Just over a year ago, eighteen members of the Student Success Core Team traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit Strive, Cincinnati. Strive had been successful in building a “cradle to career civic infrastructure for student success”, and leads a national network of Cradle to Career communities. Learnings from this trip prompted the Core Team to develop A Pathway for Student Success, which was recently finalized. The Core Team’s “adapt, not adopt” approach to the Strive model is unique in the Strive Network.
Last spring the Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success joined the Strive Network, and recently sent a team to Milwaukee for the annual Strive Network Convening, joining 370 participants from across the country.
Here are the team’s key learnings from Day 1:
- We need everyone in our community to say: “It is in my family’s best interest that all families succeed.”
- John Chisholm, District Attorney of Milwaukee County cited his engagement in the Milwaukee Succeeds Leadership Council as a way to promote educational success to reduce youth incarceration. For more information on this issue, take a look at research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation here.
- Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and innovation are vital to our goal of “Develop skills to live, work and thrive in an ever changing world.” Finding data to guide the work will be a challenge.
- Debra Delisle from the US Department of Education echoed our goal of “Every student will feel accepted” with this statement: “Behind data is a child with a heart and soul who is longing to be accepted.”
- The Portland community has placed equity at the center of their partnership. With this intentional approach “the invisible became visible”.
The experience in Milwaukee is validating our “adapt not adopt” approach. While many of the Strive communities quickly moved to building an infrastructure and collecting data, the Itasca Area Initiative’s approach is unique in its focus on relationships and creating a strong foundation to build toward action. This approach and the intentional effort to keep the core team open to anyone who has energy to participate provides a strong connection to the communities.