It's not about many hands making light work. It's about many brains, hearts, and resources coming together to make hard work effective. We believe that by wrapping the processes of Collective Impact and Continuous Improvement around critical learning stages along the “cradle to career” journey, we can improve student outcomes and ultimately their lifelong success and that of our community. This means from Pre-Birth to Economic Mobility.
SAM establishes achievement goals for each learning stage, and uses county-wide data to measure performance in the belief that we will get what we measure working with our 7 School Districts.
SAM develops and supports “collaborative action networks” of educators and education non-profits, and business leaders working together to achieve these academic goals. By bringing together the resources and expertise of a diverse pool of community-based resources we utilize the Collective Impact model.
If you'd like to learn more about the Collective Impact mindset, check out this article that drives our work or listen to the first seven minutes of this TED Talk (www.ted.org) by Kevin Sweeney of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In addition, SAM has published a Research Brief outlining samples of the Collective Impact/Collaborative Action Process applied locally.
SAM develops an active advocacy agenda supporting our county’s schools at every opportunity, and encouraging state and national policy in support of academic achievement in Spartanburg County. What we learn is often impactful beyond geographic county lines, engaging us in advocacy issues throughout South Carolina.
SAM publishes progress updates on academic performance, and on Partners’ efforts to reach our county-wide goals. Our starting point was documented in SAM Preface, published in May 2014, followed by SAM Chapter 1, SAM Chapter 2, and our latest report, SAM Chapter 3.
Rather than addressing one point on the educational journey, the Movement seeks to coordinate improvements at every stage, from cradle to career.
And, rather than favoring one approach or program over another from stage to stage, the Movement creates “collaborative action networks” of educators and educational non-profits working at various learning stages, identifying best practices, learning from one another, and aiming toward the same improvement targets.
The great treasures of Spartanburg County are its schools, colleges, and education non-profits. They support programs at every level, and make substantial differences in the educational lives of citizens. There is little need for additional programming.
There is great need for a carefully structured effort to focus the entire community on a single set of goals, measured in the same way. And there is great potential in bringing together leaders across the County to intensify that focus by asserting their influence, support, and advocacy on the accomplishment of those goals.
Through alignment rather than isolation, through focus on measures shared in common, through sharing of best practices and working in concert …, in short, through the collective impact of an “all-in partnership,” we can reach our academic achievement goals and create a county-wide culture that values and benefits from that achievement.