Newsletter | November 2018

Small Efforts Leading to Systems Change

To date, ACYI's Post-Secondary Success CAN has been focused on smaller efforts related to summer melt, which is defined as - the phenomenon in which incoming college students who have committed to attend a college/university decide during the summer to change their minds and attend another institution or to not attend at all.
Key Insight from  Becky Hoffman,  ACYI CEO

While work thus far has been helpful in reaching short-term targets, such as getting 100 more students to enroll in a post-secondary program, data from TEGA (Technology Enabled Girl Ambassador) research for the Post-Secondary Success CAN validates that we need to dig a bit deeper to get a clearer picture of unknown barriers.

Through TEGA research, young people and their families have detailed that the complexity of the system, such as completing FAFSA applications, creates enrollment challenges. Like so many other things in life, it's useless to just complain about enrollment challenges. Small or big, we've got to do something about it.

The system that was designed to aid post-secondary bound youth is itself creating the challenges and difficulties which deter young people (and their families) from completing their enrollment into a post-secondary program.

Now, with the voice of the TEGA research driving us, the CAN is better equipped to understand the systemic barriers and challenges young people face on their journey to post-secondary, and begin to focus efforts to drive systems change. If you are interested in hearing what young people and parents said through our recent Post-Secondary Success TEGA research, join us for an upcoming webinar '#AdamsCountyVoices: Barriers to Post-Secondary Success.'

I will leave you with one of our favorite quotes, "It is not just enough to do your best or work hard; You must know what to work on." - W. Edwards Deming.

In Partnership,

The Article that Started it All: Collective Impact
Stanford Social Innovation Review, John Kania and Mark Kramer, "Collective Impact" 

"Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations."

- John Kania and Mark Kramer, "Collective Impact"

Over the last seven years, the phrase "Collective Impact" has become more of a household name. But when we first adopted this framework as a Partnership to improve cradle to career outcomes for youth, through our national Partnership with StriveTogether, it was a very new idea, and a very different way of thinking and coming together to support young people on their journeys from cradle to career.

Last month, we shared a piece from David Brooks of the New York Times that maintained that this way of doing work, collective impact, is " a good thing happening in America" and is changing the way communities like ours work together in using an outcomes focused approach to ensure all of our kids and young people succeed.

Recently, ACYI's Community Leaders Council Steering Committee took a deep dive into the roots of this framework, turning back time to where our place in the movement began - a 2011 piece by John Kania and Mark Kramer. In their case study of emerging collective impact partnerships, they noted, "If successful, it presages the spread of a new approach that will enable us to solve today's most serious social problems with the resources we already have at our disposal. It would be a shock to the system. But it's a form of shock therapy that's badly needed." 
News from StriveTogether: Art Inspires Scholarship Open
Colleen Maleski, "Art Inspires scholarship calls for interpretation of spoken word poems"

Applications are now open for the second year of our national affiliate's, StriveTogether's, Art Inspires scholarship!  Share with your high school seniors and post-secondary students that they can earn $1,000 for school expenses through their artwork!  

To apply for the 2019 Art Inspires scholarship, students should create a work of wall art or a sculpture that expresses their interpretation of "Trees" or "The Eyes of Your Enemy" by Christian PageApplications should be submitted to StriveTogether by May 10, 2019.  LEARN MORE

As featured in StriveTogether News.

T o read more news and updates from StriveTogether, ACYI's National Network CLICK HERE

Board Vice Chair, Emma Pinter, named Woman of the Metro North
Pictured Here: Board Vice Chair and Woman of the Metro North, Emma Pinter, with ACYI CEO, Becky Hoffman

Recently, ACYI's Board Vice Chair, Emma Pinter, was named Woman of the Metro North. Emma was nominated alongside a number of women in the Metro North region who are making a difference in their workplaces in communities every day. 

From business leaders and mentors, to community supporters, this award honors women like Emma who have made a difference in their communities, blazed trails, and are leaving a mark on the community. Emma was chosen for the honor based on her incredible professional accomplishments, community leadership, and dedication to our community. Congratulations, Emma! 

Also, join us in congratulating Emma on her recent election to the Adams County Board of Commissioners!

To learn more about ACYI's Board of Directors, CLICK HERE.

Together We 'CAN'
Collaborative Action Network (CAN) Updates

Collaborative Action Networks or CANs are the "guts of the Youth Initiative of Adams County. Using the Cradle to Career Outcomes to guide their work, CANs focus on a specific indicator as a collective force, applying their efforts in a collaborative and constructive way. LEARN MORE

To learn more about each of our CANs, click on the respective links below:

'Work in Action': Adams County College Works to Reduce Summer Melt
Pictured Here: Will Mellion, Metro State University; Brett Schager, Adams County Workforce & Business Center; and Becky Hoffman, ACYI CEO

Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU), Front Range Community College, and Adams County Workforce and Business Center have partnered to offer a unique summer employment opportunity that doubles as both a Summer Bridge Program and provides Intrusive Advising for students who are enrolling to attend either of the campuses. This effort specifically targets students who are at risk of summer melt. And,  over the last two years, 86% of the youth who participated in the program are students of color, many of whom were also low-income. 

In addition to working to increase post-secondary enrollment of students at risk of melting off over the summer, this partnership has also developed an intervention which is focused on small cohorts within the target population (youth located within high-need zip codes qualifying for  Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, or WIOA) If these interventions prove to be successful, they can be scaled up to target and serve even more students within this population.  READ MORE
'LIFT' Up Your Own Story of Impact
Fairview Elementary School team members work on their UIPs with support from Erin Loften (Colorado Department of Education) and Dr. Rich Patterson (School District 27J) through the ACYI Institute.
Stories of Impact emerge within the ACYI Partnership when teams are making a measurable impact on a larger outcome. As part of our effort to support more stories of impact and ensure are yout h are successful, ACYI supports the development of  Partners' capacity to practice Continuous Improvement to:
  1. Engage students, parents, and families towards improving outcomes
  2. Focus on eliminating inequalities in student achievement and youth success
  3. Build on and align existing resources.
ACYI supports Partners with the capacity to use an outcomes focused approach and the continuous improvement framework to improve outcomes on behalf of youth through the Cradle to Career LIFT Fund. The LIFT Fund provides just that - a lift - to support one-time, non-operational costs associated with activities related to practicing Continuous Improvement. READ MORE

"There is something fundamentally amiss about building or rebuilding a system without consulting at any point those it is designed to serve."

- Alison Cook-Sathe

The ACYI Partnership is so important in making sure young people are on the path to success. But as the people who are most impacted by the work, it makes sense to have youth, their families, and the community at the center of this work.

ACYI is working to get authentic voice and perspective from the community, especially youth, to inform the work of the Partnership.
To learn more about how ACYI gathers authentic community voice and perspective, CLICK HERE.
What Youth and Families Are Saying about Post-Secondary Enrollment here in Adams County

Over the summer, ACYI's TEGA team conducted 54 interviews with recent high school graduates and their parents here in Adams County about barriers to enrolling in a post-secondary program.

Youth and parents identified the following as thematic challenges to post-secondary enrollment:

With these key findings from youth and parents, the Post-Secondary Success CAN identified opportunities for immediate action and will shift their conversations from their smaller efforts to enroll 100 more students in a post-secondary program by Spring 2019 to a larger dialogue about what it will take to change the system to address these barriers and challenges for youth and their families. LEARN MORE
Barriers to Post-Secondary Success WEBINAR
How can we better support youth on their journey to receiving post-secondary credentials and certificates needed for gainful employment?

Did you know: Youth in our county as young as 13 years old are concerned about the cost of post-secondary education and the ability to pay back student loans.

Hear more about what youth and parents here in Adams County are saying about the barriers to post-secondary enrollment and attainment at our upcoming webinar. In this session, you'll take a deep dive into the thematic findings from the TEGA research and walk away with key insights from young people and their families to help inform your work.

#AdamsCountyVoices: Barriers to Post-Secondary Success
  • January 16, 2019 | 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM | LEARN MORE
  • Contact Ashley Edinger, Institute & Communications Manager, for Additional Dates

Ongoing Learning Opportunities
To Support Outcomes Focused Work

Through our Institute we provide training, coaching and support for outcomes focused work happening on behalf of children and youth, specifically related to moving the needle in identified Cradle to Career priorities in Adams County. LEARN MORE

For a list of current opportunities available, visit us online at
Collective Impact and The Theory of Action

Take a Deep Dive Into Our Framework and How You Can Join the Movement

Gain a better understanding of Collective Impact (the " good thing happening in America"), how the ACYI Partnership utilizes Collective Impact to improve Cradle to Career outcomes for youth in Adams County, who StriveTogether is and how ACYI fits into their national network, and how the ACYI Backbone team supports the Partnership.
  • Monday, December 3, 2018 | 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM | LEARN MORE
  • Contact Ashley Edinger, Institute & Communications Manager, for Additional Dates

"Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization and staff with a very specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative."

-John Kania and Mark Kramer, "Collective Impact"

To best support our Partnership in improving Cradle to Career Outcomes for Adams County youth, ACYI staff fulfill the role of the backbone, proving support to the Partnership through facilitation, communications, data collection and reporting, project management, capability building, and a myriad of other logistical and administrative details that help make collective impact work. 
New Faces of the ACYI Backbone Team
Pictured here: New faces of the ACYI Backbone Team: Kendra Simpson, Matt Horn, and Kelsey Murphy

We are thrilled to have three new full-time staff members at ACYI!

  • Kendra Simpson, Business Operations Coordinator
  • Matt Horn, AmeriCorps Vista TEGA Community Engagement Coordinator 
  • Kelsey Murphy, Data Manger

All three have made huge contributions to the Partnership already! Stay tuned for future issues of our newsletter to hear more from these three new faces. 

Join the Catalyst Club!
Donate Today

Today, 2 in 5 Adams County students enroll in a post-secondary program. Today, 1  in 5 Adams County students complete a post-secondary program. And today, you can help those numbers change.

We have an opportunity to come TOGETHER to make a lasting impact not just in the short term, but to really invest in the future success of our entire community. We would like to invite you to join our Catalyst Club. For just $20 a month or $240 a year, you will help students in our community succeed. $20 a month is a nominal investment to knock out an enormous future cost to our community and to ensure our students have a bright future. Set up your Catalyst Club Donation HERELEARN MORE

Partnership Coach

ACYI is hiring a Partnership Coach. This position will be responsible for coaching, facilitating and supporting Partners using the Continuous Improvement process to improve Cradle to Career OutcomesLEARN MORE

AmeriCorps VISTA

AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full time (40 hours/week) for 1 full year at a community organization (nonprofit, college/university, local government office, etc.) on anti-poverty projects. AmeriCorps VISTA members work on projects that build the capacity of their organization.

Check out the following AmeriCorps VISTA placement opportunities:

ACYI works to MOBILIZE and SUPPORT a collective partnership of stakeholders focused on improving educational outcomes by leveraging student-level data, community expertise and continuous improvement best practices to...