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Stage 1 Milestone 6

Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6

MILESTONES:

imagemap CONVENE INNOVATORS ASSESS READINESS COMPILE A CONVINCING RATIONALE FOR SCALE-UP BROADEN COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP COMMIT TO A MOTIVATING SHARED VISION INCREASE VISIBILITY
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STAGE 1: DECIDE TO SCALE UP
Milestone #6: Increase Visibility 

Some things to think about:

By now, your initiative has developed a motivating vision and a commitment to shared ownership, but any scale-up effort needs a community-wide base of support and strong leadership. Now is the time to start promoting the benefits of scale-up to a broad set of constituencies throughout the community. Consider ways to:

  • Promote existing community schools. Many communities interested in scale-up may already operate one or more community schools. Use what the Macarthur Foundation calls a "fast start approach" by selling the community schools idea to a larger audience within stakeholder organizations and publicizing the success of existing community schools to the broader community.

  • Use media contacts. Request interviews on local radio talk shows, speak at local civic organizations, and invite press contacts to visit a community school.

  • Arrange visits to existing community schools. When people see community schools in action, they begin to understand their power and potential. Organize and publicize site visits to community schools for potential champions of the community schools concept. Talk about what community schools could offer if available on a larger scale.

  • Create "brand awareness." The larger community must recognize and identify with the scale-up initiative. Partners in Portland’s SUN Initiative learned early that distilling the group’s vision into an easily recognized name and logo not only increased visibility but that the process of finding a name also built ownership at all levels.


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EVERYTHING IN A NAME

In Multnomah County, Oregon, community school leaders wrestled for months to come up with a name that would set their initiative apart from other school partnership projects. Finally, they decided to ask the County Youth Advisory Council to suggest a name. And thus Schools Uniting Neighborhoods was born, with the easy-to-remember acronym SUN Schools. The name succinctly captures the shared vision of the initiative and suggests potential and optimism. According to Diana Hall, program supervisor, this unique identifier has been pivotal in building community awareness and broad-based sustained support. Though everyone may not know what SUN stands for, most people know what it means—a source of support and positive experiences for young people, communities, and families.

 

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  • Think regionally. Efforts to increase visibility within a region or a locality can pay off by, for example, connecting your initiative to other initiatives from which you can learn, building peer- to-peer networks, and sharing the cost of technical assistance with or directly linking it to system- wide scale-up. As the experience of Pennsylvania’s Greater Lehigh Valley attests, state partners can be particularly helpful in developing regional visibility.

 

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STATE SUPPORT FOR SCALE-UP

State entities can play an important role in convening partners and developing strategies to build support for community schools expansion. A sold-out, day-long retreat organized in 2009 by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in partnership with the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and the Coalition for Community Schools, brought together a diverse group of school and community partners from across the state to learn how to begin to scale up community schools. Organizers reached out to school district personnel, CBOs, public agencies, teachers, higher education faculty and administrators, child care agencies, and state children’s cabinet members. A keynote address by the Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education was followed by a panel of local school superintendents and community leaders who explained why and how community schools are part of their core district agenda. The retreat helped participants see community schools in action and visualize the possibility of change in their own communities. Equally important, it reinforced local leaders’ commitment to strengthening and expanding community schools.

 

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Guide Home - IntroductionPart I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Appendix - Tools

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