April 27, 2015

Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky: Needle-Moving Collaboratives Three-Year Follow-Up

The StrivePartnership community collaborative, located in Cincinnati, OH, and Covington, KY, uses data to help the stakeholders in its cradle-to-career partnership understand and use what's working to improve educational achievement.

"One of the evolutions is that we as community partners have been able to measure what matters and make improvements. This idea of data-driven decision making is taking hold."
Sandy Walker, President, Cincinnati YMCA

Focus areas: Academic success for students in Greater Cincinnati. Tracked metrics include high school graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment.

Founding date: 2006

Leadership (backbone): StrivePartnership

Results at time of 2012 study: From 2003 to 2011 high school graduation rates rose 10 percent in Cincinnati Public Schools; from 2004 to 2011 college enrollment increased by 16 percent in Covington, Kentucky.

Most recent results: From 2011 to 2014 high school graduation rates in Cincinnati Public Schools increased by 23 percent (from 60 percent to 74 percent); from 2011 to 2012 post-secondary enrollment in Covington, Kentucky, decreased 23 percent (declined from 65 percent to 50 percent).1

StrivePartnership's experience over the last three years: Though by no means the oldest of the collaboratives in our study, StrivePartnership of Cincinnati, and Covington and Newport, Kentucky, has been by far the most influential. It was the most visible example in our original report, 2012's Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives, and has served as the model for a national organization (StriveTogether) that is helping to bring together and support more than 60 partnerships in 31 states (including Thrive Chicago, another collaborative in our study).

One focus of StrivePartnership's efforts over the last three years has been the use of data to help the stakeholders in its cradle-to-career partnership understand and use what's working to improve educational achievement.

Cincinnati Public Schools joined with StrivePartnership to build the Learning Partner Dashboard. They worked with a volunteer from Microsoft to organize a virtual "Give Camp" where more than 20 software developers from across the country contributed to the dashboard. It is designed to share student-level academic and non-academic data across partners in a timely manner. The system supports educational leaders and youth-service professionals, empowering them to take action that impacts student performance and achievement, while looking at data to make informed decisions. In this way, the tool supports continuous improvement.

This focus on continuous improvement, in addition to the strong collaborative spirit embodied by the citizens and partnerships that have developed in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky metropolitan area, or Greater Cincinnati, has led the community to leverage the expertise of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, an international leader in improvement science. With these tools and processes in place, Cincinnati hopes to improve health and education outcomes for every child, every step of the way.

Sources Used For This Article:

1. In Covington, the population size of high school graduates is small (~150). As a result small changes in numbers of students can lead to volatility in percentage terms. Thus, the decrease from 2011 to 2012 should be taken in this context, and in fact, the enrollment rate in 2012 of 50% is a slight increase (1%).


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