The community of Summit County, Ohio, is committed to supporting youth and families to thrive. This commitment is led by Summit Education Initiative (SEI), a member of the Cradle to Career Network that recently reached a new milestone. SEI earned StriveTogether’s Proof Point designation, an advanced stage of progress measured along our guiding framework, the StriveTogether Theory of ActionTM. As we celebrate this achievement, here are a few insights from the community about what leads to success:
Measure what matters.
Data is a way of life in Summit County. Before SEI’s efforts, teachers and school staff didn’t have the data they needed to understand what a student’s current path could mean for their future. Committed to to turning data into information that school staff can act on, SEI developed an analysis model to predict student success in coming years. The models gave teachers context, purpose and focus, particularly around administering assessments in earlier grades. The districts led discussions around improved outcomes in untested grade levels and subjects and shared their enthusiasm with others across the county.
Use data to set goals and make decisions.
This predictive modeling built the momentum the community needed to establish countywide networks. These networks review data, set goals for improvement and identify strategies to reach those goals. The culture of data use has also changed how schools engage with families. In Akron Public Schools, every school has a data conversation night where students talk to parents about their progress. For example, sophomores share practice ACT® data with their families.
Try out new, focused strategies.
SEI helps schools quickly identify areas of concern and highlights equity issues that might be contributing to these challenges. With this information, school teams know which students need more support and can take action.
SEI also helps schools develop small-scale and long-term plans to improve student success. In the 2018-2019 school year, the leadership team at one school started weekly check-ins with all of the students in their target grade level who needed to raise grades and math scores. Each adult took responsibility for a group and met with those students individually. At the end of the second marking period, students were considerably better off than they were before the meetings began. This small test had a big impact: From 2018 to 2019, 5% more middle school students were reaching SEI’s measure of success.
As SEI continues to support partners to use data and try new strategies, we’re excited to see what’s next for Summit County. For more insights from successes across the country, check out our case studies featuring stories from the Cradle to Career Network.