Community Engagement Update DEC 2016

It’s hard to believe that the Community Briefing and Report Out was over a month and a half ago and now the holidays are upon us. 
On November 1st, we had our Community Briefing and Report Out and hope you were one of the many that were able to join us at the event. It took place at the KI Convention Center with about 125 in attendance. 
The presentation began with our Board President, Tim Weyenberg, who gave us an update on the BMO Harris grant and changes to membership on our growing Community Leadership Council. The Champions of each of the Outcome Teams, Nancy Armbrust, Brenda Warren, and Gary Lofquist,  gave an update on what their teams have accomplished to date and what they are passing on to the Action Teams. A very deserved thank you was given to the three Outcome Teams for all the effort they’ve put into the research and recommendations that will be passed on to the Action Teams. We also received an update on the formation of the Action Teams from Cristin Sullivan-Metzler and the recently updated Community Dashboard from Mary Klos. (You can find the updated data on our website then click on Dashboard.) The presentation was concluded by Adam Hardy giving us a look at what we’ve accomplished to date and a forward look to this next year. 
The presentation received many positive comments. Attendees said that it was informative and provided a better understanding of how far we’ve come since the inception of Achieve Brown County. We look forward to what we will be reporting at the next community briefing and are excited at the potential of what 2017 holds for us.

New staff added to the ABC Team

In just a few months the staff at ABC has increased from 4 to 11. Thanks to a grant from the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) program, we’ve been able to bring on four Continuous Improvement Coordinators and two new Researchers to support this complex and exciting work. In addition, our partnership with Brown County United Way has allowed us to support a shared Community Information System manager as we continue to build our civic infrastructure to translate data into informed action. Christine Gill, Community Information System manager,  joined us in June as a shared employee with Brown County United Way.  The first 5 AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) Members joined us this month, with another to follow in August.


Click here to find out more about the whole ABC staff.


Community Engagement Update SEP 2017

We’ve had a lot of activity in the organization these past few months. In addition to the new staff, we were able to see things come to fruition that we’ve been working on for more than a year, such as the Districts of Innovation. In the next couple of months we have a few events planned such as Read Like a Champion initiative launch and our annual Community Briefing. 
In partnership with the Green Bay Packers and Mike and Jessica McCarthy, ABC facilitated the Read Like a Champion initiative, which leverages the passion of Packers fans – little and big – to inspire a lifelong love of reading. Using local experts to drive content, the initiative helps parents to better engage children in developmentally appropriate ways around reading and literacy. We will be launching this initiative in October 2017. Look for more information closer to that time.

Districts of innovation – Removing Barriers

Working with system partners and state legislators, we and partners from local school districts identified outdated policy and statutory requirements for K-12 districts as a substantial barrier to the innovation and improvement that the Achieve model was founded on. Working closely with our business partners, policy makers, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, we were able to facilitate a new method for granting waivers from unnecessary statutes. This new and novel approach, dubbed the Wisconsin Districts of Innovation, was unveiled jointly by the Department of Public Instruction and Achieve Brown County at Foth in Ledgeview this month.



Brown County FAFSA Completion Sees Increase

2017 has seen FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion rates increase dramatically in both Brown County and the nation at large. Rates for the first 6 weeks of 2017 each showed an increase of at least 30% in our area. Further, each week data is available we saw an increase of at least 10%. Two changes in policy, the result of a 2015 executive order, likely account for this.
First, students can now complete the FAFSA earlier, starting on October 1st. Secondly, previous year tax data can now be used to complete the form. This means it is no longer necessary to estimate what tax data would be on the prior year’s returns. For example, a student who filled out the form this year could use tax filings from 2015 as opposed to estimating what would be on their family’s 2016 taxes. 
The below chart shows the overall Brown County FAFSA completion rate. 
Click here to see completion rates for individual Brown County high schools. (Under Construction)