Atlanta Workshop Lessons Learned

Atlanta Workshop Lessons Learned

Atlanta March 2nd & 3rd Workshop Convening

The Georgia Department of Education hosted a two day workshop on March 2nd and 3rd to assist NSF INCLUDES Launch Pilots and similar CS/STEM initiatives to learn about designing and implementing collective impact and backbone functions. There were only a few individuals from the Digital Scholar course who also participated in the Atlanta Workshop. The presenters and facilitators from the Atlanta Convening can be found in this PDF list.

A co-marketing effort was conducted to promote both the Digital Scholar course as well as the Atlanta Workshop. The following ‘landing page’ was developed to promote the course and to assist participants to access all necessary information at one location: http://learning.foundation/ci-atl/. The landing page was kept updated on a daily basis.

The first day of the workshop was focused on providing an engaging and in-depth training on the collective impact model and backbone functions. It was led by one of the leaders of the collective impact movement, Jeff Edmondson of StriveTogether. The second day of the workshop built on the knowledge gained on the first day by helping participants draft their backbone functions for implementation and helping them practice presenting their project to potential supporters and partners.

Youtube links to the conference live stream:
Day 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPQOwpygl5M
Day 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTmIlSnWpxw

March 2nd Workshop Results

Participants were supposed to:

  • Gain understanding of collective impact based on real-world examples to achieve results at scale
  • Establish results for your target population and related strategies
  • Outline roles of backbone staff and partners engaged to achieve desired results
  • Develop sustainable plan for organizing the community to achieve measurable
TIME CONVERSATION

7:30 – 8:30 am

 

Registration and Breakfast

Biscuits (egg/cheese, sausage/egg/cheese), Bagel & cream cheese, Roasted Potatoes, Yogurt cups with fruit and granola, Coffee/Tea

8:30 – 9:30 am

 

Welcome, Data Walk, and Check In

Result: Participants are joined to the day’s work.

9:30 – 10:00 am

Overview of Collective Impact to Achieve Results at Scale

Result: Participants gain an understanding of the core elements of Collective Impact and Results Accountability.

10:00 – 10:45 am

Defining Population and Program Level Results

Result:  Participants develop population and program level results and set informed goals.

10:45 – 11:00 am Break

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

 

Starting with the End: Results in the Center

Result: Participants understand that achieving better results requires aligned action and contributions in role by multiple stakeholders.

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Lunch – Dialogue on Arts and STEM

Chicken or substitute, sun dried tomatoes, goat cheese in lemon basil sauce.  Plus roasted potatoes, green beans, and salad.  Sweet/unsweet tea, lemonade, and water.  Apple pie and brownies for dessert.

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Backbone Roles:  Adaptive and Technical Leadership

Result: Participants understand adaptive and technical leadership and how it relates to the backbone function.

2:00 – 2:45 pm

Backbone Functions

Result: Participants understand adaptive and technical leadership and how it relates to the backbone function.

2:45 – 3:00 pm Break

Based on the goals for Day 1 of the Atlanta Workshop, the following was achieved:

  • Gain understanding of collective impact based on real-world examples to achieve results at scale
    • The participants experienced many real world examples from actual initiatives that Jeff Edmondson has led or assisted with over the last twenty years. Mr. Edmondson led all the participants through a ‘Data Walk’ exercise that helped them concretely understand the importance of using population and location specific data trends to guide all collective impact planning efforts. Below are the main examples of documents he posted on a wall for the ‘Data Walk’. Participants reviewed them and then Mr. Edmondson facilitated a discussion about which data slides were actually helpful and which ones were incomplete or not helpful. He helped the group identify the quality of the data required to have a meaningful planning process for a community initiative.
    • Participants reviewed them and then Mr. Edmondson facilitated a discussion about which data slides were actually helpful and which ones were incomplete or not helpful. He helped the group identify the quality of the data required to have a meaningful planning process for a community initiative. Here are some tools to help you prepare your data for meaningful discussion and identifying priorities for action
  • Establish results for your target population and related strategies
    • After learning from real world examples of collective impact, Mr. Edmondson facilitated an exercise that helped the participants to create their own project’s results.
    • Participants then took turns reviewing each other’s work, asking questions, and providing suggestions. This exercise allowed them to begin articulating their goals and to also quickly see many other examples of similar initiatives that were under development. This exercise not only forced the participants to begin articulating their proposed initiative but it also helped them realize that they were not alone in their learning journey. These PPTs and PDFs are the handouts he used to help facilitate the group’s learning process.
  • Outline roles of backbone staff and partners engaged to achieve desired results
    • Once each group had a better grasp of collective impact planning and the importance of using reliable data to set target population results, Jeff Edmondson conducted a training on how to build Backbone Functions for collective impact-like initiatives. The PDF provides the document he used as a reference for his talk.
  • Develop sustainable plan for organizing the community to achieve measurable results
    • Finally, Mr. Edmondson led a discussion on leveraging existing resources and adding additional resources to maximize the impact of a community initiative.
    • Below are samples of ‘commitment’ statements made by the participants to quickly begin applying what they learned from the first day of training.

March 3rd Workshop Results

The second day of the workshop was co-led by Dr. Caitlin Dooley and Mr. Khurram “Ko” Hassan.
Participants will:

  • Be able to articulate the focus of their initiative
  • Be able to describe the backbone functions they need to make their collect effort succeed
  • Receive expert feedback on potential ways to improve their strategy
  • Determine what additional training/technical assistance could help collective impact initiatives
TIME CONVERSATION

7:30 – 8:30 am

 

Registration and Breakfast

Biscuits (egg/cheese, sausage/egg/cheese), Bagel & cream cheese, Roasted Potatoes, Yogurt cups with fruit and granola, Coffee/Tea

8:30 – 9:00 am

 

Check In, Day 1 Review, Day 2 Agenda, Panel Intros

Result: Participants able to connect 1st day to 2nd day of training and ready for flash talks

9:00 – 11:00 am

Flash Talks

Result: Participants present their commitments to achieve meaningful results and receive individual feedback

11:00 – 12:00 pm

Common Themes and Discussion

Result:  Participants are able to identify common challenges and solutions as well as connect with peers focused on the same strategies

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Lunch – CS4All Consortium Staff Share CSNYC Story

Sandwiches (turkey & provolone, veggie wraps, ham & swiss, roast beef & cheddar), salad boxes (with and without meat), fruit tray, Mediterranean pasta salad, potato chips, cookies, sweet/unsweet tea and lemonade.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

 

What Will Be Needed Begin Implementing Proposed Commitments

Result: Participants work with facilitators to determine what training and support they will need to implement their initiatives

2:00 – 3:00 pm

Lessons Learned – Training and Support So Far

Result: Participants will determine what collective impact/backbone function training and resources have been helpful and which ones could be improved

3:00 – 3:30 pm

Wrap Up and Meeting Evaluation

Result: Participant training goals vs. results

Based on the goals for Day 2 of the Atlanta Workshop, the following was achieved:

  • Be able to articulate the focus of their initiative
  • Be able to describe the backbone functions they need to make their collect effort succeed
  • Receive expert feedback on potential ways to improve their strategy
  • Determine what additional training/technical assistance could help collective impact initiative

Each participant/Launch Pilot team was informed on Day 1 that they will be strongly encouraged to present ‘Flash Talks’ on their proposed collective impact effort and the backbone functions they developed on Day 1.  Dr. Christopher Allers, Ph.D., and Ms. Ariane Weldon, MPH who are local experts on implementing collective impact-like initiatives were asked to serve as panelists to observe the ‘CI/Backbone Flash Talks’.  They provided each presenter with their real world experience feedback and suggestions.  Mr. Hassan kept the process engaging, affirming, and fun.  After having experienced a very intensive Day 1 with Jeff Edmondson driving home his training points, the ‘Flash Talks’ with our expert panelists provided an outlet for all the participants to quickly express what they were working on and get helpful advice

  • Flash Talk’ Guidance was provided to the participants
  • Ariane Weldon shared a Georgia collective impact success story from the ‘Get Georgia Reading’ initiative
  • Participants practiced how to share/present their collective impact goals and backbone function needs.  Here is a sample of the incredible Collective Impact ‘Flash Talks’ that some of the participants created.  The other participants presented using handwritten notes.
  • During the afternoon Dr. Dooley and Mr. Hassan facilitated a discussion on how to determine if an initiative is actually ready to implement a collective impact model.  The ‘Collective Impact Readiness Assessment’ PDF from the FSG Collective Impact Forum was referenced by the trainers to help participants reflect on their two days of training and to help them determine how ready they are for implementing a collective impact model.
  • Finally, the participants discussed how they felt about the collective impact and backbone function trainings and resources that they have had access to recently.  They appreciated all the effort being made to help them understand the concepts and apply them to their projects.  However, most participants still felt that the topic still felt abstract to them.  Several participants actually appreciated that the trainers helped them to realize that a true collective impact effort was not relevant to their project.  Many participants felt that they had ‘permission’ to adapt the best ideas from different models and try to test it on their project.
  • The Atlanta Workshop Participants were extremely appreciative of the training they experienced.  The two most impactful experiences in Atlanta’s Workshop were
    1. Mr. Jeff Edmondson’s almost ‘preacher’ like intensity and experience that forced them to deal with the detailed and data driven work involved in collective impact strategies, and
    2. Dr. Dooley and Mr. Hassan’s encouraging participants to begin trying out their ideas instead of just staying in adesign phase.
  • All the participants received certificates for completing the workshop.  We ended the two day training with group photos and an uplifting video from Dr. Chad Womack (Director of UNCF STEM Initiatives) that showed the STEM Scholars Program that the the UNCF launched recently.

Three Month Post-Workshop Survey

Three months after the workshop, we surveyed the participants to see their project’s status and to ask them to assess the effectiveness of the training.

Main Goals
They stated that their main goals for attending the workshop were to (in order of frequency of mentions):

  • Learn more about collective impact and backbone structure
  • Meet others with interest in improving CS education
  • Plan on implementing our collective impact CS/STEM initiative

Status of Current Collective Impact Like Effort

They indicated that their project was at the following stage of development/implantation (they were allowed to select multiple stages). Several initiatives have made significant progress since the Atlanta Workshop but most are still beginning to implement their collective impact planning process.

Table 3.  Collective impact implementation progress by participants’ projects

Stage Achievement
Still at initial discussion stage, have not engaged any stakeholders yet 6
Held first planning meetings with diverse initiative stakeholders to begin determining goals of initiative 4
Have developed a clear and focused result statement such as ‘We will increase the number of high school students taking CS AP exams by 100% in Atlanta by 2018’ 3
The diverse collective group has identified the necessary strategies to achieve the focused result 4
Diverse work groups that represent our stakeholders have formed to help achieve the strategies 3
A governance structure has been created (such as a steering committee and by laws) 3
We have identified our necessary backbone functions as well as hired/assigned staff to each function 3
Our strategies, work groups, governance, and backbone functions have been in place for some time and we are making progress towards our big result statement 2

 

To What Degree Did the Atlanta Workshop Contribute to Your Goals for Designing and/or Implementing Collective Impact-Like CS/STEM efforts?

The vast majority of the respondents indicated that the Atlanta Workshop had a significant impact on their planning efforts.  A very positive result of our efforts.

Table 4.  Impact of Atlanta Workshop on participant project goals

Impact Level Response
SIGNIFICANTLY helped us to advance on using CI/Backbone Design in our initiative 62.5%
SOMEWHAT helped us to advance on using CI/Backbone Design in our initiative 31.3%
DID NOT help us to advance on using CI/Backbone Design in our initiative 0%
NOT SURE 6.2%

 

Reasons for Indicating Atlanta Workshop Had An Impact

The following list summarizes the reasons respondents stated that our Atlanta Convening had an impact on their planning/training needs.  Listed in order of frequency from highest to lowest frequency.

  1. Helped us understand that the Backbone Function does not require a large staff support. We realized that it could be just one person.
  2. Trainers took into account individual needs of each initiative. Walked us through each step in the process.  ‘Data Walk’ was such a useful process.
  3. Having the NSF staff there was very helpful to clarify expectations.
  4. Made great contacts that I have reached out to since the workshop.
  5. Only improvement would have been to spend more time with fellow Launch Pilot collaborators and our PI before we had to go back to our institutions in different states.

Click here to see the list of Participants in the NSF INCLUDES sponsored Digital Scholar online course for developing CI for CS Backbone Function Projects

Click here to see the list of Participants in the NSF INCLUDES sponsored in person Atlanta Workshop on CI for CS Backbone Design’

The Atlanta Workshop Convening had a much higher participation rate from Launch Pilots.  We were able to help connect peer CS/STEM broadening participation initiatives and have them learn together from someone with national expertise on collective impact and backbone function design.  They were able to test out their initial broadening participation ideas and therefore speed up their learning curve on collective impact and backbone functions.

Jeff Edmondson’s recommendations for CS/STEM Initiatives attempting Collective Impact/Backbone Design

Recommendations from Atlanta’s Conference Organizers for Future INCLUDES Trainings’