Monday, February 8, 2010

Seattle College Access Network (SCAN) Retreat

This past Friday, February 5th, SCAN held its first planning retreat where we discussed our collective agreement on the purpose of the network and started setting clear accountability protocols for priorities in 2010 and beyond. As a reminder, SCAN’s purpose is to increase the college–readiness of students among low income, first-generation, and students of color populations, our target population. The goal of our work is to increase the number of students in these populations who apply for, attend, and graduate from college.

SCAN is a coalition of existing college access providers, including community based organizations, Seattle Public Schools (SPS), funders, and advocacy groups. This coalition is currently building a framework to enable regional groups to connect with each other in order to share best practices, provide college access training, and facilitate a forum for understanding key policy issues that affect college access.

During our retreat, we discussed high priority network tasks and activities critical to member success and we reviewed a draft network agreement and decided how to advance its development.

In a nutshell, we started putting some teeth and claws into our membership duties and agreements. SCAN has grown from seven organizations and 14 members to 20 organizations and 40 members. In addition to the aforementioned groups listed above, we were excited have an active student, teacher, and counselor presence in the dialogue. They’re input is critical to the success of our network since they are in the frontlines of all the college readiness work. We are thrilled to have them at the table.

Throughout our retreat, Paul Vandeventer, author of Networks that Work, provided us with a structure to create and sustain an optimal network. We started breaking down our goals and priorities into four distinct subcommittees:
  • Student access
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Research and data development and
  • Governance
We started laying the foundation for our work and it is clear that there are significant challenges ahead. But it is also evident that all participants in the network appeared excited, engaged, and committed to the work of helping our target populations become college-ready. We realize challenges and conflicts will arise but we are off to an amazing start with all members on the same page. We’ll keep the ball moving forward.

Stay tuned …

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