The Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success is guided by two documents – the Pathway to Student Success, which was developed locally as our road map to a better future for all our kids, and the Strive Theory of Action.

The Theory of Action is “a continuum of quality benchmarks  for building and sustaining civic infrastructure.”  A fancy way of saying that if communities work together, and stay focused on these actions, we can build the solid foundation required to support the changes we seek.

Strive Together Theory of Action

Strive Together Theory of Action

Across the continuum, there are four fundamental “Gateways” that signal our progress towards becoming a “Proof Point” , which means we arriving at the “Systems Change” gateway and that the indicators we’ve chosen are trending in the right direction. By crossing through each Gateway, there is a greater likelihood for sustained impact and improvement over time. In early 2014, when IAISS anticipates local data collection to begin, we will be moving from the “Exploring” Gateway into the “Emerging” Gateway.

Quality benchmarks are critical for ensuring a community transforms how they serve children.  Most importantly, communities achieve population-level impact when the student indicators that were set by the partnership consistently trend in the right direction.  As more communities successfully meet these quality benchmarks, we will collectively progress towards achieving our ultimate goal: supporting the success of every child, every step of the way, cradle to career.

The Strive Theory of Action was recently updated to reflect the realities of its implementation. Our voice up here in northern Minnesota was heard and we see our comments reflected in these changes.

When talking with people about the IAISS, we sometimes get the question, “How is what you’re doing different then what’s been tried in the past?”

The long answer: The past has prepared us for the work we’re doing today. Locally a diverse group of people and organizations have committed to work collaboratively on this complex issue. They have built the relationships and trust that allowed for the creation of the Pathway to Student Success – a  declaration of a shared vision that’s in our hearts and minds. The Blandin Foundation is committed to playing the key role as the backbone for IAISS, AND our relationship with Strive Together provides a flexible structure, the Theory of Action, and a nationwide connection with others engaged in this work.

The short answer: We’re ready.