StriveTogether Model and Collective Impact

By following the StriveTogether model and taking a collective impact approach, we align the efforts of stakeholders, use data to inform our work, and implement and advocate for strategies that work to benefit children.

StriveTogether Model and Collective Impact

Stamford Cradle to Career follows the nationally recognized StriveTogether Model. This model guides us in planning a multi-year, multi-phase program to address the academic achievement gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers.

The model is the framework for helping ALL of Stamford’s children become productive, thriving adults. By following the model, we create a civic infrastructure that involves local stakeholders to support improved outcomes. This long-term solution aligns efforts, uses data to inform our decisions, and positions us to advocate for what works. The StriveTogether model allows us to work together to provide solutions to complex social issues, and create programs that help our children and youth succeed.

The model also helps Stamford Cradle to Career bring together community members to develop a culture of continuous academic improvement for greater collective impact. The initial two phases, which are underway, bring community stakeholders together to develop an action plan, and create an organizational framework. The remaining three phases will implement the plan determined by the community to target all children in Stamford, with the initial focus on Stamford schools with the highest rate of poverty.

Stamford Cradle to Career sets goals and objectives and monitors progress toward six outcomes along the cradle to career continuum. Those six outcomes are:

  • infant health and development
  • kindergarten readiness
  • early grade reading
  • transition to middle school
  • transition to high school
  • transition to postsecondary college and career

Progress is publicly available in an online Community Report.

Similar initiatives are taking place throughout Fairfield County, in Bridgeport and Norwalk specifically, as well as in Waterbury in New Haven County.

Conditions for Collective Impact

Stamford Cradle to Career is a cross-sector partnership committed to making a difference in the lives of our children and youth. Our goal is that all Stamford students are healthy and achieve educational success until they reach adulthood and enter the workforce. Through collective impact, we work in new ways to create large-scale change and lasting solutions for the challenges that face our community. These conditions for collective impact are the foundation for working in partnership:

  1. Common Agenda All partners commit to a shared vision for making change that includes common understanding of the problem and applies a joint approach to solutions through agreed upon, evidence-based activities.
  2. Shared MeasurementAll partners commit to measuring success by using data and evidence to create a consistent accountability system. Application of a continuous improvement process assures that high quality programs are scaled across the community’s neighborhoods.
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities All partners commit to developing a mutually reinforcing plan of action while applying strategies that may be differentiated.
  4. Continuous Communication and Inclusive Engagement All partners commit to frequent communications within and across organizations, to build trust and inform ongoing learning and adaptation of strategy. Genuine community engagement at all levels is crucial to the success of this work.
  5. Backbone OrganizationCreating and managing collective impact requires dedicated and sufficient backbone support. The organization helps facilitate and drive the process, but the community leads the decision making. Backbone support includes providing staff to facilitate, communicate, manage data support, and engage the community. United Way of Western Connecticut serves in this role for Stamford Cradle to Career.

Action Plans

To effectively measure and identify effective practices while aligning resources, we have designed and developed a detailed Action Plan process. The process and the related template were created in close partnership with Stamford Public Schools and the Superintendent’s team. This process is consistently followed by all CANs. Each CAN is at a different stage of action plan completion, depending on the complexity of its objectives and the available data.

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