The Forsyth Promise began in 2008 as the Community Education Collaborative (CEC) by coordinating programs and strategies to increase high school graduation rates. Through this process, we learned that to truly improve student outcomes, we must strengthen and improve our community’s cradle-to-career pipeline. With this goal in mind, the CEC connected with StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to bring communities together around data to make decisions and improve results for kids. In 2014, with support from StriveTogether, the CEC became The Forsyth Promise. As we greet 2019, there is an extraordinary level of activity and investment underway in Forsyth County’s educational system: not just in dollars, but in human capital: passion, intelligence, and dedication. Our community is building capacity and momentum to impact student outcomes. Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools is pursuing promising, innovative work through Project Impact; Inspire 340 Schools; Transitions to K; and Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning; among many others. The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has made a $40 million, 10-year investment in young children through Great Expectations, and there is strong, collaborative work underway to build a more extensive PreK and childcare infrastructure through WS/FCS, Family Services, Smart Start, and the Forsyth County Department of Social Services. And yet the data in this report is clear: although many measures are improving or holding steady for aggregated students, our system is not working for all students. There are significant disparities in outcomes across all measures for which disaggregated data is available. These disparities fall along racial / ethnic and socio-economic lines. The difficult challenges we face will not be quickly or easily resolved. They require our community to build new relationships, work across sectors, coordinate, and align. New solutions require a willingness to change the ways we think and work. The Promise is here to simplify and facilitate this process. We are here to help make the connections that lead Forsyth County down a path of educational equity and academic excellence for all students. We are honored to be entrusted with this critical role in our community and excited to collaborate with you on the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2019. Let’s get to work.
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