StriveTogether is excited to congratulate Cradle to Career Network member Seeding Success in Shelby County, Tenn., for achieving the Network’s highest designation of proof point. Reaching proof point recognizes communitywide efforts to change systems and improve outcomes for children. Seeding Success has demonstrated a strong commitment to using data in decision-making, building the capabilities of its partners and supporting a culture of shared accountability.
Here are a few examples of how systems are changing in Shelby County:
Partners are aligned around a cradle-to-career vision.
Seeding Success was chosen to lead the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’s Beyond the Classroom initiative, supporting community organizations to improve practices and, ultimately, outcomes. Through this initiative, Seeding Success identified opportunities to build the capability and capacity of five organizations that support youth from kindergarten to high school graduation.
One of the five participating organizations, Porter-Leath, is an Early Head Start and Head Start provider that prepares preschool students for kindergarten. Through Beyond the Classroom, Porter-Leath adopted the data-driven culture of Seeding Success and has started using data more effectively. For example, the organization updated its process to ensure that teachers have student-level academic data 15 days after assessments. This update allows teachers to react more quickly to test results and better support students in reaching their goals.
The data-capability building Porter-Leath gained from Seeding Success has led to significant results. Over three and a half years, the percentage of students ready to learn in kindergarten has increased from 33 percent to 82 percent. The use of real-time data has become so fundamental to Porter-Leath’s practices that it has been embedded in their strategic plan, a direct result of the Beyond the Classroom initiative.
Partners have access to real-time, student-level data.
Seeding Success is the lead data expert in Shelby County, supporting a centralized database of student-level data that provides real-time academic data. Twenty-five partner organizations access the database daily to support 130,000 students in the community.
To gain access to the database, partners undergo a rigorous onboarding process and participate in monthly collaborative action network meetings and monthly data meetings. Partners also attend ongoing training focused on using student-level data for continuous improvement.
With access to this data, organizations and institutions in Shelby County have seen improvement in student achievement. Emmanuel Center’s summer literacy program recognized that regular attendance was critical for students to avoid losing skills over the summer. They accessed the Seeding Success database of student-level data to identify how to customize supports for students. These targeted supports led to student success, like one student who improved two reading levels over a seven-week period.
Partners use data to improve outcomes for students.
Partners in Shelby County adopt Seeding Success’s continuous improvement methods by using student-level and programmatic data. As a result, partners can measure their strategic and organizational impact, expand their efforts and share practices with other organizations to improve outcomes across the community.
Seeding Success supports partners to implement strategies to accelerate outcomes for students in Shelby County. By sharing academic, behavior and attendance data provided by Shelby County Schools, Seeding Success helps partners learn about the barriers students face in and out of school. Seeding Success has created an online toolkit for continuous quality improvement so that partners can access new tools and strategies to strengthen their work.
Porter-Leath used continuous improvement strategies to reach a population-level improvement. In 2017, students enrolled in Porter-Leath’s pre-kindergarten program outperformed their peers who had not been exposed to pre-kindergarten, performing 14 percent higher on the fall Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) Reading RIT. Gains in fall MAP scores were so significant that Porter-Leath’s students increased the overall level of kindergarten readiness in Shelby County.
Seeding Success has led partners in Shelby County to use data to make decisions and improve outcomes, and the entire community is stronger as a result. By collaborating with organizations that affect different aspects of a child’s life, Seeding Success is positioned to spread and grow the culture of continuous improvement throughout the community to ensure every child is successful, from cradle to career.