SAM is part of a  National Network

Beginning in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky more than a decade 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, the organization, now known as Strive Partnership, 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. 

Goals were defined: 

  1. Every child is PREPARED for school
  2. Every child is SUPPORTED inside and outside of school
  3. Every child SUCCEEDS academically
  4. Every child ENROLLS in some form of post-secondary education
  5. Every child GRADUATES and ENTERS A CAREER

“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. 

Those early efforts led to other communities seeking to replicate the "Strive" model within their own communities.  The result was a new organization, StriveTogether, leading and building a network of communities across the nation working to use this proven model to create local impact.  

In 2017, with 68 national network members employing the strategies outlined in the StriveTogether Theory of Action with community identified and driven cradle to career action points, StriveTogether adopted it's new strategic plan for the work and received significant funding for the effort from Ballmer Group, led by Steve and Connie Ballmer.  The work has been supported by multiple national funders and research agencies that remain engaged in the work. 


SAM’s Certification as a “Sustaining" Member


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 2018, our movement is very close to its next step on the path to Proof Point: Systems Change. 

The features of SAM that energize the superintendents of Spartanburg’s seven school districts are the Partnership Agreements signed by an increasingly large number of corporations, non-profits, government leaders, and faith communities across the County, all committing their support to our efforts to drive academic achievement numbers upward.
— Dr. Ron Garner, Superintendent, Spartanburg School District One