President's Message

Reaffirming Our Values

Welcome to Metis Associates. All of us at Metis are still energized from the week we spent together at our annual Metis Winter Summit, where we brought together our 56 staff members from around the country to assess our goals and objectives, plan for the future, develop professionally, and connect with each other socially. In addition to celebrating our 35th anniversary, this year we had quite a few conversations centered on reaffirming our values and revisiting our mission: helping our clients make a meaningful difference in the lives of those they serve. These discussions were designed to bring our work into even closer alignment with those clients, organizations, and projects that can most benefit from our assistance.

Metis's commitment to promoting the success of children and families—whether in education, the workforce, the justice system, or the economy—is every bit as critical as it was when the company was founded. We have been in business for over three decades because the needs for the services our clients provide, and by extension for our services, have been stubbornly persistent (and in fact, have worsened in many ways). More than 16 million children in the United States—one in every five—lived in poverty in 2010—a shocking increase of one million over the prior year. It hardly bears stating that our education system fails large numbers of low-income children who are disproportionately black and Latino.

Many of Metis's 120 active projects in evaluation, information technology, and grant development address the deeply entrenched problems of poverty and educational inequality. For example, two years ago, Metis helped Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 in South Carolina, an under-resourced region, attain magnet-school funding to bring greater academic rigor to their student population. Last year, we began an evaluation of an Allentown, Pennsylvania, program that unifies school-based anti-violence and mental health services for 23,000 youth. And, in 2010, we completed a report on our evaluation of the New York City Learning to Work initiative, which brings over-age, under-credited youth back into school with special programming geared to help them graduate.

We at Metis are pleased that our rigorous evaluations and data analysis projects are being used all over the country to guide organizations that are seeking answers to educational inequality. Yet, fierce debates over the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind demonstrate just how polarized our nation is over the best way to pursue educational achievement.

That is why it was so inspiring to hear from the leaders of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA), who spoke at our recent Summit. (See “In Focus” on our home page for more on NUA). Eric Cooper, the president and founder of the NUA, and Yvette Jackson, chief executive officer, displayed their unwavering passion for helping schoolchildren of color to reach their highest potential. In doing so, they reminded me of what it means to really live one's values. Along with many of our education clients, including forward-thinking superintendents, foundations, universities, and nonprofit organizations, the NUA is working to reverse the tide of educational inequality, and by all appearances it is succeeding.

Yvette and Eric awakened in us a reaffirmation of our own values—which include strong, mutually honest partnerships and the highest quality of the services we can provide. Metis is very pleased to be able to contribute both programmatic and methodological expertise to both further and help prove the value of so many ambitious undertakings. I encourage you to explore our recently redesigned website and learn about the excellent work that is being undertaken by our tireless and committed clients to make meaningful differences in the lives of those they serve.

- Stanley Schneider, President