The Stamford Cradle to Career Initiative utilizes the nationally recognized StriveTogether model to plan a multi-year, multi-phase program to address the academic achievement gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers. The model is intended to help all of Stamford's children become productive, thriving adults. We are building a civic infrastructure that involves local stakeholders in the community to support improved Cradle to Career outcomes. This is a long-term solution that will help us connect and align efforts, use data to inform our decisions, and will ultimately position us to advocate for what works. We will work together to provide solutions to complex social issues, and create programs that help our children and youth succeed.
The Stamford Cradle to Career Initiative will bring together community members to develop a culture of continuous academic improvement for greater collective impact. The initial two phases, which are currently underway, bring community stakeholders together to develop an action plan, and create an organizational framework. The remaining three phases will implement the plan determined by the community to target all children in Stamford, with the initial focus on Stamford schools with the highest rate of poverty.
The Stamford Cradle to Career Initiative sets goals and objectives, and monitors progress toward six outcomes along the cradle to career continuum, including infant health and development; kindergarten readiness; early grade reading; transition to middle school; transition to high school; and transition to postsecondary college and career. Progress will be publicly available in an online Community Impact Report.
Similar initiatives are taking place throughout Fairfield County, in Bridgeport and Norwalk specifically, as well as in Waterbury in New Haven County.
Conditions for Collective Impact
Stamford Cradle to Career is a cross-sector partnership committed to making a difference in the lives of our youth, resulting in excellent health and educational success at each point of the developmental milestones until they reach adulthood and enter the workforce. It will work in new ways to achieve large scale change that creates lasting solutions for the challenges that face our community.
- Common Agenda
All partners commit to a shared vision for making change that includes common understanding of the problem and applies a joint approach to solution through agreed upon, evidence-based activities.
- Shared Measurement
All partners commit to measuring success by using data and evidence to create a consistent accountability system. Application of a continuous improvement process assures that high quality programs are scaled across the community’s neighborhoods.
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities
All partners commit to developing a mutually reinforcing plan of action while applying strategies that may be differentiated.
- Continuous Communication and Inclusive Engagement
All partners commit to frequent communications within and across organizations, to build trust and inform ongoing learning and adaptation of strategy. Genuine community engagement at all levels is crucial to the success of this work.
- Backbone Organization
Creating and managing collective impact requires dedicated and sufficient backbone support. The organization helps facilitate and drive the process, but the community leads the decision making. Backbone support includes providing staff to facilitate, communicate, manage data support and engage the community. United Way of Western Connecticut serves in this role for Stamford Cradle to Career.