Working Together for Educational Equity
Partnership Update - October 2021
Dear Partners,

As we settle more deeply into this school year,  some aspects of our environment may begin to feel more familiar than during the height of last year’s intersecting crises of  health and racial injustice. We’ve heard that many of your schedules are filled with ongoing work adapting to regularly-shifting COVID regulations, engaging students & parents through holistic support, and figuring out how to handle the “new normal” of living in both an in-person & virtual world. A key feature of the “new normal” is learning how to constantly anticipate, and continuously adapt to, the unexpected, AND we know you also care about addressing systemic educational inequities by working together across systems, across geographies, and across the Cradle-to-Career continuum.

We, the Backbone Team, recognize the tension between the significant need for immediate action and your desire to make long-lasting, deep systemic change. We want to support your work together in a way that connects the dots, overcomes barriers, and amplifies your successes without over-taxing your capacity.
Fall 2021 Partnership Summit:
Shifting to an Asynchronous Engagement Experience

As the Backbone Team learns how to best support and amplify the collective efforts of Partners in a post-COVID world, we’ve decided to try something new and hope you'll join us on a continuous learning experiment! Over the next few weeks, we will be transforming the previously scheduled live zoom Partnership Summit events into an engaging, 2 month-long asynchronous experience that is inclusive of folks who can't engage in real-time and celebrates partners in new ways. CLICK HERE to check out the Summit Site & make sure to follow the Partnership on Facebook & Twitter to stay in the loop!

If you have a story to tell that relates to the collective work of the Partnership, please reach out to Jacqui Esquivel Vasquez or Shelley Hamilton, and please read below for a sneak peek of the stories & partners we will be celebrating!
2021-22 Partnership Initiatives & Strategic Planning Process

In 2012, a group of systems leaders made a promise to Marin’s children: to achieve educational equity in Marin by 2028. That promise is rapidly approaching, and while much has been achieved, major setbacks such as COVID-19 and persistent barriers create a renewed sense of urgency. 

This year, the Partnership’s Collaborative Action is centered on Seven Core Initiatives: Early Childhood, Grade Level Learning, Future Ready, Marin Educators for Equity, Anti Racism, Digital Inclusion, and Community Collaboratives. The Partnership is also in the midst of a Strategic Planning process to develop the Partnership’s long-range plan for the next 3-5 years.
Learning Happens Everywhere: Lessons from COVID-19 & Summer Bright Spots

COVID-19 reinforced the reality that learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom:  it happens in after school clubs and tutoring support, on the playing field, at the kitchen table, online, and during the summer. As Partners collaborated to bridge gaps at the nexus between online connectivity and in-person learning, between wrap-around social and health sector supports and in-class attendance, and between summer engagement and access to transportation, the following bright spots emerged:
  • 2021 Expanded Summer Learning Opportunities:  More than 90% of SummerPromise+ partners who completed a post-summer survey reported an expansion of summer programming services or increase in the number of focus students served. Specifically in the West Marin region, the combined efforts Partners resulted in more than 180 students at SUSD being served in the first summer program offered by the school district in over 25 years.
  • Digital Inclusion: Closing the digital divide goes way beyond COVID-19 recovery. Through several collaborations centered on issues ranging from hotspot & device access to digital literacy & parent support, Partners have already augmented and accelerated the county-wide digital inclusion efforts of Digital Marin
  • Expanding Success Networks: Where COVID-19 spotlighted the connection between academic and social/emotional/physical wellbeing, Success Networks are taking up the baton to ensure high school students become Future Ready in college, a career & beyond. Through these networks, students who have traditionally been the most impacted by educational inequities are supported to increase their class attendance, complete unfinished credits and graduate with the classes they need to be eligible to apply to a UC or CSU.
Strategic Funding Shifts: Opportunities to Create Sustainable System Transformation

The infusion of funding, including American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars, to address the impacts of COVID-19 has the potential to radically transform the landscape of education. Beyond recovery and mitigation, there is an unprecedented opportunity to invest in sustainable, systemic, equitable change. Leveraging the money to thread and coordinate support from Cradle-to-Career across systems will require the collective efforts of partners throughout the county, engaging each other and students & families in new ways to build a more just & sustainable future. 
  • ARP Funds: Over $100 Million is coming into Marin as part of the American Rescue Plan. CLICK HERE to view a breakdown of ARP Funds in Marin.
  • From Equity Blueprints to LCAPS to Budgets: Since before COVID-19, local school districts were engaged in a rigorous Blueprint Planning process, which was leveraged as district leaders developed their most recent 3-year LCAP plans. Standards based grading, project based learning, ethnic studies, and multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) are just a few of the equity-related shifts that multiple districts have budgeted for in this year’s LCAP process.
  • Combining Multiple Funding Sources: Partners in West Marin demonstrated courage, humility, and persistence as they successfully advocated to integrate preschool into the Shoreline Unified School District. Developing a sustainable funding model required financial contributions & ingenuity from across sectors.
  • Funders at Collaborative Action Tables: The West Marin Fund has been a key partner to systems change in West Marin's educational ecosystem: from SummerTogether West Marin to integrating preschool in the school district, having a representative engaged in both processes from the beginning enabled the West Marin Fund to provide flexible and responsive funding to meet student needs & bridge unexpected systemic gaps in moments when both the school district and CBO partners faced additional barriers.
As the Partnership faces the changing seasons of fall & winter, the Backbone Team is proud to support you as you work together to shift our county's educational ecosystem toward a more just and equitable future. We are humbled every day by your persistence and dedication, and look forward to celebrating your leadership & partnership over the next several months!

In solidarity,

Marin Promise Partnership Backbone Team
Marin Promise Partnership |