EDD 8302 Harlem Children’s Zone Basic Case Summary

Harlem Children’s Zone Basic Case Summary

Capella University

The Harlem Children’s Zone Overview

The Harlem Children’s Zone, also known as the Zone or HCZ, began as Rheedlen Centers as a social service organization for Families and Children in the 1970s. The center’s name changed to the HCZ in 2002. Rheedlen was initiated in Harlem as a program for truancy-prevention. In expanded its mission in the late 1990s, to include offering additional support services including education to families and children focused on a 24-block area, which it called the Children’s Zone also called the Zone (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

The philosophy tagged behind the Zone was to form a positive and confident “tipping point” in the Harlem community. The program would achieve this through offering community-wide support services throughout the concentrated Harlem area. The aim was to create a mass of people who were expected to get involved in the initiated program. The people’s concentration would surround children with “an enriching environment of supportive adults peers and college-oriented.” Since its inception, HCZ has massively expanded to include nearly 100 blocks in Harlem, serving over 13,000 adults and 10,000 children (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

An executive board, under the leadership of Geoffrey Canada leads and runs the HCZ. Canada, a gentleman from the Bronx, had a vision to offer support services to Harlem’s children. The support services would give them the social and educational capital to academically succeed in school, and college and in the after-college life, while strengthening the surrounding area and community to modify the culture of student generations’ growth. To achieve this, Canada anticipated forming a continuum of support services to students’ development at every point of their life. The services would start before the children began school to make sure that they gained the necessary skills and knowledge needed for success in school (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

Thus, in 2002 December, Canada as president and CEO, reviewed the HCZ’s 2-year old business plan progress. The business plan was mean to increase service provision to the children and families in Harlem. In Canada’s mind for the children with troubled backgrounds to grow and transition healthily into adulthood, they required to essential things. A surrounding of caring adults was important as well as exposure of their early life to intellectual, healthcare, consistent guidance and social simulation. Then there was the most difficult part for the plan to succeed – change (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

In reference to Grossma & Curran (2004), the agency needed drastic changes in its management structure, program goals, measurement and systems. Canada needed a seamless system that could support the children from the moment they are conceived to their college life and after college. He called this a ‘best-practice in the organization’s conveyor belt. His fear, of the business plan and the new system was measurement, scaling and the changes his managers would have to undergo for the benefit of the organization without demoralizing their passion. This is the basis of the case study.

The entire case study is a description of the business plan and the organization. There are goals that were set up for the organization, with objectives. The business plan is much worried about the condition of the students in the pre-school section and the college division. There are also evaluation and measurement concerns and financial concerns in the business plan. The plan is built in a mission statement of the company. The mission of the company is to create significant and positive outcomes and opportunities for all children by creating safe leaning environment for the youth (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

The Major Issues of the Case

In the HCZ, the mission is to create significant and positive outcomes and opportunities for all children by creating safe leaning environment for the youth. This is done by creating a supporting mass of adults around the children. Thus the man issues of the case are to change the system, to create a reliable measurement and evaluation system and to keep the managers motivated and working for the success of the organization (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

In that essence, the case has identified certain imperative areas of concern. First is penetrating the zone with focus on children of 0 to 18 years old. Second, the plan aims to track performance of the organization through the measurement and evaluation system. The evaluation system must be reliable and provide good and true results of the situation. It will us such information sources as participant surveys, demographic data and participant information. Third issue is building the organization. HCZ’s recent rapid growth and diversification is what called for the business plan. The growth and diversification demands significant strengthening of organization’s core management, operating systems and staff (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

To achieve these, the fourth concern of the business plan is expansion of the HCZ’s boundaries (Grossma & Curran, 2004). On top of the 24 blocks, the business plan has provided 36 more block to be covered in the north and 3,800 more children. Similar a southward expansion has been suggested adding 31 more blocks to the organization’s existing ones with 8,000 more children. Expansion will increase the chance of more children getting better life. The fifth issue is informing the field. To succeed in their mission they need the best policies which must be informed. The organization must thus inform all stakeholders about their program and their mission (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

The Important Human and Organizational Relationships in the Situation

In part the human and organizational relationship is embedded in the mission statement of the organization. The mission of the HCZ’s project is to create substantial, positive opportunities and results for all children within the 24-block area through helping parents, teachers, and residents among other key stakeholders offer the youth a safe and healthy learning environment. The organization cannot exist without the people, and the people and the organization are seamlessly intertwined (Grossma & Curran, 2004).

The change theory essential to the HCZ model needs the coordinated application of five core principles that outline a human and organizational relationship. 1) The organization must serve the entire community comprehensively; 2) create a pipeline of continuous uninterrupted support from a child’s birth to graduation from college. 3) Build a community among parents, residents, teachers, institutions, and stakeholders, who are essential in creating the necessary environment for the children’s healthy development. 4) Evaluate program outcomes from the feedback for the management to use in refining and improving program offerings. Finally, 5) cultivate a success culture in the organization rooted in teamwork, passion, leadership, and accountability.

Characteristics of the case that relate to global and cross-cultural issues

HCZ works to attain particular results through its extensive programs. They work to provide the children with an opportunity to a strong development towards adulthood. The world has become very conscious of the poor and the minority. Thus, the HCZ case is on example that is replicating the trend of the world in supporting the worlds disadvantaged. The HCZ’s success in meaningfully improving Harlem’s minority and poor students’ outcomes has justifiably created a push use the HCZ model to different communities in the country and around the world.


Grossma, A. & Curran, D. (2004). The Harlem Children’s Zone; Driving Performance with Measurement and Evaluation. Harvard Business School, 9-303-109

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