LAUNCH Community Leadership Council
The first LAUNCH Flagstaff Community Leadership Council convened on September 13, 2017. Leaders learned a little more about each other and what might be possible when we are successful in creating a world-class educational experience for every child in Flagstaff, from cradle through career. The image above shows the word cloud that the Leadership Council created with that question. Overwhelmingly leaders said that greater prosperity for Flagstaff would be the most obvious indicator of our success.
- During the 2014 Arizona Primary Election, voter turnout was at a 50 year low, at only 27%.
- As a citizen’s education level increases, their participation in the electoral process increases.
- As a citizen’s education level increases, their personal income increases accordingly.
- Per capital income in Arizona has fallen 14% since 1980.
- Since 1980 Arizona has dropped from 25th in the nation for per pupil education funding to 49th.
- Arizona is experiencing a $4 Billion annual revenue loss to the state budget from cumulative tax cuts since 1993.
- Arizona’s state budget is presently carrying a $1.2 Billion liability of accumulated tax credit carried forward from previous years.
The call for urgency in improving educational outcomes for our children couldn’t be more clear.
Locally, some leaders were surprised to discover that:
- Only 47% of our youngest students are entering Kindergarten ready to learn.
- Only 37% of our 3rd graders are reading at grade level.
- Only 13% of our 8th graders taking 8th grade math are proficient.
- Only 85% of our high school students graduate in 4 years.
- Only 57% of our high school graduates enroll in a 2 or 4 year education program after high school.
The Leadership Council identified that our greatest obstacles to improving these educational outcomes are:
- Remaining entrenched in our organizational and personal silos.
- Continuing to do what doesn’t work for kids.
- Not having a clear focus on a common agenda.
Partnership Director, Paul Kulpinski offered clarity in how LAUNCH Flagstaff has developed the infrastructure and capacity to improve these outcomes and face these challenges through:
- A cradle through career perspective that begs participation by every Flagstaff organization across all sectors and every community member.
- The Collective Impact Framework that provides the agreement on shared goals, shared strategies informed by disaggregated local data with a process of continual improvement.
- A Theory of Change that provides for 5 broad long-term goals influenced by various contributing indicators that have measurable outcomes that can be influenced in shorter time frames.
Leaders then broke-out into small table discussions around some key questions and produced the following headline summaries of their conversations:
- We cannot wait
- Flagstaff Arizona: poised for world class education
- Collaboration and integration for the common good
- Coconino County citizens take charge of our future
- It takes a village
- No one is exempt
- World class education results in a world class community, economy and citizenry
Ultimately leaders recognized that there is no one else in Flagstaff that we can hope to rise up and address these issues for our community. The leadership to make this change lies with us, individually and collectively, right now. The Leadership Council identified that collectively it does have:
- the skills needed to improve these outcomes.
- the appropriate influence in our respective organizations.
- the access to resources and assets can support systemic change.
- the willingness to act, inspire and mobilize to affect the changes we seek.
“Change happens with small, incremental steps that are repeated over time with patience and persistence”, Kulpinski told the Leadership Council. “The future of education is not ten, five or even two years away. The future of education is tomorrow” he said. When asked what small change leaders can make now that will influence the future of education on Monday, individuals had some fabulous ideas which are included in the entire interactive participation process, which you can view here.
The next LAUNCH Flagstaff Community Leadership Council will convene on January 10, 2017 at 7:30am.