The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation (THI) sought support to implement its Community Engagement Initiative (CEI)-an effort with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to develop and implement new ways for public broadcasters to deepen their local significance and improve the civic health of communities.
Work on the CEI was centered on The Institute's belief that many Americans have retreated into their close-knit circles and are disconnected, but people are yearning to re-engage and become part of something larger. THI saw public broadcasters as among the last boundary-spanning organizations in communities with the standing to counteract these trends. The CEI sought to assist 12 public broadcasting stations in the journey from inward looking radio and television stations into public media organizations that are driven by community input and involvement.
Collaborative led the project management of the two-year long CEI and provided key substantive support. We:
Coordinated the project team, managed an online project space, and facilitated weekly check in meetings and regular, longer team planning meetings
Helped design and facilitate five convenings with public broadcasters, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and THI staff
Identified key turning points in the work and adjusted work plans to account for those findings
Helped create metrics for evaluating stations' impact
Coached six of the twelve stations, providing one-on-one support for the duration of the project to help participants change organizational practices
Documented the progress and needs of stations and the efficacy of the CEI model
As a result of the project team's efforts, The Harwood Institute completed the CEI with documentation and knowledge it could use to standardize its work in the future. Collaborative organized all documentation into a resource library and helped to create final reports and summaries of the CEI's impact on the 12 stations.
Ultimately, stations saw change as a result:
Communities have improved. New networks have grown, people are talking who had been at odds and individuals are connecting with community resources.
Programs are better. They are more relevant and more authentically reflect what is happening in the community.
Stations individually have turned outward and become more significant in their communities. A major funder told one station manager, "You've come a long way, baby," while a prominent community member said to another, "Thank you for caring about our community."
Stations as a group have changed how they work, aligned their efforts for impact and now have ways of measuring their results.
Fundraising is up, even during difficult financial times.
Collaborative supported The Harwood Institute's commitment to using video as a way of sharing knowledge, and regularly included videos in CEI participants' learning. View how participating stations changed their view of community and their role as a public broadcaster serving the community:
Seeing Others as a Resource. Kimberlie Kranich of WILL talks about the challenge of creating change, the need to ask for help and the power that comes from seeing other stations as a resource.
Better Programming Through Engagement. Kevin Crane of WNPT talks about being surprised about conversations that don't turn out the way he would have expected.
The Importance of Metrics. Mark Leonard from WILL talks about the importance of metrics in community engagement work.
Staying Focused When Your Cup Runneth Over. Amy Shaw of KETC talks about trying to move forward effectively at a time when opportunities abound.
The Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind sought to convene people across all sectors to discuss the urgency of education reform in America.
Collaborative was a key partner in the agenda development, writing and design of the program book, and in the research and writing of key background pieces. The Issue Brief, written by Collaborative, paints a vivid picture of the state of education in our nation today—and as the preeminent statement in the program book, it served as the framework for discussions throughout the day of the Summit. Additionally, Collaborative is playing a role in documenting what was discussed in the sessions to push forward ideas into action.
The firm supported the development of Aspen’s National Education Summit in September 2008. Attendees to the Summit included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Chairman and CEO of Accenture Bill Green, District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and New York City Public Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. Further, using its methods of synthesis and analysis, Collaborative will assist The Aspen Institute in ensuring that the momentum following the Summit turns into thoughtful and strategic action.
The C.S. Mott Foundation asked Collaborative to support the New Day for Learning communities. New Day for Learning is not a curriculum or one-size fits all program; it's a 21st century vision for learning that builds on a foundation of core academics by leveraging community resources to incorporate strategies such as hands-on learning, working in teams and problem solving. Many programs that take place before the school day, after school and during the summer are already using these innovative learning approaches to engage students and increase their chances for success. Collaborative supports the nine communities committed to implementing this vision.
Collaborative supported the creation of the Time, Learning and Afterschool Task Force which developed the New Day for Learning recommendations. These recommendations are aimed at accelerating the opportunity to utilize afterschool as a resource for rethinking time and learning, and restructuring the school day and year.
Collaborative produced the Task Force’s 2007 report, A New Day for Learning, including research, writing and design. Collaborative also produced an executive summary of the full report.
The Time, Learning, and Afterschool Task Force made headlines in the May 2, 2007 edition of Education Week. In a Commentary piece, Task Force members Milton Chen, Executive Director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, and Judith Johnson, Superintendent of Peekskill, New York public schools joined An-Me Chung, program officer at the C.S. Mott Foundation in an article discussing why an expanded view of the learning day is more urgent than ever. Read the Education Week Commentary piece, “A New Day for Learning: Expanding Our Notions of Time, Textbook, and Classroom.” Reprinted with permission.
The National Art Education Association teamed with Collaborative to coordinate and facilitate a summit of experts, practitioners, and decision makers in the art education field.
Collaborative facilitated a three-day summit of art educators and advocates at the Aspen Institute in Colorado in August 2008 convened by the National Art Education Association (NAEA). Collaborative partnered with NAEA on the agenda development, selected readings for the summit's resource book and facilitated all the sessions.
The summit was attended by leading visual artists, music advocates, policy-makers and experts in a range of academic subjects. They examined the importance of the visual arts to America. The group discussed visions for the future, values that guide the profession and strategies for making the general public appreciate all that the arts have to offer young people.
Collaborative teamed up with Massachusetts 2020 and the Massachusetts Department of Education to manage A New Day for Schools: The Expanded Learning Time Summit.
Collaborative oversaw the Expanded Learning Time Summit’s logistical needs and catering, disseminated invitations and a post-summit evaluation, coordinated the online and on-site registration processes, and managed the design process and agenda and materials development.
The one-day summit brought together principals, teachers and educators to join in conversations on the Expanded Learning Time (ELT) initiative. This meeting demonstrates Collaborative’s continued experience with developing and hosting meetings for educational endeavors across the country.
The San Francisco Education Fund (SFEF) asked Collaborative to develop a discussion guide for a parent engagement process on the issues of student enrollment, retention and recruitment.
Our team partnered with SFEF to write, edit, design and test the implementation of this guide, as well as analyze findings gathered from conversations that will help shape decisions about school consolidation and enrollment policies. This collaboration complements previous SFEF engagement tools and Collaborative’s tools for use in other communities to guide a 90–120 minute conversation about the issues most important in the San Francisco community.
This project continued with observation and documentation of meetings held in San Francisco. In total, conversations were held with over 900 parents and community members about what they want for and from the schools in the city. In partnership with the SFEF and the project team Collaborative assisted with the documentation of findings from the community and the production of a final report to the school board.
The knowledge gained from the report and process not only benefited the work of SFEF as an organization, but also contributed to the work of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). SFUSD looked to the community conversations that were part of the Student Enrollment, Recruitment and Retention Plan process for input to guide the development of the District Scorecard—its long range plan that reflects community aspirations to provide a high quality education and close achievement gaps among students.
The Public Education Network noted SFEF’s report and Collaborative’s role in its April 13, 2007 Network Weekly NewsBlast, sent to local education funds and individual subscribers throughout the country.