This appendix provides some examples of tools and resources that may be useful for implementing collaborative systems change. These include tools for systems change as a process in general, as well as tools that are specific to systems change in care and education. Finally, some additional examples of existing illustrative initiatives using collaborative approaches at different levels and in different localities are provided as a complement to the examples found in Chapter 5’s discussion of continuity (see Boxes 5-1 and 5-2). The tools and resources do not represent a comprehensive review, and the committee did not draw conclusions to select best practices or endorse particular exemplars. They are included as a prompt to explore available options and resources that can assist in collaborative systems change efforts.
GENERAL TOOLS FOR COLLABORATIVE SYSTEMS CHANGE
- Collective Impact—Five core conditions of Collective Impact (Kania and Kramer, 2011).
- Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work—Detailed guidance on how to implement the principles of collective impact, using three successful initiatives as examples (Hanleybrown et al., 2012).
- Understanding the Value of Backbone Organizations in Collective Impact—Role of backbone organizations in supporting collective impact (Turner et al., 2012).
- Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity—How the rules of interaction defined in a collective impact process yield solutions to complex problems (Kania and Kramer, 2013).
Getting to Outcomes® Toolkit
Free how-to manuals developed for coalitions to work through 10 key steps for sustainable results, including process evaluation and outcome evaluation (RAND Corporation, 2015).
Evaluating Community Change: A Framework for Grantmakers
A framework of measures and potential indicators to help evaluate and ultimately improve complex, long-term, place-based initiatives that involve multiple partners joining together to tackle pressing community-wide issues (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, 2014).
Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact
This three-part guide offers detailed advice on how to plan for and implement effective performance measurement and evaluation activities in the context of collective impact and evaluating complex systems change (Preskill et al., 2014). Part Two includes four case studies and Part Three includes sample evaluation questions, samples outcomes, and more than 150 sample indicators of progress.
TOOLS FOR CARE AND EDUCATION SYSTEMS CHANGE
Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Prekindergarten-Third Grade Approaches
The Framework for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating PreK-3rd Grade Approaches was developed over a 2-year period, the process of which involved an extensive literature review, pilot testing, and peer review. This framework focuses on several important issues encountered by those who are developing a prekindergarten-third grade approach, including identifying components of a comprehensive approach, understanding what is meant by alignment and what needs to be aligned, and understanding what shared roles and responsibilities exist between the birth to 5 and K-3 sectors and what behaviors in adults benefit children. Users of this
framework include schools, district leaders, and early care and education programs (Kauerz and Coffman, 2013).
The report PK-3: What Is It and How Do We Know It Works? provides recommendations for state Departments of Education and local school boards and school districts to incorporate approaches to better align prekindergarten and early elementary schools in existing programs at relatively low cost. The report bases these recommendations on evidence from studies of the Carolina Abecedarian Project, the Chicago Child-Parent Center and Expansion Program, the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), and the National Head Start/Public School Early Childhood Transition Demonstration Project (Graves, 2006).
The BUILD Initiative, a foundation-funded multi-state effort to support comprehensive and coordinated early childhood programs, policies, and services, has several resources to inform efforts to improve early childhood systems (BUILD Initiative, 2015). Among these are BUILD’s Theory of Change, which helps describe and connect the diverse processes and actions that are needed to build an early childhood system (BUILD Initiative, 2005) and a framework for evaluating systems initiatives (Coffman, 2007).
The Early Childhood Higher Education Inventory
The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, created the Early Childhood Higher Education Inventory, which is a mechanism to help detail the landscape of care and education programs in higher education at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. This inventory describes program goals, content, and characteristics such as faculty composition and course and field-based learning requirements. Policy makers, institutions of higher education, and other stakeholders can use this inventory as a guide to help build a coordinated and comprehensive preparation and professional learning system by assessing the landscape, identifying gaps, and recognizing opportunities for improvement (Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, 2015a).
In 2013, the Center released an inventory of higher education in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Each inventory lists the higher education programs available in each state and their goals, services and supports available to teacher candidates, and characteristics of courses, fieldwork experiences, and professional development opportunities. They also provide recommendations for improving higher education systems for educators of young children (Austin et al., 2013; Kipnis et al., 2013a,b).
Supportive Environmental Quality Underlying Adult Learning (SEQUAL)
The SEQUAL tool assesses the policies and practices in the workplace that support the professional learning of educators. It is administered to educators directly to evaluate five areas: teaching supports, learning community, job crafting, adult well-being, and program leadership (Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, 2015b).
Guidebook for Community Schools
Community schools, a research-based strategy of promoting student achievement through the collaboration of communities and their resources, consists of high-quality instructional programs and practices, an enriching learning environment for students and families, and health services that foster student well-being. Community schools provide smooth transitions between early childhood and elementary settings due to co-location of programs; encourage out-of-school experiences with children and families; and address both academic and nonacademic needs for students, such as social, emotional, and physical health. Partnerships are essential to the community school strategy, and involve school leadership and faculty, parents, and organizations and leaders within the community. Additionally, the role of site coordinator is crucial to the effectiveness of the community school. They coordinate planning, manage partnerships and resources, and facilitate recruitment. The National Center for Community Schools created a guidebook which provides a framework for the community school model accompanied by case studies. It also includes tools and guides for lead partners and site coordinators as well as resources on theory of change and stages of developing a community school (Lubell, 2011). In addition, examples and key features of community school models in Cincinnati, Ohio; Evansville, Indiana; Multnomah County, Oregon; and Tulsa, Oklahoma, can be found in a 2012 report by the Coalition for Community Schools (Jacobson et al., 2012).
Aligning Policies for Childcare
The report Confronting the Child Care Eligibility Maze, from the Work Support Strategies initiative, provides a framework for simplifying and aligning childcare subsidy policies and supports and facilitating access to other benefits. The report offers policy strategies, with examples from existing state efforts, to minimize burdensome administrative processes, improve service delivery, and address challenges to families in accessing and maintaining benefits (Adams and Matthews, 2013).
Transitioning to Kindergarten: A Toolkit for Early Childhood Educators
The National Center for Learning Disabilities and the America Federation of Teachers created a toolkit for school administrators, early childhood professionals, childcare providers and kindergarten teachers that provides materials to help children transition into kindergarten (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2006).
EXAMPLES OF COLLABORATIVE SYSTEMS CHANGE EFFORTS1
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is an effort to ensure that more children “succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.” The benchmark used as a predictor for graduation is grade-level reading by the end of the third grade, as this prepares students for the more advanced and complex work they will encounter in the later elementary grades. This program is an effort to provide support in particular to low-income students who are currently not reading at grade level.
The Campaign recognizes that ensuring children’s success is a collaborative effort, and brings together partners from various sectors, including foundations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies, and states and local communities. Alongside addressing the reading gap, the Campaign also focuses on issues of chronic absence and the loss of reading over the summer months. They also promote core strategies to encourage parent engagement in schools; the physical, social and emotional, cognitive, and verbal development of young children; and collaboration with state advocacy networks (The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, 2015).
Transforming Early Childhood Community Systems
The Center for Healthier Children, Families, & Communities, a community-based research, policy, and training center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the United Way Worldwide partnered to establish the Transforming Early Childhood Community Systems Initiative. This initiative uses a community engagement tool to map school readiness of young children, specifically assessing children’s physical health, socioemotional competence and maturity, language, cognitive development, and communication skills. Data collected by kindergarten teachers are collected along with available health, economic, and resource availability data. With
1 Additional examples can be found as part of the discussion of continuity in Chapter 5 (see Boxes 5-1 and 5-2).
the resulting neighborhood-level data and mapping results, the Initiative helps communities assess needs in a highly localized way and take action to improve outcomes for young children. This is accompanied by regular monitoring and reassessment to identify challenges that emerge, promote accountability, and continuously guide local strategic planning, resource allocation, and systems improvement efforts. Participating communities form part of a network that offers mechanisms to share effective approaches. This Initiative also assists with establishing or improving local coalitions. Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Initiative has spread to more than 30 participating communities (Center for Healther Children Families & Communities, n.d.).
Cincinnati Strive Together
StriveTogether is a cradle-to-career effort to improve student outcomes that is strengthened by four pillars: a shared vision among community members; evidence-based decision making; collaborative action; and sustainability. The first cradle-to-career networks brought together representatives from across sectors: school leadership, nonprofit practitioners, community and business leaders, and university presidents. Together, these networks collaborated to create a set of indicators and benchmarks, or a roadmap to success, across the age continuum. As a part of StriveTogether, community networks provide a community report card, which tracks student- and community-level outcomes. Currently, 55 community networks across 28 states share the commitment of ensuring opportunities for academic achievement and lifelong success (StriveTogether, 2014).
StrivePartnership, the first cradle-to-career network, is implemented in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Newport and Covington, Kentucky. It has identified eight benchmarks for students to achieve between birth through college (StrivePartnership, 2015c). Three initiatives have been implemented which help to achieve these goals: quality continuous improvement; the Talent Pipeline Initiative; and the Read On! Venture Fund (StrivePartnership, 2015a). StrivePartnership recognizes the strength of community improvement, and builds upon strategies, infrastructures, and resources used by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in health care improvement. The Talent Pipeline Initiative establishes relationships between students and employers in order to provide students starting in grade 4 with enriching career-based experiences. Finally, Read On! is an initiative with the goal of ensuring that every third grader is reading at grade level by 2020. More than 70 partners are engaged in this campaign, which is based around six evidence-based strategies. StrivePartnership, as a guiding principle, measures its achievements by assessing progress based on a num-
ber of different outcomes and reviewing how funding aligns with action (StrivePartnership, 2015b).
First 5 California
First 5 California, adopted by California voters through Proposition 10 in 1998, recognizes that children’s health and education in the early years are a priority, especially during the first 5 years and prenatally. First 5 California, in collaboration with its partners and through local First 5 county commissions, includes comprehensive programs focused on the child, parent, and teachers with the aim of achieving optimal childhood outcomes. Focus areas include health, nutrition, language and literacy development, childcare, and smoking cessation. Additionally, efforts to build public engagement, increase investment, and influence policy change are intended to help to develop a sustainable and effective early childhood system (First 5 California, 2010).
Early Head Start Partnerships
Early Head Start–Child Care Partnerships are formally arranged collaborations between Early Head Start programs and providers at childcare centers or family childcare homes (providers must meet standards set by Head Start). This partnership program is funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and is part of President Obama’s Early Learning Initiative. These partnerships are an effort to expand high-quality early learning experiences to infants and toddlers from low-income families, as well as support working families by providing full-day care for children. These programs provide services for education and child development, health and mental health, nutrition, community partnerships, family and parent involvement, and disabilities (HHS and ACF, 2014).
Professional learning resources for educators that complement such efforts are also available through the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, covering topics such as effective practice; practice-based coaching; working with students with disabilities; transitions to kindergarten, and teacher development (HHS and Office of Head Start, 2015).
Gateways to Opportunity: Illinois Professional Development System
Gateways to Opportunity, developed by the Professional Development Advisory Council in Illinois, is a statewide, integrated professional learning system that provides support, guidance, and information to professionals in the early care and education field. This online system provides access to resources and information regarding credentialing, professional learning,
training, career guidance, and scholarships. The purpose of this system is to promote professionalism among those in the early care and education field, as well as to provide affordable and accessible opportunities for additional education and training (Gateways to Opportunity, n.d.).
Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, and Families: United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona
Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, and Families, funded by First Things First and United Way, is a professional learning system that seeks to improve the knowledge and competencies of those working in early childhood care and education. Ten learning communities were established that focus on specific areas related to developmentally appropriate practices, early childhood degree completion, instructional support, and the quality of early childhood settings, among others. The aim of Great Expectations is to achieve a prepared workforce by building pathways to higher education, and ensuring high-quality experiences for young children (United Way, 2015).
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