The first Results Report is out from the Seattle-area Road Map Project, and just last month, the region received a $40 million Race to the Top federal education grant for the great work being done in King County.
The Road Map Project is a collective impact initiative working to dramatically improve education in South Seattle and South King County. We know that many things impact student success and no one entity acting alone can do the entire job. That is why we are taking a collective impact approach to dramatically improving education from “cradle to college and career” in the high-need region of South King County and South Seattle.
The Results Report is the Road Map Project’s community accountability tool aimed at catalyzing action and improvement. In it, data are reported on 30 Indicators of Student Success, which are important measures related to student achievement, such as the percent of students proficient in 3rd grade reading or the percent of students who enroll in postsecondary education. Going forward, a Results Report will be issued annually and, next year, be accompanied by an awards program that will shine light on the region’s best results.
While it may be just a bit too soon to expect to see major progress from our collective efforts (the initiative just began in 2010), the data in the report do show some good examples of where the collective action approach has already made rapid progress.
The best example is our region’s efforts to sign up students for the Washington State College Bound Scholarship, which promises college tuition to low-income students who sign up in 7th or 8th grade and successfully graduate high school. Right now, nearly 15,000 Road Map Project region students from 9th to 12th grade have this opportunity.
The trend data captured in the Results Report show a mixed picture – there are some good gains in math proficiency but less positive news on 3rd grade reading. Also, almost 5,000 9th graders are triggering early warning indicators, which are signs that a student is at risk of dropping out.
It is not all bleak news. In every area, the report also shows “Bright Spots” – efforts where results are strong – and where gaps are closing.
For collective impact to work, we cannot be content with diffuse expressions of support or tepid alignment. We need people and partner organizations from many sectors to be "all in" and commit to doing whatever it takes to get to the goal. We need serious focus and to stick with it. We need to change course if the initial plans don’t work as expected. Organizations must align their work and push together toward the Road Map Project goal of doubling the number of students in South King County and South Seattle who are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020, and closing achievement gaps.
This annual community reflection about ongoing results helps keep us focused on the goal and helps renew commitment to action. This region’s children are waiting and expecting big things from us. We must not disappoint them.