Initial Aspiration Conversations

June, 2011/September, 2011

Jay Connor, The Collaboratory, used the "Working Differently" presentation to discuss how the Aspiration Conversation approach is being used and could be used in our context. Following the presentation, the group was asked the following questions and got the listed responses.

Define "Community"

  • Mid-Hudson Valley (Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange counties) with recognition of the influence of New York City, Albany, and emigrant communities.
  • Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, despite Ulster lagging behind in its way of thinking.
  • Community-every element that has an impact, so beyond county.
  • "Community" depends on what issue you are talking about. Overall-the Hudson Valley is our community, as so many people live in one area and work in another.
  • Dutchess County

What is our education aspiration?

  • Our children see clear connection between education and opportunity; build the skills to compete in the global market and have the opportunity to apply those skills locally.
  • Every child has access to same resources to be stronger, to succeed, to graduate.
  • Graduation from high school. Raise citizens of the world who give back. Sense of community. Skills to be successful (work-ready).
  • We will engage our community by sharing the importance of education and its impact on the community as a whole. Everyone is affected and can be effective!
  • All kids ready for kindergarten. All graduate from high school. Create community contributors. Reevaluate measuring tools. Have people feel they are needed and valued, including those who have no children in school. Does our aspiration change our definition of "Community?"
  • The efforts to educate community members must be tailored to the smaller groups, adding up to the community at large.

Do you have any comments about this morning's discussion?

  • Great presentation for a great cause! Our aspiration or final goal should be to have everyone ready for the "world of work" so they can be successful!
  • Excellent presentation. Refreshing perspective on how to look at/take a root cause issue and mobilize an entire community to organically solve it.
  • Mr. Jay Connor was very informative and made the discussion very interesting.
  • Excellent. Could expand time/those attending to longer "summit."
  • This was incredibly helpful! Jay made the idea of systems thinking feel manageable and applicable to the work we do.
  • More time for collaboration.
  • Speaker is very accurate in talking about a "fragmented" system of services. More networking is necessary.
  • Excellent- thought provoking and visionary.
  • Excellent starting point. Could have been the base for a ½ day planning session. Great message to present to our community leaders, i.e. school superintendents, corporate leaders, college presidents, etc.
  • The discussion was wonderful-however, the schools directly are greatly challenged by state and federal mandates that only focus on test scores and teacher quality and effectiveness. How do you engage the community to support education versus attacking schools at the source of the problems. The community must own the change. Schools need business and community leader support to focus on education as a benefit to the entire community - not just the students in the system. Good education benefits all.
  • Great! Not enough time. We need to meet more often!
  • Outstanding!
  • Excellent opportunity.
  • Great concept. The Hudson valley is filled with many well-intentioned professionals working in silos. More multi-disciplinary teams need to be created and managed to work for common cause.
  • Thank you! This discussion made me aware of the "silos" I am involved in, and that I need to engage differently. What struck me today were the statistics that kept going back to 3rd grade reading. As a parent of children in college, I'm one of those who is no longer as aware of the state test scores for 4th grade and 8th grade math and reading that are published yearly. My kids are beyond that. But, I suspect that these scores are a problem and probably declining. Early intervention is suddenly so clearly important to me, and I need to figure out how to engage. The idea of Community has now a new meaning for me! Thank you!
  • Great presentation; not enough time for discussion.
  • Excellent. Would love to engage this process in my home community, pull more resources into this process. Looking forward to taking this to the next step. I have seen such positive and successful efforts not realize impactful results. I agree that there are a lot of good folks in the Mid-Hudson Valley doing good things but we need to keep coming together more; maximize our resources and common/shared objectives/missions. Thank you for initiating this process!
  • The common sense approach that Jay uses is refreshing. One of the great challenges we have as a community is the fact that we do not have one recognizable place for children to go. Jay opened my eyes to a lot of things that could help Poughkeepsie. Goal: is to have all students graduate. However, the major issues faced are 1.) Early childhood readiness. 2.) Parental involvement in secondary school. 3.) Negative external pressures: DRUGS, GANGS, CRIME. I will share this valuable information.
  • Next Steps: Action groups. Next meeting date: when? Great presentation! Want to move forward on this!!
  • Thanks for the case studies. I would have liked more details about the successful communities.
  • More time. Half day session with more breakfast time and more time to develop action plans.
  • I really enjoyed the segments. Very enlightening.
  • Much good stuff. "Ready for school" and "assessment" not really explained. "Breakout" difficult to work.
  • This morning's discussion was an integral wakeup call as to the relevance of community involvement as well as everyone being focused on the "same movie. " The statistics on reading as being correlated to incarceration makes me aware that we are all responsible for the actions of our community on a local and national level.
  • PLEASE don't let this be yet another discussion that ends with the workshop. This conversation is just as important to support services to low income people. Let's keep going.
  • Your definition of "community"-reaching out to people wanting to accomplish the same goal is a great starting point for change in Dutchess County.

Are there any resources of which we should be aware while looking at the issue of education (web sites, data that's been collected, other groups doing similar work, etc.)?

  • Schools need to tell any group what a child needs to be "ready."
  • This would be an excellent presentation for the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Mid-Hudson Valley Data Management website (CGR)
  • I have collected some statistics on girls and women in STEM education and careers.
  • TASC The After School Corporation; Getting Ready Academy-at-risk, collaborative curriculum.
  • Vera Institute policy brief, October 2010: Getting Teenagers Back to School: Rethinking NYS's Response to Chronic Absence. Governor Cuomo's plan to reform broken juvenile justice system in NYS. Utilizing restorative dialogue in bullying and circles in the classroom. "Re-Engaging Disconnected Youth: Transformative Learning Through Restorative & Social Justice Education," Bentloff, Amy (2011). Boyes, Watson C. 2008. Peascemaking Circles & Urban Youth: Bringing Justice Home. Liveris, Andrew. 2011. Make it in America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy.
  • The experimental project in Rochester, NY called Regional Academy (Regional School?) Bill Cala, leader.
  • The intervention of support between the grades of 2-5 with the concentration of reading will make a significant impact on community future.