Last week, we released our third annual report, “SAM Chapter 2 - Collective Impact,” at an event at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters. Our Executive Director John Stockwell discussed Chapter 2, telling the story of how collective impact is working across Spartanburg County to advance academic achievement for every child, cradle to career.
Two years ago, in spring 2014, we published “SAM Preface: Framing the Academic Movement,” making the case for change in academic achievement ambitions across Spartanburg County. “SAM Preface” established baselines and projected targets for increasing achievement at six stages of learning over the coming years: kindergarten readiness, early grades reading, middle grades math, college/career-ready high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment, and post-secondary persistence and completion.
In spring 2015, we published “Chapter 1 – Faces of Change,” addressing rapidly changing high-stakes assessment practices driven by state and federal guidelines that have threatened to impose excessive testing challenges on schools, teachers, and students, here and across the country; challenges that have made it difficult for SAM to track academic achievement progress from year to year.
This year’s report, “SAM Chapter 2 – Collective Impact,” begins by documenting the scale of the education enterprise in Spartanburg County. Counting the nearly 50,000 public school students, teachers, staff, parents, child development centers, colleges, and educational non-profits, over 50% of the County’s 290,000 residents are directly engaged. And the remaining 50% have deep stakes in the achievement of this generation of students.
Now entering our third year, “SAM Chapter 2” explains what collective impact means for academic achievement across Spartanburg County. It also documents the work of the Kindergarten Success Collaborative Action Network and schedules the launch of similar networks that will address each of the five other stages of learning. Chapter 2 also anticipates a more rational assessment framework with the passage of the federal “Every Student Succeeds” Act putting more authority in the hands of the states, and the continual refinement of assessment practices in South Carolina.
The collective impact work in kindergarten readiness and the changes forthcoming in assessment and accountability are the themes of “SAM Chapter 2,” now available for download on our website.