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Goal, Strategies and Initiatives

A concentration of highly educated people is key to achieving a region’s economic success. After all, regions prosper by virtue of their people. Therefore, Northern Kentucky set the goal of exceeding national education performance standards at every level.

Seven strategies for achieving educational excellence:

  1. Provide high-quality, affordable early childhood programs for all children
  2. Challenge students with a rigorous curriculum necessary for furthering their education and career goals, and for strengthening Northern Kentucky’s workforce
  3. Develop a nationally recognized “culture of contribution” by promoting service learning
  4. Exceed national standards for educator excellence in school systems that pay competitive salaries, reward performance and require accountability
  5. Make post-secondary education and adult training accessible and affordable to all
  6. Connect our children’s in-school and out-of-school development
  7. Ensure all Northern Kentucky educational institutions have the financial resources and programs needed to reach these goals

Latest Developments on Related Initiatives

Ready by 21

Ready by 21 is a call to action to leaders who know that continuing to support youth the same way is just not good enough. The main focus of the Ready by 21 work is to ensure all youth are ready for college, work and life. Ready by 21 is hosting The Southeast Challenge and has invited Northern Kentucky to participate. Northern Kentucky will undergo a “capacity audit” and based on the audit findings will receive core-capacity building support and be eligible for matching funds. We will be asked to document our efforts using state-of the-art software (workstations created by Community Systems Group), participate in peer discussions regarding ideas/strategies for getting farther, faster, and share progress reports with the Ready by 21 Leadership networks. Northern Kentucky plans to target the majority of our work around measuring, tracking and analyzing youth progress both inside and outside of school. In addition to Northern Kentucky, the Ready by 21 National Partnership invited Louisville, KY, Nashville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, Richmond, VA, and Atlanta, GA, to be members of the first cohort of the challenge work with cities.


Strive drives the success of children in Covington, Newport, and Cincinnati from cradle to career. Founded in 2006, Strive is a unique partnership spanning all sectors of Greater Cincinnati.
On July 22, the Corporation for National and Community Services announced that the United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Strive Partnership would receive a $2 million 2010 Social Innovation Fund grant in support of the organizations’ collaborative efforts to address economic opportunities, youth development and school support. A local funding collaborative is coming together to match the federal $2 million, dollar for dollar, establishing a $4 million Greater Cincinnati Social Innovation Fund. Evidenced-based programs focused on raising student achievement and expanding economic opportunities in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport will be encouraged to apply for these innovation grants.

At the heart of the Partnership’s work is our collective effort to improve eight key student success indicators: kindergarten readiness, 4th grade reading proficiency, 8th grade math proficiency, high school graduation rates and ACT scores, and postsecondary enrollment, retention and completion. We’re seeing many of these indicators trending in the right direction, but we have much more work to do.

A new Learning Partner Dashboard is combining student-level, school data with student-level, programmatic data (i.e. mentoring, afterschool, tutoring, mental health, etc.) at CPS. Plans to expand the Dashboard to Covington and Newport have begun. This effort may fundamentally improve our ability to get students the exact support they need to succeed in school and life.

Others around the country are coming to visit the region to learn more about these collaborative efforts to boost student achievement. In fact, last week the White House Council on Community Solutions traveled to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky to meet with members of The Strive Partnership, as well as key leaders in collaborative efforts focused on workforce solutions and disconnected youth (e.g. Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network, Youth Can, Holmes High School in Covington, Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center, etc.). The Council will offer recommendations to the President as to what the government can and should be doing to support innovative, data-driven approaches to improving outcomes for young people ages 16-24.

Center for Educator Excellence

The Center offers high quality professional development, developes sound teacher recruitment and retention programs, aligns the secondary and postsecondary curricula, encourages more teachers to aspire to National Board Certification and promotes the growth of the Future Educators of America’s chapters in middle and high schools.

One to One Practicing Reading with Students

One to One: Practicing Reading with Students continues to grow and impact education in Northern Kentucky. Training for 140 new coaches has been completed for this academic year. Those new adult coaches join the 120 returning coaches for a total of 260 adult coaches. Four new elementary schools joined One to One this year for a total of 31 schools. One to One Youth Coaches match high school student coaches with elementary students. Currently there are 5 high schools including Dixie, Scott and Simon Kenton in Kenton County, Bellevue H.S, and Covington Holmes. The Covington Youth program is in collaboration with Children, Inc. We have 273 Youth Coaches engaged in coaching. A companion program, One to One: Practicing Math with Students is being piloted in 5 Northern Kentucky elementary schools. Pre-assessment data for participating second grade students will be compared with post-pilot assessment data at the conclusion of the 2011 academic year. The goal is to significantly expand both programs in targeted schools based on student need for literacy and math intervention. Marketing and media initiatives, as well as efforts to confirm additional financial support will continue through spring and summer as we gear up for coach training in the fall. Between the two programs; One to One is serving a total of 577 children in Northern Kentucky! If you’d like to become a One to One coach contact Nancy Costello at ncostello@vision2015.org.

Success by 6

Success By 6 is a national United Way strategy in more than 350 cities across the country all focused on improving school readiness through local community change. In Northern Kentucky, Success By 6 is active in Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant Councties.

Collecting and analysing regional kindergarden readiness data is a challgne. In May, over $111,000 was approved through Success By 6 Winning Beginnings to invest in continuation projects in Kenton and Campbell Counties and to hire a full-time Early Childhood Database Manager through Northern Kentucky University.

Another promising piece of the Success By 6 work have been the bornlearning public awareness campaign and the rescently launched bornlearning Academy pilot project in Kenton County. The pilot project showed promising results and two additional school systems have shown interest in expansion efforts. Some results include: An increase from families felt informed about how to support young children’s development and 100% of families found that the bornlearning materials helped them understand how children learn.

Northern Kentucky Education Council

In spring of 2008, Vision 2015 convened a meeting with the different education-related groups to discuss how potential collaboration would create more efficient and effective support of the full range of educational endeavors in Northern Kentucky. Further meetings were convened, and the group decided to focus its efforts on aligning the work and membership of the Northern Kentucky Education Alliance, the Northern Kentucky Council of Partners in Education, and the Vision 2015 Education Implementation Team. The newly aligned organization has been named the Northern Kentucky Education Council (NKEC). The NKEC will have equal representation from educators, businesses leaders and community members and has adopted the six education goals identified in the Vision 2015 plan as the framework for moving forward. Action teams have been formed around the goals and data plans are in process.
Central Bank donated office space for the Council, and the Council Board is currently working on the composition of the new board and funding streams. Vision 2015 has provided staff support to the Council through an executive loan.

The Council’s six Action Teams, comprised of key community, business and education leaders have completed guided discussions on priority outcomes and indicators that span the developmental continuum from Early Childhood to Adult Learners. The Council outcomes and indicators align with the broader goals of United Way, Vision 2015, STRIVE and Agenda 360. Comprehensive regional communication of the NKYEC goals and benefits for involved partners has been accelerated through the formation of an Executive Leadership Board. The Leadership Board is in addition to the Board of Directors.

More than 170 educators, business, and community representatives attended the College and Career Readiness Symposium on March 24, 2011. National speakers provided successful and innovative approaches that promote 21st Century Learning Skills. A significant amount of time was dedicated to facilitated regional planning sessions, which provided the opportunity for key focus areas to be identified. Action Team 2 – College and Career Ready are utilizing these focus areas to define regional priorities which will ensure that students along the education pipeline are prepared for college and career.

NKYEC hosted a record-breaking attendance of 490 at the Excellence in Education Awards on May 16. The celebration recognized outstanding educators, community and business leaders, and students who have made significant contributions or excelled in area of education throughout the year. For a complete listing of award winners visit: www.nkyec.org.

The Enhanced Gallup Student Poll was completed by more than 20,500 Northern Kentucky students in grades 5-12 from 49 schools, which represented 13 local school districts. The Gallup Student Poll reports have been generated and each of the 13 school districts were provided access to their schools’ scorecards in May. Regional and county-level data will be available to the public in mid-June 2011.