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Love of partnership and learning shows Patty Chavez And Mauricio Torre | Sat, Feb 14 2015 12:00 PM

Beyond the smiles, new parent run activities and a stream of inspiring stories, there are numbers – solid numbers – showing that the love of learning is happening.

Promise Neighborhoods is a federal initiative that is not just another program to help struggling communities, it’s an approach aimed to amplify and accelerate local efforts in order to achieve collective impact. It brings the love together – community partners sharing their expertise and joined for a common goal: to reverse the cycle of generational poverty and create communities of opportunities.

At Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood, our cross-sector partners have set aside their individual agendas and have strongly committed in both action and words to align their activities, communicate continuously, and create a backbone organization to coordinate and facilitate these processes. Every partner owns the same results and indicators to achieve transformative, systems change.

The longitudinal case management system offered by Promise Neighborhood Institute allows us to see in real time every service provided. We can follow attendance, behavior, academics and other touch point services. We can analyze interventions and identify patterns. The data allows us to make immediate changes and adjustments. This is a powerful tool that others in San Diego County are beginning to model.

In just one year and six months, we saw an increase of Castle Park elementary third-grade students reading at or above grade level move from 25 percent to 35 percent. In mathematics we saw an amazing movement from 6.5 percent to 36.9 percent proficiency for third grade students and 9.8 percent to 15.7 percent at or above grade level for our fourth grade students.

Castle Park Elementary sixth-grade chronic absenteeism declined from 11 percent to 3.4 percent. For our younger children from birth to kindergarten, parents are reporting an increase in reading three or more times a week from 53.5 percent to 67.8 percent.  And for our older students, graduation rates are increasing. The latest adjusted cohort graduation rate shows an increase from 86.5% to 96.8%.

Not all the numbers are what we had hoped. Information on sixth grade State mathematic assessments shows a decline of students at or above grade level from 5% to 1.6% proficiency. Partners are looking closer at these numbers and the whole need of the student – from environment to social emotional - to better understand how to support. Data is helping us confirm what we had guessed - that a student’s school success is not limited to classroom academics but the whole environment plays a role in our student’s ability to learn and excel.

While our numbers are helping to affirm the work, it is also providing us opportunities to have deeper dialogue about impact. What happens in Chula Vista is happening around the nation. The Promise Neighborhoods communities across the country are beginning to quantify and qualify the steady march of progress. We are working together here and we are sharing with each other across many regions and states. We are working to use our existing resources in more creative ways to help us achieve population-level results for our most vulnerable children and families.

Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood (CVPromise) is coordinated by South Bay Community Services and is proud to partner with Castle Park Elementary, Castle Park Middle, Castle Park High School, Hilltop Middle and Hilltop High School to bring new opportunities and pathways of success for their students and families. For more information, please visit CVPromise.org or call 619-422-5005.

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