education Program
- Office of Safe and Supportive Schools
- Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Office of Indian Education
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compiles, maintains, and analyzes a variety of education survey data. These wide-ranging data sources help NCES provide a comprehensive view of key issues facing the U.S. educational system. Since 2011, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) has supported materials development, social media, and media outreach, and produces four major NCES annual reports: the Condition of Education, Digest of Education Statistics, the Indicators of School Crime and Safety, and the Projections of Education Statistics. Additionally, Synergy develops smaller indicator reports on topics such as students’ home computer use, racial and ethnic groups, school choice, high school dropout and completion rates, and mathematics. To widely disseminate and increase the accessibility of the reports, Synergy develops Web-based mobile applications with bar charts and maps with interactive data sets. Synergy uses a rapid production cycle and adheres to NCES publication, statistical, and Web and Section 508 accessibility standards. To further expand NCES’s national presence, Synergy also produces statistical videos that highlight annual education data. The video production process includes storyboard development, animation, and music using the cutting-edge motion graphics and visual effects software. Other national dissemination activities include preparing tweets and infographics for the NCES Twitter account, developing talking points for report releases, and promoting and exhibiting NCES work at numerous education conferences.
Since 2011, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) has helped the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) HIV Research Program (ARP) maintain an integrated vision and strategy to guide research at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and substance use within the United States and internationally. To support this vision, Synergy developed the AIDS Research Projects Portfolio Database (ARP Database) to organize all aspects of NIDA-funded AIDS research and provide rapid responses to requests for summary data and graphical representations previously unavailable to ARP staff. Using this database and NIH data systems including QVR, SPIRES, iTools, and RePORTER, Synergy has designed and implemented a portfolio analysis process to evaluate the impact of NIDA ARP–managed research. Synergy also produced two special issues of peer-reviewed journals by collaborating with prominent researchers in the field of HIV and drug misuse: a supplement to Drug and Alcohol Dependence that focused the entwined epidemics of HIV and drug misuse in Central Asia, and a special call to action for the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome addressing the critical need for HIV prevention and treatment for women and girls who use or inject drugs. Synergy also collaborates with NIDA staff members to plan and facilitate scientific meetings, conducting interviews for the annual NIDA Avant-Garde Award Program for HIV/AIDS Research and Avenir Awards that support highly innovative, high-impact research in HIV/AIDS and drug misuse. Other strategic communications support includes creating a monthly newsletter, HIV News from NIDA.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Public Awareness Support (PAS) activities are focused on the agency’s mission to reduce the impact of substance misuse and mental health disorders on America’s communities. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) supports SAMHSA by providing communications and educational outreach that will position and brand the agency as the leading source for behavioral health expertise and innovation in the nation.
To assess how SAMHSA is viewed by key stakeholders and the public, Synergy executed a thorough reputational analysis spanning traditional and digital media, as well as influencers on key topics as identified by SAMHSA’s Office of the Assistant Secretary. This activity will inform future public-facing campaign efforts, including national English and Spanish-language public service announcement (PSA) campaigns, which will be conceptualized by Synergy. PSA topics will include mental health, suicide prevention, substance use, underage drinking, minority health, opioids, prevention, and recovery. To complement the PSA campaigns and increase awareness about SAMHSA’s resources among stakeholders, Synergy will develop communications materials such as one-pagers, brochures, posters, editorial articles, and banners. Materials and content developed for SAMHSA’s PAS activities will be supported by a robust marketing plan to reach a diverse set of audiences including key stakeholders, practitioners, academic institutions, professional associations, research groups, national nonprofit organizations, media, and the public.
Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) supports the mission and priorities of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to reduce the impact of substance misuse and mental health disorders on America’s communities by providing communications and educational outreach. Synergy also supported SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention by developing a national adult-oriented media public service campaign, “Talk. They Hear You.”® (TTHY), to reduce underage drinking and other substance use by children under the age of 21. The campaign includes public service announcements (PSAs), discussion starter videos and guides, original soundtracks, a mobile application, resources for parents and caregivers, community engagement and campaign branding and implementation resources for prevention organizations, and student assistance resources for educators and schools. Several of the campaign products are available in both English and Spanish. Since the launch of the campaign in 2013, “Talk. They Hear You.” television, print, and radio PSAs have collectively garnered more than 17.2 billion impressions. Additionally, distribution has generated an estimated $215.65 million in free airtime and ad space. To date, “Talk. They Hear You.” brand licenses have been assigned to 1,371 prospective and current partners who are implementing the campaign across the country. To ensure that the campaign strategies and products achieved SAMHSA’s mission, Synergy conducted extensive research, concept and focus group testing, and campaign evaluation to continually refine campaign messaging and materials, and to help “Talk. They Hear You.” evolve as SAMHSA’s priorities and the national public health landscape shift.
The Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the first Public Health Service office dedicated to promoting women’s health research. The Office’s goals include strengthening and enhancing research about diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect women; ensuring that NIH research addresses women’s health; and determining that women are appropriately represented in biomedical and biobehavioral NIH research studies. ORWH works collaboratively with all 27 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, as well as other federal agencies to advance the health of women.
To support ORWH, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) provides communications services such as developing strategic marketing and promotion plans for the Office’s various events and NIH-wide initiatives; drafting and production of In Focus, a quarterly publication, and The Pulse, a monthly newsletter; website maintenance; social media and blog content development; coordination of Facebook Live events; and stakeholder engagement and outreach. Synergy also developed ORWH’s e-learning courses and drafts keynote presentations for leadership, as well as literature reviews and research synthesis, some of which appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Science Friday. Through these activities, ORWH’s stakeholder network expanded to reach academic institutions, professional associations, health care providers, inclusion working groups, media, research groups, and national nonprofit organizations.
Additional award-winning products Synergy has developed for ORWH include a video and brochure on Maternal Morbidity and Mortality: What Do We Know? How Are We Addressing It?, a brochure on Polycystic Ovary/Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and a suite of materials for ORWH’s 30th Anniversary including a historical timeline and anniversary video.
The Administration on Children, Youth and Families’ (ACYF) Regional Partnership Grants (RPGs) support the behavioral, emotional, and social functioning of children in or at risk of being in out-of-home placements because of a parent or caretaker’s substance misuse. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) collaborated with Mathematica Policy Research to develop a data collection and reporting system, as part of the ACYF RPGs’ national-level program evaluation. Synergy’s application development team developed a password-protected Web-based application (the RPG Service Log) to obtain real-time information on RPG services from grantee caseworkers. The Service Log collects data such as target population; enrollment, duration, and dosage; content delivered; adherence/fidelity; quality; and participant responsiveness. The data collection system is role-based to allow case log workers a secure environment to conduct their unique tasks.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of School Support and Accountability (SSA) administers financial assistance grant programs to state educational agencies, local educational agencies, and institutions of higher education. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) used an agile methodology to develop a robust online Web application for SSA—the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (OESE) Communications Manager. The OESE Communications Manager helps SSA document communications and issues that require SSA Federal Project Officers to collaboratively develop responses to grantee queries. The Communications Manager allows SSA leadership to review all correspondence, provide approvals, print reports, or obtain updates using the online dashboard, and conduct searches by key terms/funded entity or state. Synergy’s application development team and ED closely collaborate to ensure that the SSA Communications Manager meets the evolving needs of the SSA leadership and staff as new reporting requirements emerge. Additionally, Synergy is responsible for all Federal Information Security Management Act compliance–related tasks and ensures that the platform meets ED’s certification and accreditation standards.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to develop and maintain numerous virtual tools and Web applications for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program’s Technical Assistance Center (MSAP Center). Synergy designed and implemented a needs assessment tool to identify the MSAP grantees’ high-priority technical assistance (TA) needs and to develop TA plans for helping grantees implement and manage magnet programs. Synergy’s in-house content specialists and information technology and Web development specialists created dynamic public and private Web workspaces that engage grantees in Communities of Practice and discussion boards. Synergy also designed and developed the MSAP website to house a plethora of magnet school resources—including multimedia materials, toolkits, and guides. Synergy’s Web and communications specialists ensured that all Web-based TA materials and resources were Section 508 compliant. To facilitate accurate and reliable performance reporting by grantees, Synergy built a Web-based, password protected, reporting system—the MSAP Annual Performance System—which grantees use to upload their Government Performance and Results Act data, and Annual Performance Reports. MSAP Center staff members also helped ED prepare guidance for completing ED 524-B forms. Synergy’s analysts compile, analyze, and report GPRA data for Congress to inform program practice and policy.
The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) represents state executives responsible for mental health delivery systems. NASMHPD selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to redesign its website, implement a content management system (CMS), and conduct on-site administrative user training to enhance the user experience and increase the staff’s efficiency. Synergy’s information technology team collaborated with NASMHPD staff to conduct a needs assessment and design a user-focused and streamlined website. The Synergy team added filtering features to narrow document searches from hundreds of presentations and publications to directly relevant documents. Using CMS, staff could directly access the online portal to make edits and update content expeditiously and in a cost-efficient manner.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) administers the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) to collect, coordinate, and disseminate a broad range of research information and resources to support an inclusive, high-quality education for English language learners. ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to design and develop a user-based and password-protected knowledge management system (KMS), an innovative tool first developed only for OELA’s staff. KMS is a compliance and monitoring tool to ensure that grantees reported on their fiscal and technical progress. It contains a repository of grantees’ progress and compliance data. The robust KMS system consists of online fillable forms to upload quarterly data and progress reports, and supports intra-office workflow among OELA project officers. Synergy also designed, maintained, hosted, and continually enhanced the NCELA website as an ed.gov website. The user-friendly website includes rich, dynamic content driven by back-end databases, software, and platforms. It was regularly enhanced and updated to support integration with social media and usability on all types of electronic devices. Additionally, the website features Title III State Profiles, interactive data displays, and links to resources on English learners and Title III implementation in every state.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is responsible for administering the Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) program, which is the successor to the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program (SRCL). In 2019, ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to design and maintain a password-protected knowledge management system (KMS), a compliance/monitoring tool and data repository that allows grantees to report fiscal and technical progress. The user-friendly KMS includes rich, dynamic content driven by back-end databases, software, and platforms. KMS serves as a robust and secure Web application that helps SRCL and CLSD program officers at ED to access, track, conduct data analysis, and report on the status of projects and budgets. Using online fillable forms to upload quarterly data and progress reports, grantees can upload and update information such as staffing changes, Government Performance and Results Act data, quarterly project progress, and use KMS to communicate and collaborate with their respective project officers by sharing grant management information, such requests for budget modifications. The Synergy information technology staff continually update KMS usability for ED. For example, Synergy customized KMS for each outlying area (e.g., America Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands) and the Bureau of Indian Education since these grantees have a different reporting schedule and requirements. Another modification precipitated by COVID-19 was the addition of No-Cost Time Extensions budget information.
The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), funded by the U.S. Department of Education, serves as an information center for the Education for Homeless Children and Youths program. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) collaborated with a state coordinators workgroup to examine challenges and best practices related to revising and monitoring implementation of its McKinney-Vento state plans. Synergy also developed a Federal Information Security Modernization Act and Section 508 compliant online Web platform as a comprehensive and secure tool for NCHE grantees to upload relevant compliance data, using a template developed by the workgroup that includes leading indicators for tracking improvements. The platform allows NCHE project staff to print customized monitoring reports and review dashboards to check on grantees’ compliance status. Further, it includes a customizable dashboard interface that provides an at-a-glance view of recent changes, updates, and other pertinent information. Synergy’s staff members manage and analyze grantees’ data, and develop data visualization tools and maps to report challenges to meeting educational needs of children experiencing homelessness. The system also includes a password-protected extranet component, which displays comprehensive Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR) data for local educational agencies and state educational agencies by state and years.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to develop and maintain the You for Youth (Y4Y) portal. Y4Y offers a technical assistance (TA) and training center to support 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) state coordinators and nearly 143,000 educators who serve 1.66 million students attending high-poverty and low-performing schools at over 10,000 program sites.
Synergy’s subject matter experts create and curate all TA resources, documents, and training products for the site. The Y4Y portal provides 24/7 access to self-paced courses, mini-lessons, best practice kits, research briefs, webinars, a newsletter, blog, and podcasts on topics of interest to the 21st CCLC community, such as literacy, career pathways, supporting English learners, and including students with disabilities. Synergy’s information technology (IT) department ensures that the portal meets all Federal Information Security Management Act requirements. Our instructional designers align course content with International Association for Continuing Education and Training standards. Synergy’s team of writers, editors, communicators, graphic and instructional designers, IT and Section 508 specialists, and TA providers develop useful, engaging content and messaging (including talking points and social media content) to promote the Y4Y brand and expand grantees’ awareness and use of Y4Y resources.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program provides before- and after-school academic enrichment opportunities for children in grades pre-K–12 who attend low-performing schools. ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to identify early childhood best practices and conduct case studies in a sampling of 21st CCLC programs that served children in pre-K and kindergarten. Synergy conducted a research review to identify evidence-based practices that promote optimal learning and development in early childhood education settings, and designed and implemented a descriptive study of 40 21st CCLC early childhood after-school programs. Synergy’s senior researchers and data analysts prepared an Office of Management and Budget package and the Institutional Review Board protocol; designed and implemented a multitiered site recruitment protocol and secure digital form-based data collection tools; oversaw on-site data collection and analysis; and synthesized qualitative and quantitative study results in a summary report. As part of the study, for federal program staff, Synergy prepared a compendium of best practices in pre-K through grade 3 programs for developing quality after-school activities for young children.
Through an evaluation grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) partnered with Concentric Research & Evaluation to examine the effects of the HOME WORKS! program intervention on student academic outcomes and behaviors during the 2017–2018 academic year. HOME WORKS!, a teacher home visit program, is designed to bridge the gap between school and home, build relationships, reverse distrust, and foster partnerships between teachers and families to improve school success. The evaluation investigated whether students enrolled in HOME WORKS! classrooms (relative to classrooms assigned at random to programming as usual) scored higher on 2018 standardized reading assessments; missed fewer days of school; and experienced fewer disciplinary incidents than students in non-HOME WORKS! classrooms. The evaluation used a blocked, cluster randomized controlled trial design to examine intervention effects on student academic outcomes. Synergy’s research team assessed the impact of HOME WORKS! in 11 schools in St. Louis Public Schools (Missouri). Twenty-five classrooms (361 students) were randomly assigned to the teacher home visits for one academic year, and 24 classrooms (306 students) were assigned to the “business as usual” control condition. Findings will be published in The School Community Journal in Fall/Winter 2021. These findings showed that more than 80 percent of participating teachers reported that the first home visit improved their relationship with the student’s family. Other benefits cited by the teachers included a better understanding of academic challenges and improved discussions about student academic and student behaviors. Students in HOME WORKS! and comparison classrooms did not differ significantly on academic outcomes and behaviors as measured by available school administrative records data. Based on lessons learned from the evaluation, the partners worked together to develop strategies to strengthen and tailor programs to the needs of the schools and to improve the impact of the program in future years.
In August 2019, the University of Arkansas received a $4.63 million award from the National Science Foundation to develop the Cyber-Centric Multidisciplinary Security Workforce Development academic program, referred to as the CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. The interdisciplinary program is designed to provide the knowledge and tools necessary to protect network and computer systems in three critical industries: (1) cybersecurity, (2) transportation security, and (3) critical infrastructure security. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) was selected to conduct an annual evaluation about the effectiveness of the SFS program and make data-informed recommendations for program improvement. Synergy designed the evaluation to focus on key program goals: student recruitment, student academic progress, student participation in research opportunities and cybersecurity activities, student satisfaction with mentoring, and SFS program faculty and staff roles and perceptions. The evaluation team uses multiple data sources, including extant data (e.g., program website and news articles), administrative data (e.g., student GPAs and course completion status), and student, staff, and faculty survey data. Additionally, Synergy will create a survey for employers in response to the program’s needs.
Since 2008, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) has been committed to the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) in its mission to support military-connected students and their families with the unique needs of military families brought on by frequent transitions and deployments. DoDEA selected Synergy to conduct an evaluation of its English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The Synergy evaluation team used a mixed-method evaluation approach—reviewing extant data and conducting family focus groups, record reviews, and classroom observations during site visits to schools located on military bases in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific. The study team provided recommendations for redesigning the ESL program to improve the academic and social outcomes for military-connected students and their families.
Another study completed for DoDEA focused on identifying best practices for providing services for students with disabilities (SWDs). The evaluation team conducted a literature review to identify criteria (e.g., service time and grade level of SWDs for determining special education staffing standards. From the literature, the team developed a structured protocol to interview personnel in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. The protocol examined the extent to which implementing Response to Intervention (RtI) and other identification strategies may decrease the number of students requiring special education services. The final report provided recommendations for creating inclusive environments and practices at all grade levels, and included a model for using para-educators to support SWDs.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) goal is for all ICE-supported facilities to comply with national correctional health standards. In 2013 and 2016, ICE revised the detention standards to ensure consistency with federal legal and regulatory requirements. Prior to this, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) helped ICE’s efforts to attain this goal by designing and implementing an objective evaluation of health care services provided in ICE-supported facilities. The purpose of the study was to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to provide factual recommendations to improve the health services of immigrants housed in ICE-supported correctional facilities. Synergy examined ICE processes to ensure that the immigrant population has access to emergent, urgent, and non-emergent medical, dental, and mental health care. The methodology included on-site visits to collect valid and reliable data from a representative random sample of all detention facilities housing ICE detainees for more than 72 hours. The mixed-method study also included observations of medical resources (e.g., pharmacies) and processes (e.g., intake procedures); reviews of policies, procedures, detainee medical records; and interviews with facilities staff and ICE field office staff. Data analysis involved grouping the practice elements by functional areas and reconciling the Performance-Based National Detention Standards and the American Correctional Association, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, and the Joint Commission standards. Synergy prepared a final report that identified health care deficiencies, the impact on providing quality health care to detainees, recommendations for modifying and aligning health care standards with those recognized as best practices for detention facilities, and proposed solutions for systemic changes in education and training, personnel, facilities, and resource support.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) established the Center for Global Health (CGH) in 2011 to create sustainable research, evaluation support, and international partnerships that support programs addressing global gaps in cancer research. CGH selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to conduct data and portfolio analysis, develop and publish reports, and conduct high-level convenings to support CGH’s overall mission of creating sustainable international partnerships that address global gaps in cancer research. For example, Synergy’s analysts conducted a portfolio analysis on NCI-funded quality of care research to determine how funding dollars supported research and scientific advancement in cancer care delivery, and how to translate and disseminate best practices globally to low-resource countries. Additionally, Synergy conducted an outcome evaluation of the Affordable Cancer Technologies for Global Health Program to determine the extent to which the program contributes to the literature, stimulates progress toward a successful product or intervention; and identifies additional activities to support the program’s goals. Currently, Synergy is supporting the Global Oncology Survey of 71 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, including modifying a predesigned survey using an online platform and using mixed-methods data analysis.
The Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the first Public Health Service office dedicated to promoting women’s health research. The office’s goals include strengthening and enhancing research about diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect women; ensuring that NIH research addresses women’s health; and determining that women are appropriately represented in biomedical and biobehavioral NIH research studies. ORWH approached Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to undertake several research and analysis functions. The first task was a literature review for an article on the impact of interpersonal violence (also known as intimate partner violence) (IPV) on maternal mortality and morbidity (MMM) that provided background and current research on both IPV and MMM, the lack of data on each topic and the intersection between the two, and possible next steps to improve both the data collection and analysis. This literature review generated over 200 scholarly articles from relevant NIH databases. The article was published in the January 2020 issue of Current Women’s Health Reviews. The second task was an analysis of comments received in response to a July 1, 2021, Federal Register Notice requesting comments about three areas: stagnant cervical cancer survival rates, the impact of chronic debilitating conditions on women’s health, and rising rates and racial disparities in MMM. Comments in other areas were also encouraged. Synergy analyzed approximately 250 comments using qualitative analysis software to develop themes and a categorization scheme. This methodology used clusters and counts of words and phrases to identify key themes. In addition to the three themes above, Synergy analysts identified that health equity and societal drivers of health were also primary concerns.
The Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS) selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to develop the Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse (the Clearinghouse), designed to align with President Joe Biden’s goal to safely reopen schools following closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The Clearinghouse focuses on three critical U.S. Department of Education (ED) priorities: (1) reopening safely, (2) student supports, and (3) educator supports. ED Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona emphasized that Clearinghouse resources are peer-oriented and provide optimal value to educators at state and local education agencies as they exchange ideas, information, resources, and tools with their peers. Equity is a priority to meet the holistic needs of all students, especially those students from historically underserved communities that were most negatively affected by the pandemic. Synergy—in collaboration with OSSS leadership, ED’s Office of Communications, and Office of the Chief Information Officer developed a fully operational Clearinghouse that supports students, young children, families, teachers, early childhood providers, faculty, and staff members at schools, early childhood education programs, and campuses in their efforts to reopen following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The website includes a resource library that contains more than 300 resources catalogued by topic areas and instructional levels, and 10 archived events. In addition to the website, there is a direct technical assistance to ED, its partners, and Clearinghouse users via a monitored email box and phone line [1-833-644-BPCH (2724)]. Synergy also provides logistical and planning support for the ED-sponsored sharing events, which feature numerous live and prerecorded sessions about safely reopening schools amid the ongoing pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) program encourages collaboration and coordination of comprehensive academic, social, and health services through partnerships among public elementary and secondary schools, local educational agencies, community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other public or private entities. The collaborations are designed to improve educational outcomes for children. ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to provide technical assistance (TA), resources, training, and evaluation services to FSCS to strengthen project management and fiscal accountability. Synergy’s staff reviewed and analyzed all quantitative and qualitative data from Annual Performance Reports to identify grantee challenges in fulfilling program requirements. Synergy’s evaluation staff developed methods for aggregating disparate grantee data measures to provide comprehensive annual summary cohort and individual grantee progress reports. Synergy’s intensive TA efforts focused on improving the quality of FSCS project–level measures and clarifying data collection and reporting protocols for the FSCS Government Performance and Results Act measures and performance indicators. Based on identified grantee and FSCS program officers’ feedback, Synergy developed and continually revised a streamlined, user-friendly data reporting structure and guidance for current and newly awarded grantees to facilitate the data collection and submission process.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is sponsoring a study to inform the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) collaborated with Mathematica to examine the effectiveness of a continuous quality improvement system implemented with staff in 21st CCLC–funded after-school centers. Grantee sites are randomized to 2-year interventions and will participate in free training and support to implement a continuous quality improvement system focused on improving students’ social and emotional skills. Synergy’s role includes serving as co-principal investigator providing subject matter expertise for surveys and other data collection tools; recruiting and training program participants; conducting independent observations to provide recommendations for improving the training; supporting data analysis; and contributing to all reports and publications.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) administers the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) to collect, coordinate, and disseminate a broad range of research information and resources to support an inclusive, high-quality education for English Learners (ELs). ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to provide technical assistance (TA) to more than 200 grants and to design and develop a user-based and password-protected Knowledge Management System (KMS). KMS is a compliance and monitoring tool designed to ensure that grantees reported on their fiscal and technical progress. It contains a repository of grantees’ progress and compliance data. Synergy also designed, maintained, hosted, and continually enhanced the NCELA website as an ed.gov website. The user-friendly website includes rich, dynamic content driven by back-end databases, software, and platforms. It was regularly enhanced and updated to support integration with social media and usability on all types of electronic devices. In 2017, Synergy TA staff members pioneered, designed, and wrote periodic Facts Sheets that contain synthesized key data on English learners (ELs) into 2-page sheets on a variety of subjects. Other products designed by Synergy include a semi-monthly NEXUS e-newsletter to share new resources, upcoming events, job announcements, and funding related to the education of ELs and the EL community. Synergy staff members analyzed Consolidated State Performance Report data to develop The Biennial Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Title III State Formula Grant Program. Synergy introduced color maps, tables, and graphics to the report. Additionally, Synergy analysts prepared Title III State Profiles, interactive data displays, and links to resources on ELs and Title III implementation in every state. Last, TA staff produced two toolkits: the English Learner Toolkit and the Newcomer Toolkit that include chapters on ensuring families’ rights, working with families to increase educational outcomes, and supporting families as they navigate the school environment.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS) administers the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center. In 2012, ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to manage the REMS TA Center, which serves as a national school safety center offering free resources, information, tools, and training for all schools, districts, and institutions of higher education (IHEs) across the country. The REMS TA Center builds the emergency preparedness capacity in schools, school districts, IHEs, and community partners at the local, state, and federal levels. Synergy developed and maintains the REMS website, which includes guidance for developing emergency operation plans; resources; e-learning tools; a community of practice (CoP); online courses; and Twitter to encourage and promote engagement, outreach, information awareness, and dissemination activities. Specialized Training Packages, e-learning tools, mobile applications, CoPs, and a Twitter feed cover myriad issues ranging from emergency management functions, accounting for all persons, alerts, communications and warnings, continuity of operations, evacuation, family reunification, lockdown, public health, medical and mental health, security, hazards and threats, adversarial- and human-caused threats, biological hazards, natural hazards, and technological hazards, etc. Synergy provides direct technical assistance to K–12 and higher ed practitioners and their community partners. Synergy also builds collaboration among key leaders, practitioners, stakeholders, and federal partners to create preparedness guides that comply with the recommendations of the Federal Commission on School Safety.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education is responsible for administering the Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) program, which is the successor to the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program. Both grant programs are designed to create a comprehensive literacy program to advance literacy skills, including pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing, for children from birth through grade 12, with an emphasis on disadvantaged children, including children living in poverty, English learners, and children with disabilities. ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to provide technical assistance and training (TA/T) to grantees at the state education level. Additionally, Synergy developed a password-protected knowledge management system to facilitate quarterly reporting and Government Performance and Results Act data collection. Synergy also designed and implements a curated resource library of evidence-based literacy practices. To sustain and extend the knowledge presented at annual and topical grantee meetings, Synergy staff members designed four Click-and-Go’s as professional learning tools and resource hubs. Click-and-Go topics include supporting the literacy needs of families, English learners, students with disabilities, and young children birth to age 5. Each Click-and-Go includes video podcasts with grantees, “Ask a Regional Educational Library (REL)” resources, evidence-based strategies, and “Voices from the Field.” Other virtual TA activities include managing a technology-based community of practice (CoP) that provides a platform for discussing strategies, progress, challenges, and best practices, and includes peer-to-peer sessions that connect grantees with similar interests, knowledge, needs, and challenges. From 2019–2021, Synergy has designed and managed three annual project director convenings, six topical meetings, and over 42 CoP webinars. The CoP webinar topics emerged from grantees’ information requests. Synergy also manages a team of TA liaisons who provide one-on-one TA support to individual state educational agency grantees as they implement their CLSD programs.
The Title IV, Part A (Title IV-A) Student Support and Academic Enrichment program was authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015. The program is intended to improve students’ academic achievement by increasing the capacity of states, local educational agencies, schools, and local communities to (1) provide all students with access to a well-rounded education, (2) improve school conditions for student learning, and (3) improve the use of technology to increase the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students. The U.S. Department of Education selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to establish and maintain the Title IV, Part A Technical Assistance Center (T4PA Center) to provide State coordinators (SCs) and other stakeholders with the tools and resources to effectively administer and implement the Title IV-A program. The T4PA Center uses a multipronged approach to providing training and technical assistance, including providing SCs dedicated TA liaison support; operating a Help Desk; conducting robust online needs assessments; developing customized TA plans; identifying and creating resources, trainings, and other materials; hosting interactive meetings, webinars, and annual conferences; developing a national network of subject matter experts; administering a dedicated T4PA Center Twitter profile; and managing an SC-dedicated Community of Practice.
The You for Youth (Y4Y) Professional Development and Technical Assistance Portal for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant program’s goal is to promote better student outcomes by providing academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools to help them meet state and local standards in core academic subjects. To support grantees in accomplishing this goal, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to develop and maintain the You for Youth (Y4Y) portal. Y4Y offers a technical assistance and training center (TA/T) to support 21st CCLC state coordinators and nearly 143,000 educators who serve 1.66 million students at over 10,000 program sites. Synergy also creates content for the site. We convene technical working groups, conduct listening sessions, engage subject matter experts, and develop white papers for ED leadership to ensure Y4Y products meet grantees’ needs, incorporate the best available evidence from research and practice, and align with ED priorities.
The Y4Y portal provides 24/7 access to self-paced courses, mini-lessons, best practice kits, research briefs, webinars, a newsletter, a blog, and podcasts on topics of interest to the 21st CCLC community, such as literacy, career pathways, supporting English learners, and including students with disabilities. The Synergy team also provides up to 20 in-person and 20 virtual TA events to states or local communities each year, based on interest and need.
Synergy increased registered users from 5,780 in 2014 to 25,976 in May 2020; redesigned the newsletter and increased readership from about 5,000 in 2014 to 19,346 in August 2021; and provided TA to thousands of 21st CCLC grantees through in-person and virtual events, as well as conference presentations.
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Indian Education (OIE) is responsible for administering all OIE discretionary grant programs, including the Indian Education Professional Development (PD); Native American Language (NAL@ED) Grant; State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP); and the Demonstration Grants for Indian Children program, which includes the Accessing Choices in Education (ACE) and Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) projects. ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) to provide technical assistance and training (TA/T). Synergy is committed to OIE’s mission of meeting the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students. The TA team completed over 204 needs assessments, using program-specific rubrics to identify key project implementation elements, such as services provided, data collection and reporting, management plan, and partnerships for each grantee. Data from the assessments helped the TA team design both individual technical assistance plans and group technical assistance plans, which outline specific TA designed to meet grantees’ needs. TA is provided through site visits, individual and group coaching, multiple monthly virtual events, including content-focused webinars, program-specific talking circles, and program highlights. For example, Synergy created a virtual project directors meeting using a custom online platform, which included participants entering the lobby of the American Indian Museum in Washington, DC; a social wall; a discussion board; and games.
Additionally, to help grantees collect and report Government Performance and Results Act measures, project measures, and all other pertinent information and data required for annual performance reporting, Synergy designed an online project planner. All TA provided is program-specific. For example, Synergy’s TA focuses on specific topics such as middle and high school students, service selection methods, family feedback methods, and trauma and resilience, distance learning, and service options.
Since 2006, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) has been contracted to plan and execute a series of science meetings designed to inform policymakers, researchers, and the public on advances in drug abuse research, prevention, and treatment for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Office of Science Policy and Communications. The support includes meetings for discussion and planning, state-of-the-art research reviews, and dissemination of research findings. Under this contract, Synergy staff provide a broad range of support, including 20 scientific meetings per year, each year to include the NIDA/NIAAA Society of Neuroscience Mini-Convention, the NIDA Grant Writing Session at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, and the NIDA track at the American Psychiatric Association. All pre-meeting logistics for the science meetings include selecting locations, coordinating audiovisual services, creating a meeting registration website, and coordinating travel for speakers. Other services involve creating meeting materials that include graphic design work, formatting agendas and participant lists, and creating all meeting handouts and meeting signage. Meeting logistics services include working with the meeting venue and providing onsite meeting support, providing a meeting note taker to draft meeting summaries; providing a writer to draft research reports; and providing reimbursements to all sponsored speakers. Onsite meetings range from 10-person focus groups to those with over 600 attendees.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) a contract to plan and execute science meetings for several Institutes within NIH. Meetings for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) include training for basic and clinical scientists to implement rheumatic diseases research and disseminate the research findings. Other meetings include the annual NIAMS Board of Scientific Counselors Meeting, the Forum for Clinical Mentored K Awardees, and the Intramural Research Program Scientific Retreat. Meetings for NIAMS and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute are held at NIH facilities or virtually via the Zoom platform. Synergy designs meeting registration and real-time reporting databases and meeting websites. Synergy’s certified meeting planners provide services that include all pre-onsite/online meeting support such as preparing and disseminating logistics and confirmation letters; negotiating hotel and vendor agreements; providing graphic, editorial, and publications support; preparing and producing Section 508-compliant virtual meeting materials; coordinating with onsite or online audiovisual and facilities vendors; and preparing meeting staging guides. Synergy also makes domestic and international travel and lodging arrangements within Federal Travel Regulation guidelines; arranges shuttle services from the hotel to the meeting site; arranges clearance to enter the NIH campus; and sends reimbursement forms and issues payments once the forms are received/approved. Since the start of the pandemic, Synergy has pivoted its support to providing an all-virtual meeting environment for over 60 meetings. Assistance for the virtual environment includes providing technical production support, coordinating speakers, developing presenter guides for a virtual environment, and disseminating post-meeting materials and evaluations.
The Annual Reports Program (ARP) within the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compiles, maintains, and analyzes a variety of education survey data. These wide-ranging data sources allow NCES reports to provide a comprehensive view of key issues facing the U.S. educational system. ARP disseminates these analyses through recurring or one-time analytic indicator reports, tabular reports, and Web tools such as videos, mobile applications, and social media.
As part of this project, NCES produces four major annual reports: The Condition of Education, Digest of Education Statistics, the Indicators of School Crime and Safety, and the Projections of Education Statistics. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Synergy) also develops smaller indicator reports on topics such as students’ home computer use, racial and ethnic groups, school choice, and high school dropout and completion rates, as well as one-time analytic reports such as the Study of the Title I, Part A Grant Program Mathematical Formulas. These reports address a wide array of education topics on key issues facing the U.S. educational system.
In 2011, NCES selected Synergy to produce these statistical reports and Web products in a rapid production cycle and according to NCES publication, statistical, and Web standards. Synergy’s team of writers, editors, designers (graphic, Web, and animation), desktop publishers, and programmers work in concert to design, lay out, review, and publish NCES statistics. All Web products, including mobile applications and videos, are made Section 508 compliant according to agency-specific style standards for distribution online.
To expand NCES’s presence as a federal entity for collecting and analyzing education data, Synergy prepares tweets and infographics for the NCES Twitter account and performs media outreach by developing talking points for report releases. Synergy has developed a branding video for NCES, and promoted and exhibited NCES work at a number of education conferences.
ARP’s series of statistical videos highlights education data derived from the major annual reports. Our subject matter experts and animation designers assist with storyboard development, offer expert suggestions and recommendations for improving the content and design, and create animation, using the latest motion graphics and visual effects software. We also have established relationships with narration and music vendors to acquire voice-over talent and background music for video development. Using the latest chart and mapping software, Synergy team members develop mobile applications to design interactive figures containing line charts, bar charts, and maps. These mobile applications allow users to easily access data.