The Promise Partnership takes a "cradle-to-career" approach to improve educational outcomes for youth. Partners align, share, and deploy resources to improve the following outcomes:
See the progress we're making on our outcomes and towards ensuring every child has the chance to succeed.
1. Align, coordinate, and hold external partners accountable for responding to the needs identified by schools, students, and the community
Whether it’s supplies, vaccinations, or other forms of care, our staff helps support those coordinating efforts with external non-profits and service partners to identify students who need services and streamline getting them support.
2. Regularly convene school staff and partners to review progress and make adjustments to current approaches
By bringing together school staff and external service providers to look at data, we can refine the process of helping families get the services and support they need, see what is working, and see what additional services may be needed.
3. Establish ongoing volunteer opportunities including volunteer recruitment, training, and data tracking and analysis
Our volunteer team works to recruit members of the community to tutor students in a variety of subjects on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
4. Assist schools in responding to the needs experienced by students and families
The Grassroots Leadership team hosts conversations with parents and/or community residents to identify the barriers that stand in their way as well as the needs they may have. In coordination with schools and service providers, we work to find ways to respond to these needs.
By coordinating efforts and aligning after-school, summer, and service provider offerings with in-school curriculum, out-of-school programs can have a positive impact on academic success.
1. Strengthen relationships between school day staff and out-of-school providers (including summer programs and after-school programs).
Research shows that when school staff coordinate with out-of-school providers, out-of-school programs have a greater impact on a student’s academic success. Our team creates structured time for out-of-school staff to coordinate with in-school staff.
2. Align out-of-school activities with school day efforts
When using the rubric created by Utah Afterschool Network, out-of-school activities are better coordinated with what students are learning in school; this enhances their learning by giving additional exposure to relevant topics and empowering out-of-school staff to better support students through homework help and individualized assistance.
3. Support the coordinated arrangement of basic needs services including strong referral networks and follow up
By bringing more service providers, non-profit organizations, out-of-school providers, and other groups to the table, Promise Schools promote a community of sharing. This makes it easier for in-school staff and out-of-school staff to refer students and families to local basic needs service providers and/or academic support through both the schools’ programs and the 211 Utah database.
1. Engage families to partner in school decisions, policies, and student learning
The Promise Partnership works with and supports schools in finding ways to get feedback and input from caregivers and parents of color, English language learners, low-income students, and other caregivers/parents who historically aren’t engaged in schools. They do this by having the Grassroots Leadership team host focus groups asking parents how they would like to be involved, finding ways to be more inclusive so caregivers and grandparents can participate, and bringing in native language speakers to help communicate with non-English speaking parents.
2. Support schools in maintaining a focus on students and families most impacted by current systems
Encouraging and advocating for schools to adopt the idea of “Targeted Universalism” helps school staff come up with universal goals that impact all students while simultaneously giving targeted support to the students and families who need it most. We assist school leaders in assessing the student body, both as a whole and in segments, to determine the best ways to advance learning for everyone.
3. Meaningfully engage community members with lived experience (students and parents)
We have found that the best way to get parents and families involved is to ask them how they would like to be involved. By conducting focus groups and training staff on home visits, schools can better engage the community that is representative of their school.
The term opportunity gap addresses the reality that factors like race, English proficiency, economic stability, and health can determine access to opportunities and contribute to inequitable outcomes for groups of students. By using population-based data, the Promise Partnership helps identify and find solutions for the opportunity gaps that exist within our schools.
1. Provide resources for innovations that address opportunity gaps and improve education outcomes
In the summer of 2020, the Promise Partnership hosted the Reimagine Education Challenge. The challenge encouraged schools across the valley to think of innovative ways to address opportunity gaps. Six winners were chosen and awarded a $50,000 grant to help them implement their plan. Moving forward, we hope to work closely with more schools to implement their ideas and provide grants where appropriate.
2. Surface promising practices to inform innovations
By keeping tabs on all things education, both locally and nationwide, we work to share innovative ideas that are proven to work in addressing opportunity gaps. We also support innovative ideas by setting up conversations, facilitating discussions, and providing funding to schools that are breaking down barriers and rebuilding systems.
3. Design and advocate for policies and practices that accelerate results for students and families
Through United Way of Salt Lake’s advocacy work and our relationship with the Utah State Board of Education, we work to promote policies and advocate for state funding that prioritizes education and teacher development.
4. Coordinate communities of practice for schools and partners to share and spread promising ideas
The Promise Partnership hosts meetings, discussions, and events that act as catalysts for school staff and school leaders from a variety of schools to share their ideas of what is working, creatively problem solve, and work together around common goals, both by outcome area (i.e. elementary literacy, high school graduation) and geographic location (i.e. all schools in Kearns).
The staff at United Way of Salt Lake, the umbrella organization for the Promise Partnership, puts their expertise to work supporting schools. Our cumulative knowledge means we bring experience to the table and can offer assistance in:
Results-based accountability and facilitation
Participatory action research
Liberatory design (human-centered AND equity-centered design)
Equitable community engagement
Continuous quality improvement
Data privacy, collection, analysis, and visualization
Curriculum Design, Problem, and Project-Based Learning
Differentiated instruction and personalized learning
Formative assessment design for key learning goals
Promise Schools are designed to be positive, collaborative learning environments. The Promise Partnership staff helps schools create this atmosphere by:
1. Identifying and assessing key learning goals for each subject by working with families and school staff
By narrowing the focus of a class down to a few main goals, teachers are better able to communicate with families and students what the students will be learning.
2. Creating core curriculum units of study incorporating project- and problem-based learning as appropriate
Our staff works with teachers to identify units of study that bring in a variety of academic skills and core curriculum experiences. At the end of a unit, students produce a portfolio that shows their knowledge rather than being tested.
3. Promoting teacher collaboration and supporting differentiated instruction that provides rigor to all students
Creating time to collaborate with other educators allows teachers to find innovative ways to provide rigor and challenge for every student in their class. Our school advisors help implement strategies to assist teachers in meeting students where they are and providing rigorous learning at every level.
4. Analyzing student learning and providing guidance on effective reteaching and extension strategies
Through data collection, our team assists teachers in recognizing when students haven’t mastered a subject and determining how to reteach the material to ensure they don’t fall behind.
5. Developing strategies to promote independent learners
Ideally, all students are able to create their own learning path. We work with teachers to promote independent learning by discovering ways that students can learn for themselves through group projects and problem-solving.