February Update on the All Hands Raised Partnership
Dear Friends –
We all share responsibility for the fact that not enough of our kids are making it to the finish line, and going on to pursue their dreams through post-secondary education and/or a career. At the same time, Multnomah County is making steady, measurable progress. In just one year, the six school districts in the All Hands Raised Partnership outperformed the state as a whole, collectively achieving a 2.4% increase in our four-year high school graduation rates as compared to statewide growth of 0.8%. Congratulations to the superintendents, principals, teachers, school staff, and families in Multnomah County.
Through the All Hands Raised Partnership we continue to come together and roll up our sleeves to do what is necessary to improve educational outcomes for our kids.
At the January Council meeting we welcomed Mayor Charlie Hales and Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill who transitioned into the seats held for those positions. We also welcomed Patrick Reiten of Pacific Power and Michael Alexander of the Urban League of Portland. This CEO-level leadership body remains engaged and active two years into the effort. Sustaining this cross-sector, influential Council is crucial as we continue to move forward; their engagement and their thinking makes all of the organizations involved in the day-to-day work stronger, more relevant, and more nimble.
At this meeting, Leadership from each of our four Collaboratives had the opportunity to provide a progress update and bring forward the tough questions currently facing the groups they convene, so that the emerging Action Plans achieve their intended goals. An overview of the status of each of the Collaboratives is attached.
The work of the Collaboratives has already strengthened as a direct result of the Council Meeting. One example includes Ninth Grade Counts, which is looking ahead to summer 2013 programming, and brought forward the tension between the Collaborative’s commitment to adopting more rigorous quality standards and the reality that all of the participating programs may not have the capacity to reach those standards. As a result of the Council conversation, the Collaborative is moving ahead with finalizing quality standards and identifying partnerships to help more members reach these standards.
Likewise, the Eliminating Disparities in Child and Youth Success Collaborative, which includes our six superintendents with leadership of local communities of color, moved the Council’s discussion into action when they met last week, particularly around endorsing the group’s focus on building each participating organization’s capacity to hold itself accountable for results. The Council’s feedback also led the Collaborative to more explicitly illustrate the ways that its systemic and policy-level work will result in specific outcome improvements for our kids.
We continue to be inspired by how the community is coming together, rooted in a disciplined continuous improvement process, to tackle the big issues that stand in the way of our young people’s success. We look forward to sharing our progress with the Governor and the Oregon Education Investment Board on February 12th.
Finally, I hope that you can support this work by attending the 18th Annual Portland Roast Festival on Thursday, February 21st at the Rose Garden Arena. Join us for a night that affords all of us the opportunity to be light-hearted and simply laugh. We are doing this tough work for the kids and we need to maintain balance. I hope to see many of you there.