October 21, 2015

WOW, all I can say is WOW! A little over a week ago Lorna Dilley (Data Manager), Tim Coughlin (Kindergarten Readiness Partnership Manager), Jonathan Dunn (College & Career Goal Manager) and I attended the 2015 StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network Convening in Minneapolis Minnesota.

The theme was “Mission Possible-Agents of Transformational Change.” Nearly 400 partners, funders, public and community leaders and others participated in workshops, deep-dive sessions and plenary sessions covering such topics as “Race Matters!,” “A Courageous Conversation About How Educators Achieve Systemic Equity Transformation,” “Anyone Can Do It: Build Your Own Summer Learning Initiative,” and “Nothing Moves Without Engagement-Community Development in Collective Impact.” For a nice recap from StriveTogether, click here.

We were inspired by speakers such as our Nancy Zimpher (former Chancellor of UWM); Dan Heath (author and change agent); Glen Singleton (noted race relations consultant), RT Rybak (former Minneapolis Mayor), and Jeff Edmundson (Strive Founder).  Lorna and I co-facilitated a workshop highlighting our Transformational Reading Initiative (TRI) which was wonderfully engaging, Pat Greco (Superintendent School District of Menomonee Falls) facilitated a spirited and uplifting panel presentation highlighting three examples of “Changing Systems One Practice at a Time,” and Jeff Neubauer and his team from Higher Expectations for Racine County Youth presented a workshop on “How to Make Collective Impact Work.” And best yet, we renewed our collective commitment to achieving our benchmarks of improving educational outcomes for all children, cradle to career!

We are not alone in this movement for our kids! What a great feeling to know that though the work is hard, and our journey will be long, we are not alone and we are strong!

I wrote down lots of quotes ... here are a few of my favorites:
  • “Though data is important, data is also a way that we can avoid getting to action.”
  • “Testing has never been a measure of success for eliminating poverty in this Country.”
  • “Policy is the route to sustainable change.”
  • “We move at the speed of trust; that’s when you can do amazing things.”
  • “Partners who stay and play achieve outcomes; the ones who don’t, don’t.”
  • You need “to move from collective impact to collective ownership.”
  • “If I send an A student to an F community, all of a sudden he has a C life.”
  • “The best motivator is visible progress on meaningful work.”
  • “What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.”

One of the best pieces of advice from Dan Heath was to focus on what’s working and how we can clone it-finding the bright spots and doing more of what makes them bright. He went on to say “there is as much to be learned from success as there is from failure.” This made so much sense to me; we need to motivate as we replicate and drive for impact.

Dan also shared a few of our best practices and bright spots in his PowerPoint. Take a look:

Suffice it to say, Milwaukee Succeeds is on the map, and a part of a national movement for our kids! We couldn’t be in greater company. Thanks for all you’re doing to act and commit to working hard for our kids!

See you soon,


Danae Davis  |  Executive Director
Milwaukee Succeeds
101 W. Pleasant St., Suite 210, Milwaukee, WI 53212
Direct: 414.336.7057


If someone forwarded you this “Hey it’s Danae” message and you would like to receive it directly, please send your email address to Kia Towns. Thanks!


Milwaukee Succeeds is a broad-based, communitywide collaboration that aims to improve educational outcomes for every child in Milwaukee, in every school, cradle to career.
Copyright © 2015 Milwaukee Succeeds, All rights reserved.

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