AchieveMpls Strategic Plan FY 2014 FY 2016

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1 AchieveMpls Strategic Plan FY 2014 FY 2016 Approved unanimously by the AchieveMpls Board of Directors September 12, 2013

2 I. Mission As the strategic nonprofit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools, AchieveMpls mobilizes a wide web of community support to increase academic achievement, equitable opportunities and career and college readiness for all students. II. Vision All young people in Minneapolis will succeed in school, work and life, and our community will thrive as a result of the talent, diversity and vitality of the next generation. III. Core Beliefs MPS students are talented, capable and eager to learn. To realize their potential, they need access to opportunity, a supportive learning environment, strong teachers and mentors, and the knowledge and skills to pursue their goals. All students can and do benefit from career and college readiness services, but a commitment to equity means prioritizing those with the greatest needs and barriers. Providing all students with the level of resources they need to be successful is our collective responsibility. Young people benefit from greater community involvement and partnership. Student success is the responsibility of our entire community because schools alone cannot do the work of educating and nurturing our young people. Both public and private resources are necessary for young people to achieve their goals. Education is the best investment we can make in our youth, our community and our city s future. Public education is the foundation of a healthy democracy. It strengthens our civic life and social fabric, and ensures an informed, engaged and cohesive community. IV. About AchieveMpls Founded in 2002, AchieveMpls is the strategic nonprofit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). With a budget of $2.35 million 1 and 32 staff members, the organization is fiscally strong and enjoys enthusiastic support from business, government, and the philanthropic community. AchieveMpls core work is to help ensure that all Minneapolis youth can graduate career and college ready. We run two flagship programs: STEP- UP Achieve and Career and College Centers. STEP- UP Achieve, implemented in partnership with the City of Minneapolis, trains and places youth in paid internships with local corporations, nonprofits and government. Career and 1 The budget for AchieveMpls alone is $2.35 million, but the organization manages an additional $3 million annually in funds benefiting the Minneapolis Public Schools. 1 AchieveMpls Strategic Plan

3 College Centers are located in every MPS high school and managed by AchieveMpls to provide all students with the information, personal support and connections to create a solid plan for their future. In addition to these two programs, AchieveMpls raises and manages private funds to support the strategic priorities of the Minneapolis Public Schools. It also educates, informs and engages people on issues in public education, builds partnerships with the business and nonprofit community and works closely with college and career networks to advance the cause of preparing every Minneapolis child for college and career. Increasingly in recent years, AchieveMpls has demonstrated its strong commitment to managing for results by rigorously collecting and analyzing data. In the near future, we anticipate a significantly enhanced ability to move beyond reporting only program outputs to reporting concrete results for young people and the community impact of our work. V. Essential Questions Examined Since its founding more than a decade ago, AchieveMpls has grown and changed significantly, leading board members, staff, and stakeholders to raise a number of strategic questions about the organization s purpose, focus and future direction. In 2013, the board embarked on a strategic planning process, recruited a mix of staff and board to serve on the committee, and hired a strategic consulting firm to facilitate the process and conduct research and analysis. Three key questions were identified and examined: MPS Relationship: What is the relationship between AchieveMpls and MPS? Should AchieveMpls continue fundraising on behalf of the district? To whom, specifically, are we referring when we say the District? Who at MPS is the arbiter of any MPS disputes about the focus and direction of AchieveMpls? Community Engagement & Advocacy: What is the role of community engagement as a strategy for the organization? Should AchieveMpls get play a role in advocacy or policy? What are Board expectations regarding the AchieveMpls CEO s private political activity? Programming: Are current AchieveMpls programs the right ones? Should any be eliminated, continued or expanded? Are there any new program opportunities that the organization should explore? What is our relationship with other career and college readiness providers in the community? After discussing and answering the questions above, AchieveMpls has identified five goals that it will pursue over the next three years to help ensure that all Minneapolis youth can graduate career and college ready. 2 AchieveMpls Strategic Plan

4 1. We will affirm and strengthen the partnership between AchieveMpls and Minneapolis Public Schools. AchieveMpls is the strategic nonprofit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), and we exist in an interdependent relationship with the school district. We balance our role as an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, governed by our own board of directors, with the fact that we are the district s closest nonprofit partner. We collaborate with MPS on fundraising, parent and community engagement, partnership development and the delivery of programs that provide direct service to young people. When seeking alignment with MPS, we consider the Superintendent to be the highest authority on issues between us. The financial relationship between MPS and AchieveMpls is outlined in a Memorandum of Agreement that is renewed every three years. The MOA delineates our roles and responsibilities for resource development and our mutual accountability to the use of private dollars in support of MPS. A Resource Development Committee consisting of staff from AchieveMpls and MPS helps to identify, raise and monitor private financial resources for MPS and works carefully to respect the boundaries of each entity's financial needs. A data- sharing agreement with the District allows us access to student level data and to share data with MPS from programs that we administer. We align our programming with MPS insofar as possible. This includes close collaboration on the Career and College Centers, STEP- UP Achieve and other work opportunities for students, graduation coaches and community and parent engagement. We also align administrative activities in the areas of finance, communications and the management of scholarships and school funds. 2. We will strengthen and undertake targeted growth in our career and college readiness programs that directly serve the youth of Minneapolis. AchieveMpls has gained credibility for the high quality of its programming, the number of young people it serves and its commitment to measuring results. After experiencing rapid growth in our two primary program areas in recent years, we will focus on sustaining their growth and quality during the next three years, while exploring a select few opportunities for program expansion. Recognizing that our work in both career readiness and college access is strong and effective, we will continue to develop and strengthen these core programs. We anticipate steady, but incremental growth in these programs. 3 AchieveMpls Strategic Plan

5 We will continue to create a coherent career and college readiness strategy that unifies all of AchieveMpls work streams across different program areas. In FY14, we will conduct a feasibility study and initial planning for possible program expansion. Any program expansion will focus on high school students. We will consider increasing our one- to- one support of students through expansion of our Graduation Coach program, through the development of an academic tutoring/academic support program, or through both options. The feasibility of each option rests on their use of volunteers, rather than paid professional staff. Close collaboration with MPS on career and college readiness will ensure a coherent strategy within the District, in schools and with external partners. Therefore we will continue to develop joint goals, metrics and measurement so that all parties are held accountable for results. Sharing data and analyzing it jointly with MPS will enable us to understand more clearly the impacts on individual students, groups of students and school communities. We will collaborate with MPS to move beyond measuring program outputs to measuring outcomes and impacts. 3. We will collaborate deeply and broadly across organizations, sectors and industries to achieve improved educational outcomes for youth. AchieveMpls distinguishes itself by its strong collaboration with the Minneapolis Public Schools, the City of Minneapolis, corporations and other businesses and nonprofit partners in the area of career and college readiness. We will maintain and strengthen our collaboration with both the City of Minneapolis and the District by aligning work plans, maintaining strong relationships and sharing data and information. We will continue to play a leadership and convening role in both the Minneapolis Local College Access Network and in the Career Readiness Collaborative. Through the work of these networks, we see the opportunity to enhance the collective quality and efficiency of career and college readiness programming throughout the city. We will identify and clarify an appropriate role in the Generation Next College and Career Readiness network and support its focus on data and outcomes. 4. We will cultivate an engaged public that increasingly understands the issues of public education and is committed to improving outcomes for all children. Like all urban school districts, the challenges facing Minneapolis Public Schools are immense and the schools cannot solve them alone. As its closest nonprofit partner, AchieveMpls has a special role to play in helping the public better understand the issues and challenges in 4 AchieveMpls Strategic Plan

6 urban education and identifying opportunities to champion improved outcomes for MPS students. We will help to mobilize a wider community effort to improve outcomes for young people, especially with regard to career and college readiness. We will educate and inform the public about public education, MPS, career and college readiness and the reality of our students lives. We will provide opportunities for both individuals and groups to become involved with our schools as informed citizens, active volunteers, donors, employers and long- term partners for change. When called for, we will engage in advocacy to publicly communicate and support the approaches and policies necessary to achieve the desired results within MPS. Any AchieveMpls advocacy efforts would flow from the priorities established by the Superintendent of MPS. 5. We will ensure the financial sustainability of AchieveMpls, help to increase the financial resources available for career and college readiness, and collaborate with MPS to raise private resources for strategic priorities of the superintendent. Annual risk and opportunity assessments and financial modeling will be conducted to determine goal, target and safe budgets. We will actively maintain current corporate and foundation funder relationships as well as expanding the number of new institutional philanthropic supporters. Through diverse development and community engagement efforts, we will increase the number and diversity of individuals interested in funding efforts to improve educational attainment in the city. Working closely with MPS, we will ensure that annual joint fundraising targets are met. We will identify and pursue national funding opportunities for both AchieveMpls and MPS. We believe the data system that is currently in development will make us an especially strong candidate for national funding. 5 AchieveMpls Strategic Plan

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