The last time we referred to “collaboration” in education, we were talking about labor-management relations. This week, however, it takes on a new meaning as Providence, RI, receives an award from the White House for its collaboration among private, nonprofit, and public leaders through Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform. This group constitutes Mayor Angel Taveras’ Children and Youth Cabinet. The group was one of 31 organizations nationwide that received recognition for the Together for Tomorrow Challenge, which looked for groups doing exemplary jobs of creating partnerships to support struggling schools.
Specifically, the Cabinet won the award for its work with the Providence Public School District’s Innovation Zone Initiative to improve attendance, college access, behavior, and coursework among three of the lowest-performing schools. Later this month, the group will release a report with plans to measure progress at these schools.
Among other winners of this challenge was the Red Clay Partnership Zone in Wilmington, DE, where input was used from a variety of stakeholder meetings—including school staff, school leaders, district leaders, parents, outside experts, and community members—over five months to develop a turnaround plan.
Perhaps the promise of such national recognition will provide incentives for other cities to bring together their own education stakeholders to continue thinking “outside the box” to improve educational opportunities in their districts. Important to note, as well, that both of these winners were aligned to Mass Insight Education’s theories of school turnaround, such as implementing a Partnership Zone.
Disclaimer: The STG has been working with the Providence Public School District since summer 2011, and has also collaborated with the Red Clay School District.