Welcome to the first edition of Ed-U-Chat, the Alachua County Education Compact (ACEC) newsletter.

Last year, I went on a journey to learn more about community capability building and ways to build the capacity of the Alachua County Education Compact. Community capacity building is defined as the “process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes, and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in the fast-changing world.” I was privileged to learn, through the Florida College Access Network (FCAN), of a grant offered by the Helios and Kresge Foundations through the University of South Florida that assists organizations with their capacity building processes. The ACEC is a Local College Access Network (LCAN) and a member of FCAN. The grant required applicants to complete an education assessment survey by Jana Ertrachter of the Ertrachter Group.

Jana’s assessment focused on the elements of the Collective Impact Model. The Collective Impact Model, the operational model of the Compact, brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. Jana assessed the external environment, common agenda, backbone infrastructure, shared measurement system, resources, learning culture, and mutually reinforcing activities of the Compact; and provided seven recommendations to build the capacity of the Compact.

Per Jana’s recommendation, the Compact Leadership Council, the governing body of the Compact, is working to implement a community asset map, an internal and external communications plan, and a fundraising plan to build and sustain the capacity of the ACEC. Santa Fe College’s Associate Vice President of Economic Development Dug Jones chairs the Council. The ACEC and Council look forward to the growth that will derive from the implementation of these tactics. Meanwhile, let’s take a glance through ACEC’s development over this year, thus far.

The Compact:

  1. Worked with local restaurant, Reggae Shack, to sponsor East Side High School’s At-Risk Student/Parent dinner. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Six.
  2. Worked with Karen Clarke, who served as Deputy Superintendent at the time, to identify local businesses that would support student participation in the 2017 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. We identified sponsors for more than 30 Alachua County Public School students. Eight teams, from J.J. Finley and Norton Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School, participated in the world championship. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy One.
  3. Sponsored a luncheon at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce for the five superintendent finalists. Also, 21 of 28 Compact Signers or member(s) of their organizations spent a half-day interviewing the superintendent finalists. These initiatives are supported by Compact Strategy Three.
  4. Worked with the Community Foundation of North Central Florida and Gift Certificates & More (GCM) to provide funding in support of the Early Learning Development and The Parent Academy training 112 staff members and gifting each staff member with a year’s subscription to GCM Plus. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Two.
  5. Participated in drafting the Director of Educational Equity’s position and participated on the interview panel. The Alachua County Public Schools invited ACEC to participate. This initiative is supported by Compact Strategy Two.

Featured in this newsletter are the Compact’s strategies and other articles showcasing what ACEC and many of our partners are doing in Alachua County.

The ACEC and our partners are working tirelessly to ensure that our students have the foundational skills they need to succeed in life. How can you help? Well, we are seeking sponsors once again for this month’s Eastside High School’s At-Risk/At-Promise Dinner and FAFSA night events, and Career Discoveries Day, taking place on Saturday, November 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For questions or educational chats, you can reach me at 352.334.7100.

Until next edition,

Ian Fletcher
Vice-President of Educational Attainment
Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce