What is the Decade of Difference?
The Decade of Difference is a ten year community initiative designed to prepare our youth to be contributing and productivemembers in our society, community and economy.
This will be achieved through strategic efforts focused on kindergarten readiness, early literacy in reading and math, financial literacy, college and career planning, creative and innovative entrepreneurship activities, teacher training and professional development, and parent, business and community engagement.
For more information, check out our story.
Who funds the Decade of Difference?
The primary funders of the Initiative include the Headwater’s Fund Board along with Humboldt County Office of Education.
North Coast employers told the Headwaters Fund Board in Humboldt County the most significant issue they were facing was their inability to find a ready, willing, and capable workforce. If this is not addressed, the long term implications threaten the very health and viability of our families, communities, and economy. The Headwaters Fund Board approved the investment of 1.5 million dollars and issued a call to the community to become involved and help reverse these sobering trends. Humboldt County Office of Education agreed to be the backbone agency and contributes more than $500,000 per year to support the Initiative’s efforts. In addition, many individuals, organizations, and community partners have come forward to offer their investment of time in the form of volunteerism, workgroup participation, and more. Additionally, the United Way of the Wine Country helps to offset a portion of the costs associated with supporting the Schools of Hope/Early Literacy Partners Program.
Who's involved in the initiative?
We have several community partners connected to the Decade of Difference in many ways. Some are directly involved in helping to fund specific programs and projects, while some contribute time and human resources. This is a community initiative so we are always interested in getting more people involved and listening to your thoughts, feedback, and ideas. Please contact us to learn more.
How do I become a volunteer?
We have many volunteer opportunities depending on your time and interest. Contact Jenny Bowen
, Community Outreach Coordinator, to find out how to get more involved call (707) 441-4552 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
, or refer to a particular Impact Area
for specific contact information.
How do I learn if my child's school is participating in the initiative?
is a map and list of participating schools.
How were the strategies and impact areas for the initiative selected?
Research strongly shows that a long term strategy where families, schools, and communities work together will be required to equip our students with 21st century skills that they will need to experience academic, social, and economic success. The Initiative strategies and related impact areas have been selected as there is strong evidence that demonstrates a positive correlation between each as they relate to future educational and vocational success. Unfortunately, there is often little emphasis on these essential life skills in the formal educational setting. In partnership with the community, the Initiative is changing this by incorporating increased focus and attention on the impact areas.
Who determines what activities will be provided to participating schools?
Each Impact Area is supported by workgroups which are comprised of area educators, experts from the field, and interested community members. Each workgroup meets several times per year and has developed specific action plans that outline their priorities and related activities. Initiative staff works with each participating school to inform them of the available activities and resources and assists each school to determine what their specific areas of need are relative to the offerings. Initiative staff then coordinates the delivery of these programs and activities in partnership with the schools.
What is the organizational structure of the initiative?
In many ways, the Initiative is a grass roots endeavor. A variety of community stakeholders identified the Initiative’s Impact Areas as they related to improving literacy, high school graduation rates, and post-secondary participation. Workgroups were assembled with key stakeholders and interested community members to develop action plans relating to best practices and the needs of our region’s youth. These workgroups are supported by workgroup leads. These leads are most frequently members from the community who have specific impact area related expertise. The Workgroup Leads meet with members of the Initiative Operations Leadership Team to present their proposed action plans and to present needed resources in order to carry out those plans. Members from the Initiative Operations Leadership Team (many of whom are employees of Humboldt County Office of Education) prioritize the activities based upon relative needs and available resources. The Operations Leadership Teams meets with the Initiative Steering Committee quarterly to share action plan implementation progress as well as to review current and subsequent year’s priorities. The Steering Committee provides invaluable feedback and suggestions to the Operations Leadership Team as well as serves as a champion on behalf of the Initiative. Participating schools ultimately decide which activities they are most interested in based on the options that are provided to them by Initiative staff
Who is on the steering committee?
How are you monitoring the impact of the initiative?
There are many ways in which we are monitoring the Initiative’s impact. Where quantitative data is available, we have been collecting it to look for longitudinal trends that correlate with our goals and related efforts. We have gathered baseline data (prior to Initiative implementation) and are looking for evidence of growth over time. If growth is not observed, we will review what can be done to strengthen the activity or in some cases redirect resources to other activities that are showing a positive relationship to reaching our goals.
In addition to quantitative data, we rely on testimonials, survey results, and other qualitative information to develop further correlations. We make concerted efforts to include program and activity evaluations as part of our services so we are able to improve, learn, and develop over time. Several educators as well as the private industry representative have provided us with input and suggestions relative to measures they believe are important for us to monitor.those suggestions have been incorporated into our evaluation framework plan.