Moving Children Forward Through Partnership

Article by Jared Boon

Wisconsin StriveTogether Partnership

One of the ways to bolster community success is to be aware of the needs of youth in the community. With this awareness we can remove barriers and put in place supports. To help achieve this vision, the four StriveTogether Organizations in Wisconsin (Achieve Brown County in Green Bay, Building our Future in Kenosha, Higher Expectations for Racine County, and Milwaukee Succeeds) formed a partnership to drive change at the community- and state-level through policy work driven by data and research.

Efforts to Improve Outcomes for Children

Each of the involved organizations are initiatives in their individual communities to improve conditions for youth. Higher Expectations in Racine County has done work to pilot full-day 4K for low-income students and is creating a collaborative effort among the local schools to improve third grade literacy.

Achieve Brown County and Building our Future in Kenosha are working collaboratively with local health systems and government programs to create standardized child wellness checks in their communities.The purpose of this initiative is to address any issue of children with a development delay not being screened or identified before beginning schooling and receiving treatment for the delay to set them up for success in school.

Also, Milwaukee Succeeds has worked to improve the quality of childcare for all families, while also decreasing the disparities among demographic groups, by creating the Quality Early Care & Education Network. The network has helped strengthen the connection between the community and schools to improve supports and resources for schools, families, children and the community overall.

All this work is improving individual communities, but there is still a need to identify and remedy barriers at the state level. This is where the Wisconsin StriveTogether Partnership comes in.

Addressing Policy Barriers Together

The primary focus of the Wisconsin StriveTogether Partnership will be to secure policy change that will increase access to high-quality early childhood education and supports.

The reasoning behind this is the identification of concerns through research in the early childhood space, which is an area in need of improvement in Wisconsin. As seen in the image below, a large percentage of Wisconsin children enroll in some form of pre-kindergarten programming. Even though enrollment in programming is not a concern, there is still a need to address the topic of accessibility (primarily for 3K) and funding for high-quality programs.

Alleviating these concerns within individual communities is creating significant change, but doing so at the state-level will create an even broader impact.

Learn More About Wisconsin StriveTogether Organizations

Members from each of the organizations are excited to see the success that will come from this partnership. By addressing these barriers together, we will be able to help move our state forward!

 

Learn more about Achieve Brown County’s partner organizations from the Wisconsin StriveTogether Partnership below:

https://www.buildingourfuturekc.org/

https://www.higherexpectationsracinecounty.org/

http://milwaukeesucceeds.org/

 

Another article that is covering the Wisconsin StriveTogether Partnership:

https://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2018/08/25/wisconsin-partnerships-will-be-focusing-on-education/

Updated Community Outcomes Dashboard

Updated Community Outcomes Dashboard Shows
Brown County Youth Improve in Areas Related to Future Success

Five-year collaborative effort positively affecting young people from “cradle to career”

 

Results of a five-year effort involving dozens of Brown County organizations show significant improvements in five areas deemed to have critical impact on the future success of area young people.

 

“These results affirm what we hoped when we started this effort in 2014,” said Mark Kaiser, President/CEO of Lindquist Machine Corporation and chair of Achieve Brown County’s Community Leadership Council. “The schools, health care systems, youth-service providers and other community organizations that have come together to focus on these outcomes are seeing the fruits of their labor. This is very encouraging for those of us involved with Achieve and for the future of these students.”

 

There are about 80,000 young people under the age of 25 in Brown County. Achieve Brown County’s 2018 Outcomes Dashboard, which reflects information available on more than 90 percent of them at important milestones in their lives, reveals the following: 

 

  1. 83% of 5-year-olds entering public and private schools met the benchmark for literacy, an indicator of readiness for Kindergarten. This is up one point from the 2017 study.
  2. 91% of students who entered high school four years ago completed their education and graduated. This is up one point from the 2017 study.
  3. 61% of students continue their education after high school or enter military service. This is up three points from the 2017 study.
  4. 45% of young adults complete college within six years or less. This is up 5 points from the 2017 study.
  5. 41% of 22- to 24-year-olds working in Brown County earn at least $26,128 annually (200% of federal poverty level), an indication that wages are improving. This is up 1 point from the 2017 study.

 

“Although improvements within each area may seem small,” said Kaiser, “hundreds of young people have shown measurable gains compared to last year at these specific milestones. This indicates improvement for all kids within every age group, which is our goal. We’re on the right path.”

 

While Achieve Brown County has played a supportive role in stewarding the collective impact model behind this effort, it is the community organizations themselves that have done “the heavy lifting,” according to Spencer Bonnie, Interim Executive Director.

 

“When you look everything that has been accomplished over the past five years, it’s clear that our community partners are driving the impacts we see in the data,” said Bonnie. “We facilitate the processes that bring everyone together to create a shared vision for impact, collect and analyze the data, and then develop collaborative solutions that make the biggest difference in the lives of young people. But our partners implement those solutions, and it’s ultimately their actions that produce the results.”

 

Achieve and its community partners, through their ongoing collaborative efforts, are continuing to focus on affecting positive change in each of these five outcome areas, as well as a sixth: engaging children, youth and young adults as community volunteers.

 

Data for this report were drawn from several sources. These included: Brown County Schools, Green Bay Area Catholic Education Network, Oneida Tribal Schools, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, U.S. Department of Education, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and the National Student Clearinghouse. The full dashboard and underlying data are online on our website.