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.
Students of color, multiple language learns, and those with fewer economic resources typically lag behind their white, more affluent peers on educational outcomes. The Promise Partnership works with schools, school districts, and others to help close opportunity gaps and ensure that every student can thrive to their fullest potential.
1. Surface promising practices to inform innovations
By keeping tabs on all things education – both locally and nationwide, as well as maintaining close relationships with schools, we work to share innovative ideas that are proven to work in addressing opportunity gaps.
2. Design and advocate for policies and practices that accelerate results for students and families
Our staff, in keeping an eye out for what works to improve educational outcomes, collaborates with school districts and the Utah State Board of Education to promote changes in policies or practices that can accelerate equitable outcomes.
3. Coordinate communities of practice for schools and partners to share and spread promising ideas
Our staff acts as a connector and catalyst; we host meetings, discussions, and events to connect people and organizations who are doing whatever it takes for kids to find the right opportunities to flourish.
4. Provide resources for innovations that address opportunity gaps and improve education outcomes
Our staff provides financial support for innovative ideas that schools and community members generate to ensure more equitable outcomes across student groups.
1. Engage families to partner in school decisions, policies, and student learning
Our staff 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.
By coordinating efforts and aligning after-school, summer, and service provider offerings with in-school curriculum, out-of-school programs can positively impact academic success.
1. Strengthen relationships between school day staff and out-of-school providers
Research shows that when school staff coordinate with out-of-school providers (such as summer programs or afterschool programs), out-of-school programs have a greater impact on a student’s academic success. Our team creates opportunities for improved alignment and supports out-of-school providers to improve program quality.
2. 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. 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 external non-profits and service partners identify students who need services so they can get them the necessary supports.
2. Regularly convene school staff and partners to review progress and make adjustments to current approaches
Our staff brings together school staff and external service providers to look at data, assess their impact, understand where refinements might be needed, and adjust approaches to continuously improve.
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 or mentor on a consistent basis, and sets up frameworks to measure the impact of those efforts.
4. Assist schools in responding to the needs experienced by students and families
The Grassroots Leadership team hosts conversations with parents and community residents to better understand their experiences and deepen family-school relationships.
Promise Schools are designed to be positive, collaborative learning environments. The Promise Partnership staff helps schools create this atmosphere in a variety of ways:
1. Identify and assess key learning goals for each subject by working with families and school staff
By establishing a few key goals for each class, teachers are better able to communicate with families and students what the students will be learning and families are better positioned to support students and act as collaborators in their child’s education.
2. Create core curriculum units of study incorporating project- and problem-based learning as appropriate
Our staff works with teachers to identify units of study that combine a variety of academic skills and core curriculum elements with experiential learning. Students learn by doing; at the end of a unit, students produce a portfolio that demonstrates their knowledge and skills.
3. Promote teacher collaboration and support 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 staff helps implement strategies to assist teachers in meeting students where they are and providing rigorous learning at every level.
4. Analyze student learning and provide guidance on effective reteaching and extension strategies
Through data collection, our staff assists teachers in recognizing when students have not mastered a subject and helps them to determine how to reteach the material to ensure those students do not fall behind.
5. Develop 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.
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