Striving for Student Success: A Model of Shared Accountability
Like any large city, Cincinnati faces challenges in educating youth living in poverty. When it was reported that the number of Ohio and Kentucky students attending college lagged far behind that in other states, organizers at the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the University of Cincinnati decided to increase Ohio and Kentucky’s post-secondary enrollment numbers. This brief by Education Sector describes that effort – namely the process of establishing and sustaining the Strive Partnership of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky.
The group’s “cradle-to-career” approach coordinates every service and form of support that children and adolescents need, at every stage of their education and development. The five-year-old organization partners with over 300 civic groups, colleges, public agencies, nonprofits and businesses, and holds each partner accountable for its piece of the puzzle. Strive is frequently cited as a model of how shared accountability can work.
The “Student Roadmap to Success” was developed after community discussions favored focusing on a student’s entire academic career rather than a single point of intervention:
1. Increase kindergarten readiness
2. Support students inside and outside of school
3. Provide academic help
4. Encourage students to graduate and enroll in college
5. Complete college well prepared to enter the workforce and succeed
The five goals are then broken into benchmark indicators which are then divided among the partners. Each provider is accountable for agreed upon indicators that are used in the annual “Striving Together” report card. That report is used to tailor interventions and program changes based upon new data gathered.
Strive has also partnered with Microsoft Corporation to develop software that would create a student profile from the data gathered, and follow the student from school to school. Once the software is available, relevant information would be available to the providers involved in the child’s life.
This report attributes Strive’s greatest success to the student learning centers in the lowest-performing and elementary school campuses that serve the neediest students. The learning centers connect students, their families, and neighborhood residents to health, educational, and cultural programs.
The Strive Partnership is already helping seven other communities replicate its model and has plans to create at least 25 “Cradle-to-Career Communities” by 2015. Communities in 28 states are interested in it as well.
Kelly Bathgate, Richard Lee Colvin, and Elena Silva
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