Theory of Action - System Change

System Change-Box Data: 
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The Partnership evolves through transitions of leadership and needed capacity, and demonstrates shared accountability for impacting community level outcomes/indicators. Attribution of success and recognition  of challenges is communicated effectively.

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Quality Benchmark:
The Partnership evolves through transitions of leadership and needed capacity, and demonstrates shared accountability for impacting community level outcomes/indicators. Attribution of success and recognition  of challenges is communicated effectively.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: Bridging Richmond
 
After multiple transitions in leadership, including the retirement of its founder and a change in the Executive Director among others, there was broad agreement that the partnership needed to “reset” in order to establish a clear vision, mission, and purpose. While searching for a new Executive Director, a widely-respected local consultant was hired to interview partners about what they needed to see in the new strategic direction. The report proved invaluable for defining the role the partnership needed to play and identifying the leader who would carry out the new direction. The first act of the new Executive Director was to visit one-on-one with each partner to help translate the findings of the report into a cohesive action plan. The result is a new plan with renewed commitment that has galvanized regional leaders to use local data effectively to design comprehensive and collaborative action plans around a few community-level indicators, as well as align their efforts with the local Promise Neighborhood effort to act as a comprehensive cradle-to-career proof point.
 
Key Questions for Your Partnership:
  • What leadership transitions has the Partnership encountered?
  • How has the Partnership evolved to manage these transitions?
  • What needed capacity has emerged?
  • How has the partnership changed as needs have emerged?
  • In what ways is the Partnership demonstrating shared accountability for impact on the outcomes/indicators (e.g. poor result on scorecard is not blamed on individual partner)?
  • How are partners recognized for their contributions to the Partnership and improving outcomes/indicators?
  • How are challenges within the Partnership recognized and managed?

 

 

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The Partnership annually releases a report card on community level outcomes/indicators, disaggregated by sub-populations and continuously refines community level outcomes and indicators to improve accuracy & validity.

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Quality Benchmark:
The Partnership annually releases a report card on community level outcomes/indicators, disaggregated by sub-populations and continuously refines community level outcomes and indicators to improve accuracy & validity.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: The Roadmap Project
 
The Road Map Project has released annual report cards, each outlining the most recent data on the partnership's Indicators of Student Success and showing trends and results relative to baselines and targets. The release of the Road Map Project’s Baseline Report in 2011 and the first Results Report in 2012 breaks down the data for each indicator and reports disaggregated information for each of the project’s key sub-populations. These reports also feature Bright Spots – examples of great work impacting student success indicators.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: The Strive partnership
 
The Strive Partnership released its first report card in 2008 with the intention of providing a catalyst for discussion in the community about the current state of education. The report highlights trends on key community-level outcome indicators across three cities, five school districts, and multiple post-secondary partners. One of the first efforts the Partnership undertook was developing the criteria for selecting these indicators. Since the original list of potential measures was over 75, these criteria were essential to help us determine which indicators to include. The 2008 report card included 10 key indicators, which have since been refined down to 8. The Partnership has also since added trend information, targets, and more information around the unique strategies that are aiming to impact the ultimate outcomes.
 
Key Questions for Your Partnership:
  • How frequently has the Partnership issued a report on community level outcomes/indicators?
  • What indicators have been refined/removed/added to improve accuracy and validity?

 

 

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The Partnership puts in place a comprehensive data system that enables the collection, connection, storage and analysis of local data for continuous improvement.

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Quality Benchmark:
The Partnership puts in place a comprehensive data system that enables the collection, connection, storage and analysis of local data for continuous improvement.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: The Strive Partnership
 
While the Strive Partnership was working with a number of networks on collaborative action planning and continuous improvement, consistent barriers around data collection and access surfaced. The Partnership worked closely with Cincinnati Public Schools, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and others to develop a student-level data management system called the Learning Partner Dashboard (LPD). This tool aims to ensure that more comprehensive student-level data is available to determine what is working and where to invest resources. Academic and nonacademic student support data is incorporated in one web-based system so that a comprehensive picture of student learning will be available to all stakeholders. With data available by student, school, district, program, and service, LPD supports the practice of continuous improvement as well as evaluation and research.
 
Key Questions for Your Partnership:
  • What comprehensive data system does the Partnership use that enables the collection, connection, storage and analysis of local data?
  • In what ways has the data system enabled partners to use data for continuous improvement?

 

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The Partnership continues to form new or engage existing networks around priority outcomes/indicators.

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Quality Benchmark:
The Partnership continues to form new or engage existing networks around priority outcomes/indicators.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: The Strive Partnership
 
The Strive Partnership has been working with collaboratives (collaborative action networks) since 2006 to use data to improve student outcomes.   Through a recent evaluation of local data from early child hood programs and national research by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Partnership discovered a need to convene more collaboratives that were working to impact early grade reading, one of the priority outcome areas for the Partnership.  The Partnership identified and convened the appropriate people to work on three new collaboratives focused on improving attendance, summer learning, and community will, all with the ultimate intention of improving 4th grade reading scores.  To become even more intentional about the process of convening new, or realigning existing collaboratives, the Strive Partnership has engaged in a strategic planning process to identify research-based indicators of impact for each of the Partnership’s eight community level outcomes.  The Partnership will work intentionally to identify where more support is needed along the continuum and convene new or align existing collaboratives to work on these indicators of impact and ultimately improve one of the Partnership’s community level outcomes.
 
Key Questions for Your Partnership:
  • What additional new or existing networks have formed around the Partnership’s priority outcomes/indicators?

 

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Collaborative Action Networks are supported by the Partnership to use a continuous improvement process to regularly update charters and action plans.

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Quality Benchmark:
Collaborative Action Networks are supported by the Partnership to use a continuous improvement process to regularly update charters and action plans.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: All Hands Raised
 
When Portland partners reviewed the initial baseline data on the outcomes the partnership agreed to embrace, they identified ninth grade as a crucial transition point where many students disconnect from school – in fact they demonstrated that Portland students who fall behind on credit are more than four times more likely to drop out of school.  As a result, the partnership staff stepped forward to nurture the development of Ninth Grade Counts, a network of providers including the school district and summertime non-profit programs, to develop a comprehensive strategy for bridging the gap between middle and high school. Lacking relevant program data when they initially started their work, they took on two strategies: they developed a plan for collecting consistent data across partners on an ongoing basis, and they agreed on a more cohesive strategy to make sure every student that needed summer learning opportunities had direct access. New data collected was able to identify programs that were getting the greatest outcome gains among the targeted groups of students. Partners used this local data, matched with national research on summer learning, and developed a set of Quality Standards which all programs agree to implement, including specific common programmatic elements. Consistent with the concept of continuous improvement, programs across the Ninth Grade Counts network adopted have adopted this more rigorous set of practices and will monitor results and update their action plan to expand the practices that get the strongest results.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: The Strive Partnership
 
The Strive Partnership first convened collaboratives (collaborative action networks) in 2006 and has been working in more recent years to become more intentional about the support they provide to these groups as well as develop a purposeful process for convening additional appropriate collaboratives.  In 2011, the Strive Partnership used a Request for Support (RFS) to be more focused in the types of support provided to collaboratives.  The RFS outlined three areas in which the partnership could provide assistance: facilitation/coaching, data analysis, and communications/ grant writing.  This RFS was sent to all the existing collaboratives that the partnership had supported and each one responded with their groups’ needs outlined.  The partnership then deployed resources in the form of hired consultants or staff to fulfill the needs of the collaboratives.
 
Key Questions for Your Partnership:
  • What supports have been provided by the Partnership to Collaborative Action Networks to use a continuous improvement process?
  • How have the networks charters and action plans evolved to ensure they are sustaining their improvements in their community level outcomes?

 

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The Partnership engages in continual alignment of community and financial resources around the improvement of community level outcomes/indicators and influences necessary policies to enable and sustain that improvement.

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Quality Benchmark:
The Partnership engages in continual alignment of community and financial resources around the improvement of community level outcomes/indicators and influences necessary policies to enable and sustain that improvement.
 
Partnership that Exemplifies Quality Benchmark: Promise Partnerships of United Way of Salt Lake
 
With the isolated, programmatic funding model not achieving the population-level impact so desired, United Way of Salt Lake, the anchor entity for eight Promise Partnerships in the metropolitan Salt Lake area, worked tirelessly with its board and donors to agree on a strategy that would enable a shift in funding focus to support specific neighborhoods where data demonstrated that education gaps were most significant. With leadership and support from United Way of Salt Lake, partners work collaboratively to set goals for their community, share and track data and results, and align programs and resources to support improvement in the areas that need it most.
 
Key Questions for Your Partnership:
  • How has the Partnership continually aligned stakeholders and the broader community to support the improvement of community level outcomes?
  • How has the Partnership aligned financial resources to support the improvement of community level outcomes/indicators?
  • What policies has the Partnership been able to influence that have enabled and sustained improvement in community level outcomes/indicators?

 

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PROOF POINT: 60% of Indicators Trending in the Right Direction

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