Making Collaboration Work
An alarming number of children—about 67 percent nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families—are not proficient readers by the end of third grade. And in Baltimore, the situation is even more dire. Eighty-nine percent of Baltimore’s children are not reading on grade level by fourth grade. Yet, reading proficiency by the end of third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success.
Together, we immediately identified the need to focus on the fundamentals for effective collaboration—a need not uncommon to collaborative efforts in their early stages. We interviewed dozens of key stakeholders, facilitated multi-stakeholder decision-making meetings, helped reframe what the coalition could achieve and how they could work together, and guided the coalition toward deliberate and powerful action.
- Applied for the National Civic League’s All-America City Award and was subsequently one of 14 cities out of 120+ applicants to win the award.
- Established a culture and structure for working together, including partnership principles, accountability and governance structures, roles & responsibilities, decision-making processes, and communication plans.
- Developed a bold vision and goals for its work.
- Secured public support from the mayor.
- Decided upon an organizational host for the work and hired a project manager.
The coalition then turned its focus to articulating how it will achieve its work and what metrics it will use to define success.