Over the last 5 years we’ve come together with over 60 local organizations to address the unique needs of children and youth living in Phoenix’s urban core. Together, we have activated meaningful improvement in key areas ranging from early childhood to post-secondary outcomes. We have a lot to be proud of, as Thriving Together has impacted over 5,000 students across over 20 schools and college campuses. Here are examples of our achievements:
By forming collaborations between high schools and their respective middle school partners, Thriving Together was a trailblazer for creating a space for community solutions to be created, nurtured, and grown. Thriving Together helped to create a council of superintendents to improve coordination among those mostly closely involved in the success of our students preK-12. We were told Thriving Together was the first time all these Superintendents came together.
As a collective impact initiative, our work moves at the speed to trust. Through trust, we bring different partners together under common goals. We helped Cartwright school district in better understanding the impact of introducing rigorous Algebra coursework during middle school. Cartwright made amazing strides in their Algebra For All effort - over 100 students passed that previously would not have even had the opportunity.
Thriving Together filled the gap by providing space and resources to regularly convene partners who had common objectives. Due to extraordinary partnerships, we were able to meet and hold graduation goals. We were inspired by education champions like Dr. Chad Geston always willing to pitch-in, guide, and have the tough conversations.
Our leadership council wanted to make post-secondary enrollment a milestone. The expressed focus was to reach and maintain an above 50% post-secondary enrollment rate by 2028. We not reached an historic high of 50%, while institutionalizing new methods of making a difference with PXU and MCCCD (as well as ASU, NAU and UA), as well as other local partner organizations. By working together, we created a smoother transitions for our Phoenix Union High School Graduates!
Click [HERE] to read the full Impact Report.
This year has brought some unprecedented changes to our lives, especially to the way we work and interact with each other. In light of these dramatic changes related to distance learning and working, we have decided to use our Thriving Together staff in more focused ways, specifically to developing more short-term, community-based solutions for those urgent tasks at hand, such as bridging the digital divide. Based on community feedback, we know it is appreciated to convene community partners, facilitate meetings, and provide support for developing, implementing, and reporting on Rapid Cycle Projects. Although Thriving Together will officially sunset, our commitment to education and our community remains stronger today than ever before.
We are refocusing our team’s efforts to work with the community on pressing needs that can be addressed in measurable ways. The first of such efforts will be centered on bridging the digital divide for our families and children living in Maricopa County. Already, we have developed a framework for bridging the digital divide through four levels of access—experiential, material, skill-based, and use-based. We have mapped all key players at each level and started planning for a virtual convening to coordinate and align efforts. We are also re-engaging in our community-centered planning process to define Valley of the Sun United Way’s new impact plan, and would like to engage anyone interested as a part of that process over the next few months. Please feel free to reach out to Melissa L. Boydston, Vice President of Community Development (firstname.lastname@example.org or 602.377.2948) if you would like to know more about our work.
As we move forward, we know that the work of the last five years could not have been accomplished without the community coming together to support our students for a truly life-changing experience.