Beginning in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky six years ago, more than 300 leaders of local organizations decided to focus on a region-wide approach to improving student achievement. They named their collaboration “StriveTogether … Every Child, Cradle to Career.”
Rather than adding services or programs, “Strive” built upon existing assets. Its impact came from a shared commitment to data-defined targets of academic achievement at every level. Partnership agreements were signed by educators, corporate leaders, foundations, governments, and faith communities.
“Strive” Partners focused their attention on a single set of goals and shared performance indicators. They discussed progress, learned from each other, and aligned efforts to achieve their goals.
Managed by a board and a small staff, “Strive” supported “collaborative action networks” of educators and partners across sectors, pursuing specific performance targets.
Six years later, “Strive” is achieving what it has been measuring, including a 9% rise in kindergarten readiness, an 11% increase in high school graduation, and a 10% increase in college enrollment.
Recently, the “Strive” model has been adopted by other communities across the country (www.strivenetwork.org). Early leaders include Milwaukee, Portland, Twin Cities, Dayton, Dallas, Albuquerque, and a few others.
At present, there are over 75 “Strive Together” network member communities. Spartanburg County is among the early affiliates. SAM recently received certification as an “emerging” cradle to career partnership.