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Collective Impact and Student Improvement. | Joe Miller | TEDxDelmarLoopED

so I want to start by asking each of you
to close your eyes I want you to take a
deep breath in and then let it out I
want you to envision a world where all
high school students graduate college
and career-ready I want you to envision
a world where all students participate
in a positive way in their community
where all students give back to their
community where all students are taught
or coached by well trained adults where
all students are considered our greatest
asset not an ongoing liability where all
students thrive not just survive I want
you to open your eyes so that vision
contrasts with our society today where
there are profound disparities when you
look at our national high school
graduation rate the graduation rate in
high school for white students is 88%
for african-american students its 76% if
you’re african-american you’re five
times more likely to be incarcerated
than your white counterpart and if your
family income is in the top quartile you
have a 60% chance of graduating from
college if you’re in the bottom quarter
it’s only 14% we don’t always invest in
our adults and many of our systems
juvenile justice child welfare and even
education are often punitive in our
approach to young people so when I was
growing up there wasn’t I didn’t have
access to all this technology so my
brother Tim and
we made up a lot of games and we quickly
figured out we’re both very competitive
that it was best for us to play on the
same team against an imaginary opponent
and make up the rules so as you might
imagine we always want because the rules
were tilted in our favor what we didn’t
realize was that the rules would favour
us into adulthood as white young men who
came from middle class backgrounds we
had and still have an advantage when
compared to our african-american or
latino peers or those that come from
low-income backgrounds so I work for a
hundred and twenty year old non national
nonprofit that’s national in the areas
of Education juvenile justice child
welfare and adolescent health we’re
definitely moving those teens from at
risk to at promise and yet we realize
that programs alone aren’t enough so
what’s the answer so some people have
said it takes a village yes I agree it
definitely takes a village community
partnerships but here’s the challenge
after working for 23 years with school
leaders and government leaders I know it
doesn’t take just any kind of village so
it’s not rocket science but there is
discipline and focus so I want to tell
you about the five strategies in the
village I’m talking about so the first
strategy the solutions are based on the
needs so as a non-profit person I
understand how it works you come up with
an idea you go out there you convince
somebody to fund it you go back to the
school and you say hey here’s a great
idea let’s do it it’s free and they say
yes even if it’s not quite what they
need because it’s free so think of it
this way think of a store sale have you
ever gone to a store and bought
something you didn’t quite need
because it was 75% off because it was
two-for-one I know I have if we’re
really gonna target whole systems and
school districts we have to focus on the
real needs not the perceived needs of
the adults and what we can fund and make
it free strategy number two we have to
align and coordinate everything so
you’ve probably heard the saying the
right hand doesn’t know what the left
hand is doing so school districts are
complex systems the work is very
challenging it makes it extra tricky if
things aren’t coordinated if things are
redundant if things are contrary in
order to really transform a school
district and its students we have to
align and coordinate everything strategy
number three quality and accountability
always have to win the day so here’s the
deal we often mix up activity and impact
now I get it
it’s harder to measure how well versus
how much we measure how many students we
serve or how many hours we serve them
it’s more difficult to think about what
good did it do our village needs to
provide quality services that are
accountable to student needs and to
school goals we need to know that the
services are making an impact strategy
number four we take a school system wide
approach so what does that mean it means
we focus at the building level and at
the district level so if you ever heard
of a district initiative that didn’t
work why well one of the reasons is
principals are kings and queens of their
own domain we know that if a principal
doesn’t want something to happen
it won’t so if we’re going to think
about the greatest impact for students
we have to focus at the building level
and at the district level and finally
the fifth strategy we have to teach the
adults to fish so you’ve probably heard
of the saying about teaching folks to
fish and so I’ll just tell you in case
right so if I fish for you I can feed
you for a day if I teach you to fish I
can feed you for a lifetime so that
applies to our village in our village
our temptation is to take students out
of the village or to do it for the
village but we know that long-term
sustainable results comes from building
the capacity of those and the skills of
those within the school system within
the village we take a holistic approach
and focus on relationship so the
dysfunction of the adults is never good
for the kids we need to train and
support the staff to form positive
relationships with the students to take
them and create an environment that’s
safe that’s supportive that’s
interactive that’s engaging to take
students out of their comfort zone into
their challenge zone but not to their
panic zone and we know that
social-emotional learning is often a
hidden factor in academic achievement so
want to tell you a little story about
Normandy the school district of Normandy
where it has all the disparities income
race everything I’m going to tell you a
story about Shana so Shane is a sixth
grader at Normandy and she was having a
hard time at school she was having a
hard time concentrating in many days she
was going to school hungry she had
started to act out and even was hearing
voices in her head
Shana was what we called a frequent
flyer to the principal’s office
she probably missed one day a week of
school and she had already been
suspended three times in the first
semester the teachers that Shana had
were wondering sometimes out loud what’s
wrong with you
and so we took an approach where we
looked at the needs for Shana we
coordinated the services and we figured
out that group counseling wasn’t working
for Shana so we brought in individual
counseling we were able to get Shana up
to speed on her vaccinations at the
school-based health center and we gave
Shana and her mom a weekly bag of food
to address some of the issues we
provided support and training to Shana’s
teachers so that they would take the
framework of what’s wrong with you too
how can I help you so with those
supports Shana was doing much better in
school her grades got better her
attendance was better she didn’t get
suspended and Shana was even feeling
pretty good about the fact that if Shana
continues on and is a graduate of
Normandy high school she’d be part of
the class of 2024 Shana was beginning to
Shana enter piers improved and the
Normandy school system moved from
unaccredited to provisionally accredited
now this is really important for
Normandy and its team because Normandy
previously was what the lowest
performing School District in the whole
state of Missouri so I have a call to
action for you we need your voice and we
need your support in a place where
there’s so many inequities we need you
to go to funders to go to policy makers
and tell them about an approach like
this you are the village so I want to
ask you to close your eyes one more time
so in our village needs are met
solutions are based on needs in our
village we align and coordinate
everything in our village quality and
accountability always rule the day in
our village we take a school systems
wide approach and in our village we
teach the adults how to fish and in our
village all of the students thrive not
just survive thank you [Applause]
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