In 2013 the Coconino County Superintendent of Schools and the United Way of Northern Arizona initiated the first Coconino County Education Report. The report illustrated the real work needed to help Coconino County students enter kindergarten ready to succeed and perform academically on grade level in elementary and middle school.
From this report, a group of concerned citizens and agencies in Flagstaff first met in December 2013 to determine what could be done to improve educational opportunities for the children of Flagstaff. This group was the nucleus that became the Flagstaff Commission on Excellence in Education with the goal of building consensus on how Flagstaff’s elected officials, business community, parents, educators, volunteers, non-profit partners and others can participate in creating and maintaining an exemplary school system for every child.
In 2014 the group brought Dr. Mitchell Chester, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education for the state of Massachusetts, to Flagstaff to facilitate a community conversation about what world class education could look like. From this, the group recognized the need to develop some broad goals to strive for.
By the spring of 2016, the Flagstaff Commission on Excellence in Education identified five educational goals in alignment with Expect More Arizona’s Education Progress meter. Using an analysis of current capacity and existing need, they formed Community Action Networks (CANs) around two of these five goals as a start for their work. These two CANs were focused in the areas of kindergarten readiness and post-secondary training and education.
In fall of 2016, the Commission rebranded itself as LAUNCH Flagstaff and with initial funding from the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff, they hired a full-time Partnership Director to implement their foundational work.
Since then, LAUNCH Flagstaff has developed an organizational infrastructure that has expanded to include over 50 cross-sector community leaders, business executives, elected officials, faith-based and non-profit leaders who have committed their organizational resources and expertise to advance the work of the partnership.
In February 2018, LAUNCH Flagstaff published its first Community Education Report that will serve as a baseline for measuring our progress as we move forward in continuous improvement in the framework of collective impact.