Crisis Calls for Better Teacher Preparation, Technology in the Classroom
Crossing the Finish Line – Aligning Our Community to Support Kids from Cradle to Career
By Dan Ryan
In Portland and Multnomah County nearly half of our youth are failing to graduate from high school – a statistic that becomes even more shocking when broken down by race, ethnicity, and income. Furthermore, many of those who do make it to graduation are ill prepared to face the rigor of college or a career. This challenge is only one of the many indicators showing us that far too many of the youth in our community, from birth through career, are not achieving their full potential.
As I ruminate on the opportunities we are addressing for our kids, I reflect on how challenging my own life would have been had I not finished school, an achievement made possible thanks to the support of individuals beyond my parents. Countless mentors, teachers, coaches, and employers provided me with the functional adult structure I needed to achieve my potential – a web of support that all kids need and deserve.
We are lucky in this community – we have schools, teachers, administrators, counselors, non-profits, social services, and many others all delivering academic and social supports to the children and youth most in need. Too often, however, there is not a bridge between all of these supports to connect and entwine them in a way that strengthens the sum of the parts and there is not an agreed upon set of data that aligns and grounds the work. That is what the Cradle to Career Partnership does – in the simplest of terms it rallies the entire community around data rooted in the belief that all kids deserve academic rigor and support inside and outside of school to become healthy, independent adults.
Regardless of demographics, the investment we make in every child today ensures a brighter future for our entire region. Through the local Cradle to Career Partnership, our community is taking bold action to break down silos and create a system that supports all children and youth. Clearly, our current system is not working for nearly half of our kids. Today our community is uniting to be innovative, strategic, and driven by knowledge and data to create a better way. We are working to a build a new system that uses resources better and has us working together in strategic alignment for every student in Portland and Multnomah County.
The early investment in the Cradle to Career Partnership by six urban superintendents, elected officials, businesses, nonprofits, education and community leaders, including Concordia University’s President Schlimpert, and countless others provides hope. They have raised their hands to be committed for however long it takes to complete the hard work ahead. This social change we are engaged in will be difficult and yet, every child reminds us that it is worth the effort. Will you raise your hand and more importantly, will you keep it raised?
This story was originally published in the summer 2012 issue of the Concordia Connection
– Dan Ryan has served as CEO of All Hands Raised since 2008. Founded in 1995, All Hands Raised has a mission to champion education, equity, and excellence from cradle to career. To learn more visit www.allhandsraised.org< show all "Education News" articles