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The Learning Network Joins
StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network

Kalamazoo County becomes one of more than 60 communities in national collective impact initiative

KALAMAZOO, Mich., April 6, 2015 – More than 60 community partnerships from 31 states and Washington, D.C., are working throughout the country to connect cross-sector leaders around a common vision: Improving educational outcomes for students.
 
And now, The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo is part of this nationwide movement connecting more than 9,150 organizations to impact more than 5.9 million students as a member of this StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network.
 
“We’re extremely excited to have StriveTogether as a partner as we work to transform the impact of education on our community and its citizens, from cradle to career,” says Kalamazoo County Sheriff Rick Fuller, a member of The Learning Network’s Leadership Council. “This relationship leverages the very best of our own local expertise and resources with the insights and best practices gleaned from other communities who have walked this path.”
 
The Learning Network was launched in 2011 to drive improved educational outcomes in Kalamazoo County. From the outset, The Learning Network leaders embraced the concept of Collective Impact. Collective Impact is an approach to solving complex social problems that taps varied social, public and private sectors to create a common agenda. It emphasizes measureable continuous improvement, and seeks to replicate best practices.
 
The Learning Network’s inclusion as part of the StriveTogether network extends its reach into the expertise and experiences of these other communities as it seeks to change the culture of Kalamazoo County from one that broadly supports education to a community that is actively engaged in driving improved educational outcomes for every citizen.
 
“This is an important distinction,” says Amy Slancik, Director of The Learning Network. “Individual success in some classrooms or some schools is not enough. Every child, every student, every adult needs an educational experience that will prepare them for success throughout their working lives. Their success hinges on it. Our future as a community depends upon it.”
 
As part of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, The Learning Network has access to resources and tools designed to help communities implement StriveTogether’s nationally recognized cradle to career collective impact approach, known as the Theory of Action. The Learning Network now also has a connection with communities across the country to share knowledge and learn from successes, failures and insights as each community works to align resources around improving education outcomes.
 
“Across the country, Network members are improving student-level outcomes through StriveTogether’s collective impact method,” StriveTogether Managing Director Jeff Edmondson said. “Each of these communities, and the Network as a whole, are committed to putting the child at the center of their work. We are excited to welcome The Learning Network to the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network.”
 
To join the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, The Learning Network met a set of quality benchmarks that indicate it has engaged a cross-sector group around a common education vision. The Learning Network also demonstrated its ability to support the creation of a sustainable infrastructure to drive change, and committed to being accountable for improving an identified set of academic outcomes.
 
For more information on The Learning Network, contact Amy Slancik, Director, at (269) 381-4116. For more information on the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, contact KnowledgeWorks’ PR Specialist Mary Kenkel at 513-929-1310.
 
About The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo

The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo brings community together to increase cradle-to-career educational success for everyone in Kalamazoo County. We track key education measures, facilitate action networks that drive educational readiness and adult learning, and rally resources and support for improved learning. | www.thelearningnetwork.org | twitter.com/thelngk | facebook.com/thelngk 

About StriveTogether
StriveTogether, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, works with communities nationwide to help them create a civic infrastructure that unites stakeholders around shared goals, measures and results in education, supporting the success of every child, cradle to career. Communities implementing the StriveTogether framework have seen dramatic improvements in kindergarten readiness, standardized test results and college retention. For more information about StriveTogether, visit www.strivetogether.org.