Working Together Through and Beyond Crisis
Now more than ever, we must abandon the performative and embrace the authentic. Our essential mental shifts require humility and patience. Focus on real internal change. These human transformations will be honest, raw, ugly, hopeful, frustrated, beautiful, and divine. And they will be slower than keener academics are used to. Be slow. Let this distract you. Let it change how you think and how you see the world. Because the world is our work. And so, may this tragedy tear down all our faulty assumptions and give us the courage of bold new ideas.  
Aisha S. Ahmad
Dear Partners,

The poem above, shared by TUHSD Superintendent Tara Taupier at the Partnership Council’s Spring meeting, brings together so many of the efforts and emotions that you have shared with us over these past 6 weeks.

As we continue to navigate this uncharted territory together, we wanted to share information on Partner Responses to COVID-19 gathered by the Backbone Staff, as well as the Partnership Council's insights.

Through action teams, rapid response zoom convenings, individual phone conversations, and emails, we have come across numerous examples of incredible resiliency, compassion, and collaboration from partners across all sectors, from cradle to career. The challenges you face are hard, messy and complex and the needs are urgent.

So, what should we hold front and center to guide our work together? Three themes continue to rise to the top: Adapt in the face of challenges, focus on racial and ethnic equity, and collaborate with others — especially the youth and families most impacted by this crisis and our work together.
Partner Responses to COVID-19:
Of the 100s of response stories collected and categorized into a data-based spreadsheet by Backbone staff, three dominant patterns emerged:

  • Partners are working together on new rapid response collaborations
  • Partners are responding to the whole-child and the whole-family
  • Partners are centering equity in their responses

The Backbone staff has created a Synthesis of Partner Responses, which you can read HERE. You can also watch a short video of the synthesis, as presented to the Partnership Council, viewable HERE. If you would like to share the dedicated work of Partners, you can share the blog post available HERE .
Distance Learning:

The Backbone staff also recently hosted a county-wide, multi-district conversation on Distance Learning. A synthesis of the conversation is available to read HERE , and a short presentation is viewable HERE . You can share insights with others by sharing the blog post, available HERE.
As you explore these resources, here are just a few of the highlights you’ll come across:
Bright Spots

Essential Worker Emergency Childcare Pop-ups - County of Marin, the Marin County Office of Education, the Marin County Free Library, the City of San Rafael, the North Bay Children’s Center, Community Action Marin, North Bay Community Services, and Marin YMCA have collaboratively developed a program to provide emergency “pop-up” childcare services. Click HERE to read more.

Collaborative Food Distribution - From pantry pop-ups at schools to school bus deliveries to new gift card programs, cross-sector collaboration is making a difference.

HotSpot Lending Library - Marin County Free Libraries (MCFL), with support from MPP Backbone staff, is working with school districts, cities, Marin Community Foundation and the County of Marin to link student internet connection needs with public/private funding and assure that both immediate and long term needs are met with systemic solutions.

Wrap-around Case Management Approaches - In addition to Districts reaching out to 100% of their students, many Partners such as Canal Alliance, North Marin Community Services and the Tamalpais High School Success Network are complementing that effort by focusing wrap-around support on students and families most impacted by structural inequity.
Ongoing Challenges

What can we learn from this crisis to shift the system for good?

How might new cross-sector coordination efforts evolve into long-term educational success networks, wrapping students in a web of support that extends beyond the school yard?

How might the “emergency” HotSpot lending library efforts be sustained to eliminate the Digital Divide?

How might our common experience with “learning loss” shift the long-term conversation from mitigating “slippage” inequities to completely eliminating loss-factors all together?
As the weeks move forward we will continue to listen and respond with a keen focus on supporting you as you adapt to new challenges, hold equity at the center, and continue to collaboratively respond to this crisis.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like additional information on any of the COVID-19 Partner responses or Distance Learning issues mentioned in the document’s linked to this email. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll connect you with one of your Partners who does.

Be kind, take care, and don’t let physical distance keep you socially isolated.

Until next zoom-time,

The Backbone Team
Marin Promise Partnership |