Collaborative and Learning Networks

We do not provide “technical assistance” or “training” in the traditional sense of the terms. Our approach is to come to the table with our partners in a spirit of shared learning. This orientation creates a climate of openness, builds trust, and most importantly uncovers the inherent wisdom of the practitioners that are working every day on behalf of young people.

Our Learning Community work exists across three tiers:

  1. Forming and Supporting State Leadership Teams to Guide and Shape Vision and a Learning Agenda
  2. Forming and Supporting Local Leadership Teams to Build Regional Collaborations
  3. Convening Networks of Professionals Across Region and Systems

We work across each of these three tiers holding closely four core values:

  • Collective Responsibility. We are collectively responsible for ensuring system-involved youth have the opportunity and support needed for educational success. No one system alone can realize this vision. Success requires a dynamic collective approach to working on behalf of students. Child welfare, education, judiciary, and behavioral health agencies must work hand in hand, using data as a tool for inquiry and reflection, not finger pointing. Accountability drives compliance. Collective responsibility drives transformation.
  • Youth Centered. We strive to put the needs and voices of children and youth at the forefront of all decisions we make. Youth need to be at the table as partners in their educational trajectory and advisors to our system and policy work. Practices and policies must be informed by the perspectives of young people and should resonate positively with them.
  • Equity and Inclusion. Every young person deserves a high quality education. System-involved youth are especially vulnerable to being left behind within our education system. Young people of color experience compounding factors of inequity because they are over-represented in the child welfare system and systematically excluded from education.
  • Continual Learning. There is a significant gap between our current reality and the future we are working to realize. Ensuring that every child graduates with the widest array of possibilities requires a commitment to continuous improvement, using data effectively at a policy, program, and youth level, and maintaining a spirit of inquiry throughout all aspects of this work.

Through this community of learning, we create, adapt, and disseminate a wide range of tools for the purposes of sharing knowledge and supporting cross-system collaborations.