Communities throughout the country have seen individual programs, organizations and initiatives try to solve local social problems.
Working apart separately instead of together, these efforts traditionally fight for the same money and resources with mixed results. Despite occasional wins in individual classrooms or programs, systems change that is significant and lasting remains unachievable.
Urban school districts in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky were facing similar circumstances when StrivePartnership started as one of the first cradle-to-career communities in 2006. By bringing together local leaders to improve education in the region’s urban core, the partnership sought to increase student success in three public school districts. More than 300 cross-sector representatives joined in the effort, including school district superintendents, business and nonprofit leaders, city officials and university presidents.
StrivePartnership didn’t create a new program or raise more money. Instead, its stakeholders agreed on a common set of goals, outcomes and indicators. They analyzed and shared data to track progress. To coordinate practices and direct resources to what works for kids, they used continuous improvement, a methodology often used in engineering and health care. Now, 10 years later, StrivePartnership is the first partnership in StriveTogether’s national network to improve over 85 percent of key indicators of student success.
That is quality collective impact.