Kenosha News Article
BY DIANE GILES Nov 23, 2015
A program that takes a holistic, collaborative approach to education is coming to Kenosha County.
Strive is a national program patterned after a model that was first developed at the University of Cincinnati several years ago. In the program, businesses, government and non-profit agencies work together to support students outside of the classroom so they can do well inside the classroom.
The local Strive program has been funded in the 2016 Kenosha County budget to the tune of $50,000.
About 50 communities around the country have launched the program with the purpose of improving education and workforce development.
“Many communities refer to the Strive effort as a ‘cradle to career’ initiative,” said Todd Battle, Kenosha Area Business Alliance president. KABA is on the ground floor of the local initiative. The end goal of the program is young people getting good jobs and becoming contributing members of the community. “The county leaders have said that it makes more sense for us to invest in youth, education and youth employment than it does making investments later on to expand the jail system,” Battle said.
Strive is a framework to bring together all the existing, similar programs and aligning them to help children succeed, said Jean Moran, CEO of LMI Packing Solutions in Pleasant Prairie and a member of KABA. Racine has had the program for about three years, but Moran said Kenosha’s program may look different.
‘It takes a village’
The program uses local data to identify inequalities in student achievement and prioritize efforts to improve student outcomes. Too often, Battle said, community members have a knee-jerk reaction to blame schools and teachers for kids failing to perform at grade level and not graduating. Instead, issues of poverty and inellectual parenting could be the root of the problem. “It’s a recognition that it takes a village to raise kids, and putting all of this on the school system isn’t fair,” Battle said. “It’s a more holistic effort to say, ‘Let’s get our business community; let’s get our non-profits;let’s get our government and social programs and our education partners working together.’”
As an example, Battle said, community resources like the Kenosha Literacy Council, the KABA mentoring program, United Way and the public library system would work together to adopt strategies and programs to help kids improve their reading. Working together, in addition, Moran said the program would get the leaders of non-profits and businesses to communicate more efficiently. “We do (communicate), but we’re not as integrated as we could be. There’s a lot of things going on that everyone doesn’t know about,” Moran said. “So sometimes we’re duplicating each other’s efforts, and sometimes we could be doing more in our programming.”
The program will help resource leaders learn about what is trending and what’s working in education.
“As a population, we jump to conclusions much too quickly,” Moran said. “The Strive model is really to test results, to test metrics and to test philosophies rather than all pretending that we know what’s right — that we all saw one data piece and now we all know where we should go.