The Washington Student Achievement Council is a cabinet-level state agency tasked with improving student success and educational attainment from kindergarten through graduate school. It is led by a council of Governor appointees and representatives from the education sector.
In its first month in existence, the Council received a mandate to create a strategic plan within a short timeframe. To make matters more complicated, the organizations whose activities the Council was expected to coordinate were many and were spread throughout the state. Time was short and the effort needed was daunting.
Coraggio Group was retained to conduct a statewide stakeholder outreach campaign. Together, the Council and Coraggio launched a “listening tour” consisting of daylong events in ten Washington cities. These meetings brought together specific stakeholders from education, government, business, education-focused nonprofits, and interested community members. In one-on-one interviews, small-group roundtable discussions, and open public forums, Council members solicited input as to what is and is not working for education in Washington. These meetings served not just to identify challenges to student achievement, but also to debate solutions to them.
Throughout the project, Coraggio led and coordinated the multiple touch points involved, including status reports, conducting an online survey and building an engagement website, assembling field updates and press kits, and working in parallel with a coordinated media engagement.
The work culminated in a report that highlighted six main themes that were heard consistently around the state. It served as the basis for the Council’s development of a Ten-Year Strategic Roadmap for greater educational achievement in Washington. The face-to-face interactions during the listening tour allowed different stakeholder groups to nurture relationships and understand how they could jointly champion issues about which they shared a mutual passion.
“ Coraggio Group has been invaluable in bringing a myriad of diverse stakeholders together, giving them the chance to be heard, facilitating productive discussions, synthesizing that input into actionable themes for our plan development, and most importantly, helping us to continue a dialogue with those stakeholders. ”
— Marty Brown, Retired Council Member
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