Friendship Schools’ Alumni Day: An Exciting P20 CONNECTS Collective Impact Initiative Program

January 27, 2021

By Taylor Gates, CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Collective Impact Initiative

CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Salma Rashid, is building a lasting community of support by coordinating Alumni Affairs at Friendship Public Charter Schools in DC. Each year, Friendship hosts an alumni event for their current and past students to mingle and inspire each other. Just before the holiday break, Salma helped organize Alumni Week, working with partners to make the event Zoom-friendly amid the pandemic.

This year Alumni Day consisted of a college panel, a career panel, and advisory chats, all designed for alumni to have opportunities to share the wisdom from their experiences with current students. A pillar of CCMA’s Collective Impact Initiative and its pilot program, P20 CONNECTS, is a habit of reflection among program participants that empowers them to identify and develop a range of 21st century skills, attitudes, and understandings (Habits of the Mind and Heart) needed to be successful in college, career, and civic life. Aligned with this pedagogy, Salma and the Alumni Office reached out to CCMA’s Collective Impact and P20 CONNECTS Team and they worked together to create an exit survey to encourage students to reflect on what they learned and how they might apply this knowledge to change their behavior and reach their goals, as well as assess the impact of the event.

The promising results from this exit survey indicate that this event prompted students to think about their thinking and make changes in their habits to help them live a happy successful life. In the exit survey, the students were asked if Alumni Day helped them:

  • Feel more prepared for college,
  • Better understand what steps to take in order to achieve their career goals, and
  • Feel more encouraged to be involved in their community.

Over 80% of the respondents indicated “yes” or “sort of” to each of the three questions. In the open response sections, students identified specific topics they learned more about and would now act on moving forward. Their insights included the topics of time management, persistence, and being open-minded: three of the Habits of Mind targeted by the Collective Impact Initiative. This is a shining example of how CCMA’s programs can engage a network of support to foster college and career readiness, inspire civic engagement, and spark critical thinking.

The driving force behind CCMA is to empower those in our communities to build effective and strong networks of their own. In conjunction with member institutions, CCMA has identified an opportunity to address poverty and tackle inequity through supporting college, career, and civic readiness in individuals and communities in the region. CCMA’s P20 CONNECTS program, which launched in 2018 as a pilot program for the Collective Impact Initiative, centers these objectives as a vital component in the education-focused VISTA programs that it supports at member institutions. An important aspect of this project is CCMA’s ability to measure and track common objectives and effectiveness in reaching these goals.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, the P20 CONNECTS program consists of six VISTA projects, all of which are working to foster college, career, and civic readiness through reflection and deep meaning-making in participants, while also creating strong networks to assist in realizing these goals.

For more information on Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic’s Collective Impact Initiative or P20 CONNECTS, please contact Jim Walters.

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