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Now is the time for Michigan high school seniors to pursue college dreams

State Superintendent of the Michigan Department of Education Brian Whiston recently provided guest commentary to Bridge Magazine supporting Michigan College Month. The following is an excerpt from his piece. To read the full op-ed, please visit Bridge Magazine.

Gov. Rick Snyder declared October “Michigan College Month” and I’m proud to support the governor and other education organizations’ efforts to increase postsecondary education in Michigan.

Getting students focused on a path that excites and inspires them will help prepare them for postsecondary success and a fulfilling career. Our goal to have Michigan become a Top 10 education state in 10 years will assist our students in this effort and drive a prosperous Michigan now and into the future.

Michigan College Month aims to help ease the stress of the college application process by dedicating time and resources to ensure all high school seniors have submitted at least one college application, applied for at least one scholarship and have filed the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Special efforts are being made to reach out to low-income students and to students who would be the first in their family to attend college.

Last year, the Governor appointed two powerful commissions, comprised of experts in their respective fields. These leaders spent months examining data to better understand the education and economic needs of Michigan in the years to come.  The result of these commissions was the 21st Century Education Commission and 21st Century Economic Commission reports.

The biggest takeaway from each report?...Continue Reading

 

Posted: Oct. 23, 2017

Maritime Academy: Participant Reflections, Part Two

Since 2012, the Michigan College Access Network has hosted Maritime Academy, a three-day, intensive dive into the Collective Impact framework as applied to Local College Access Networks. This invite-only, intimate gathering of LCAN Coordinators and Leadership Team members from across the state and country are selected to join the staff for a comprehensive training. Last month marked the fifth year of Maritime Academy. This blog is the second of a two-part series that includes testimonials from several Maritime Academy graduates.  

 

Danielle Funderburg 
Board Trustee, Romulus Community Schools
Leadership Team Member, Wayne County College Access Network

"I’ve been a champion of college access for over six years and I thought I had a grasp of what collective impact was until Maritime Academy schooled me, now I have my ‘constituent-sea’ legs (I’ll tell you about that in a minute) and needless to say, I experienced several Ah-ha moments, or in this case “Ahoy”!

Once I got past the ambiance of Hotel Indigo’s eco-friendly hotel theme connecting me to mother earth, the whimsical nautical charm of Traverse City and its gorgeous lake view, and humming Christopher Cross’ 1980 song “Sailing”, I got right down to business, digging for the hidden treasures in Collective Impact. I was in great company with other LCANs locally and as far as Iowa, Colorado and Florida.

My first Ah-ha was; collective impact feels unnatural at first, but when executed with fidelity it can and should produce an LCAN that is not only productive, but also laser focused on its common agenda using shared measurements.  That got me thinking; it has always been exactly that—awkward! Having several high level leaders in a room hashing out the specifics, on HOW to solve a problem is cumbersome. It’s easy to have a small group of individuals come up with a plan for change, but in all actuality, that wouldn’t be enough to put a dent in a massive goal, especially the one MCAN’s got. Collective impact takes many constituents (organizations) in a sea of opportunity mobilizing, making college accessible and degree/certification attainable.

My next Ah-ha was—collective impact is triune and most authentic when you have a Leadership Team with high level thinking making decisions that bring about policy and system changes. An LCAN Coordinator as captain of the ship making sure that all the organizations and resources are aligned and available so the proposed destination can be reached and a strong anchor that can help support the direction of the LCAN without interfering with the “process”. Personally, this trinity is the framework my LCAN should review to move us off the sandbar. 

I had other revelatory moments but my major take away from this training, (besides my head exploding from all of the valuable information pumped in it over the three day period), was—this is HARD, continuous work! The leadership team can’t get complacent on decision-making. The LCAN coordinator must establish continuous communication for the network, align resources and facilitate the collective impact process and the anchor has to be comfortable with being the silent partner. Lastly, everything [common agenda, shared measurement systems, alignment, action steps, communication, and backbone support] is (and should be) connected to everything else when charting a course.

This training is a must-have in acquiring a deeper understanding of collective impact as it pertains to college access. 

So, was Cross singing about college access?  It’s Possible!

Sailing takes me away, to where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me, And soon I will be free

Bon Voyage!"

 

Margie Haas 
Coordinator, Barry Career Access Network

"Thank you to MCAN for allowing me to return to Maritime Academy this year with two of our Leadership Team board members. My expectations were greatly exceeded. By attending the academy as a team we strengthen our commitment to the vision of Goal 2025. Learning the elements of Collective Impact and how to facilitate implementation was vital as a team. We had great conversations about the steps in the Collective Impact process that we’ve already accomplished and where we want to go. Personally, I now have two additional people that can speak to our initiative. It won’t be just me talking! Going forward we will review, revisit for revisions, recommit to Goal 2025 as a team."

 
 

 

 

Author: Sarah Anthony, Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Posted: Sept. 12, 2017

 

Maritime Academy: Participant Reflections, Part One

Since 2012, the Michigan College Access Network has hosted Maritime Academy, a three-day, intensive dive into the Collective Impact framework as applied to Local College Access Networks. This invite-only, intimate gathering of LCAN Coordinators and Leadership Team members from across the state and country are selected to join the staff for a comprehensive training. Last month marked the fifth year of Maritime Academy. This blog is the first of a two-part series that includes testimonials from several Maritime Academy graduates.  

 

Doug Wright
Coordinator, Midland Career & College Access Network

"I went to MCAN’s Maritime Academy not really knowing what to expect. I had been in my job as an LCAN coordinator for about three weeks and was still trying to wrap my head around my position as it related to my county, my state, and most importantly, Michigan students. Maritime Academy truly helped clarify many of my questions. The presentations covered step by step how to begin an LCAN through how to continuously improve a highly functioning LCAN. This structure ensured that everyone in the room had valuable takeaways at the end of the three days.  For me, the Academy clarified my LCAN’s past and provided an understanding of the theory that went into getting us to our current stage of development. I then learned how to take the next steps to help our LCAN reach its full potential. The brilliance of the presentations is that the same was true for everyone else in the room, regardless of where their LCAN is on the developmental spectrum.

The speakers were energetic, engaging, interesting and informative. It is rare that I find a discussion about data or collective impact, to name just two examples, interesting. Maritime Academy succeeded in my eyes where many before had failed. The consistent use of humor, audience participation, as well as the much more important aspect of conveying information that was both societally important and personally necessary to do my job had me hooked. Each speaker was effective and obviously was an expert in their field. 

The speakers also made it abundantly clear that our connection with them does not end with the end of Maritime Academy. Each speaker, in multiple presentations, announced many times that they were not only available for consultation but that they welcomed those discussions. They offered, numerous times, to come to our Leadership Team and Action Team meetings to provide whatever assistance or guidance we as local coordinators may need.

As someone who has all the normal insecurities that go with starting a new position, especially a position where students’ lives can be impacted positively or negatively based on my performance, I am glad to have the MCAN team in my corner. Whether you are a new coordinator, new Leadership Team member, or in some other way working with an LCAN, I highly suggest you make plans to attend the Maritime Academy. It will provide valuable education which will greatly increase your chances of being successful."

 

Angelica Gallegos
Service Center Manager, Allegan-Barry County West Michigan Works!
Leadership Team Board Member, Barry Career Access Network 

"Attending Maritime Academy as a member of the leadership team was a great educational experience. The benefits of understanding the structure of collective impact, the structure of an LCAN, the responsibilities of the various pieces and parts of that LCAN was enlightening.

In terms of the presentations themselves, I considered them outstanding! Each section was again, well structured, clear, and delivered with a depth of knowledge and passion that was easily seen. The necessity for collective impact is unquestionable.  Its benefits are far reaching, and touch all industries all institutions all organizations. With that being said, the most important facet of this work is the educational attainment of our students. Our students deserve our best efforts, and collective impact is the mechanism by which to accomplish this."

 

 

Author: Sarah Anthony, Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Posted: Sept. 6, 2017

 

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