There are four big, interrelated areas of work that we think—if done well—will propel the region to the 2020 goal. We believe regional collaboration will be amazingly powerful in delivering results for kids:
Alignment — Building strong strategic and operational alignment among those whose work can influence the goal. When many sectors of the community—education systems, funders, youth development organizations, libraries, health and housing agencies, and more—align their work to improve Indicators of Student Success, the additive impact will be unstoppable.
Parent & Community Engagement — Engaging and supporting parents in their role as their child’s first teacher, and strengthening the advocacy voice of parents and communities. Research points to the importance of the parent both as teacher and system navigator, and emphasizes the need for strong partnerships among parents, schools and community. The Road Map Project encourages and supports strong community advocacy for excellence and equity for all students.
Power of Data — Providing data to fuel continuous improvement and community advocacy. It is not enough just to have data—the power comes from using it to improve practice and policy. Building the region’s capacity to use data will strengthen and help improve results from cradle to college and career.
Stronger Systems — Building stronger systems across the whole cradle-to-college continuum. Often we see great work happening but the scale remains small. Systems must be built to help spread effective practices. In some cases, new collaborative infrastructure is required to handle a task that falls outside the responsibility of any one particular entity
The idea of collective action is pretty simple. No single program, organization or institution acting in isolation can bring about large-scale social change on their own. Community-level change requires the concerted efforts of the many players who can contribute to better system performance to band together around a common agenda. Collective action is a new way of working that allows individual efforts to add up to big change.
In 2010, FSG’s John Kania and Mark Kramer coined the term “collective impact” in their article by the same name, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. A collective impact effort involves many players, spans across jurisdictions and works toward a common goal with common ways to measure progress. This concept is fundamental to the Road Map Project.
Too often in education the work is done in disconnected silos. Early learning does not connect with the primary grades, nor do high schools align well with institutions of higher education. Community resources that are intended to help kids are often completely walled off from teachers and school leaders. Parents may or may not be engaged; the same is the case for many communities. So much power is wasted because there is no easy or organized way to work together. We have many high-quality programs and individual schools, but somehow they don’t add up to a highly effective cradle through college and career system. The result is that thousands of students are left behind and fall through the cracks.
The Road Map Project has created a common agenda and structures to support collective action. By acting together in new and powerful ways, we can have a tremendous collective impact on the future of the young people and communities of our region.