The Assessment helps communities gain a deeper understanding of the Framework for building Cradle to Career Civic Infrastructure, while also helping StriveTogether ensure that we are maintaining quality and rigor in our Network. It is an important first step for communities wishing to join the Cradle to Career Network. The Assessment serves as a tool to help communities understand unique strengths and obstacles through progression in the Theory of Action. It is meant to assess how communities move through the Theory of Action Gateways in achieving specific quality benchmarks. By crossing through each Gateway, there is a greater likelihood for sustained impact and improvement over time. These quality benchmarks are essential for ensuring a community transforms how they serve children. Most importantly, communities achieve population-level impact when the community-level outcomes set by the Partnership consistently trend in the right direction. To this end, partnerships should complete a Progress Assessment annually to detail progress through the Theory of Action.
StriveTogether has developed the Civic Infrastructure Assessment based on the Theory of Action. The Assessment process is structured to help partnerships understand where they are in terms of the Theory of Action Gateways and which quality benchmarks they have met on their way to becoming a Proof Point. The process is not intended to be punitive. StriveTogether will work to organize Cradle to Career Network resources and supports around these benchmarks and Gateways, directing partnerships twoard appropriate tools, resources, and strategic assistance, as well as helping partnerships connect with others working on the same issues. The Assessment process also serves as an accountability measure and a way for partnerships to demonstrate their commitment to working to meet quality benchmarks.
We have heard from partnerships across the Network that the quality benchmarks outlined along the path toward building a sustainable civic infrastructure provide a picture that is easy for cross-sector partners to understand. Luckily, most communities approach this work with some history of partnership and collaboration and, as a result, can identify existing assets in the community to aid in accomplishing these quality benchmarks much more expeditiously.
Communities who wish to join the Cradle to Career Network should begin by completing the Civic Infrastructure Assessment. To do so, please contact Bridget Jancarz at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information and instructions, including a link and password to access the Assessment online. Once complete, the StriveTogether team will contact you to discuss your responses and next steps.To fully join the Network communities will need to have achieved all of the quality benchmarks in the Exploring Gateway, signed a Commitment to Quality, and paid a membership fee.
For questions regarding the Civic Infrastructure Assessment, please see the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Jennifer Perkins, Impact & Improvement Associate Director at email@example.com or Bridget Jancarz, Impact & Improvement Associate at firstname.lastname@example.org.