The "StriveTogether" National Network
Beginning in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky seven 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 “Strive … 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.
Its sixth year annual report makes clear that “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.
In the past few years, the Strive model has been adopted by other communities across the country including Milwaukee, Portland, Albuquerque, Dallas , Dayton, and a dozen others. At present, nearly 75 cities/counties are exploring or developing collective impact approaches to educational achievement based upon the Strive model.
SAM’s Certification as an “Emerging Partnership"
In December 2013, The Spartanburg Academic Movement received national certification as an “Emerging Network Member” in the “StriveTogether Network.”
Less than a year later, in October 2014, the Spartanburg Academic Movement received the Network’s higher certification as a “Sustaining Network Member." By crossing through each Gateway, they get closer to Proof Point where the likelihood for sustained impact and achieving their ultimate goal increases significantly. SAM is only one of twelve communities with this certification and will continue to meet these quality benchmarks so they can support the success of every child, every step of the way, cradle to career.
In commenting on SAM’s certification, Jeff Edmondson, Managing Director of StriveTogether, “commended the leadership of the Spartanburg Academic Movement for their commitment to improving outcomes for kids from cradle to career. The progress SAM is making in such a short period of time is exemplary and we look forward to the value this partnership will bring as part of the national cradle to career Network and broader collective impact movement.”
What it means for us
According to Jennifer Evins, chair of the Spartanburg Academic Movement Board, “the certification is an important recognition of the structure and rigor of Spartanburg’s early work of the Movement; and clear evidence of commitment to a culture of academic achievement by our schools, colleges, and the numerous partners of the Movement.”
And now in 2017, our movement is very close to its next step on the path to Proof Point: Systems Change.