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Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Wednesday, November 6

2 - 4 p.m. - Field Trips

Student Success Center at Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Students electing to begin their post-secondary education at community colleges have significantly less success in completing some type of credential. In order to assure the success of Promise programs it is critical to improve this success rate. What are community colleges doing to mitigate student challenges? How are they utilizing their resources and leveraging innovation to move the needle of success? This field trip will introduce one community college’s array of efforts to address these challenges.
Tour Facilitator: Bob Jorth, The Kalamazoo Promise

Southwest Michigan First: Leveraging the Kalamazoo Promise for local economic development
As national unemployment rates remain high, many are looking to the educational system to provide the credentials necessary to find livable wage jobs. How are the business and education sectors developing greater interdependence? How have local economic development leaders used the Kalamazoo Promise to attract new employers and meet the workforce needs of existing employers? This interactive session will feature leaders from the economic development, education, and workforce development fields discussing strategies for aligning all three.
Tour Facilitator: Von Washington Jr., The Kalamazoo Promise

Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Parkwood Upjohn Elementary: Embracing the Promise to create a college-going culture
The motivation to ensure that Promise programs succeed falls heavily on the shoulders of local public school districts. The creation of a college-going culture is evident in the fabric of many schools. How have elementary schools embraced this challenge? What is being done to promote this future for young students? What ideas has your school district generated? Come share your stories and see how one local elementary school has embraced this work.
Tour Facilitator: Janice M. Brown, The Kalamazoo Promise

Thursday, November 7

10 - 11:30 a.m. - Breakout Sessions I

How do we run an effective capital campaign to sustain a Promise program?
Over the past 5 years, the Pittsburgh Promise has raised over $60 million to qualify for $40 million in challenge grants from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. How can the experience of Pittsburgh help us think about sustaining Promise programs in our own communities? In this workshop we will focus on developing a sturdy plan for your fundraising campaign, with special emphasis on setting the right goals, defining the appropriate strategies, empowering your staff, engaging your board, recruiting volunteers, and deploying for action.
Facilitator: Saleem Ghubril, The Pittsburgh Promise

What do we know? The impact of Promise programs to date
Rigorous evaluation of the impact of Promise programs has been slow to emerge, but there is a growing body of research on how place-based scholarship programs are affecting student outcomes, college access and completion, and the broader community. Join researchers and others to hear highlights of these studies, discuss their relevance for other communities, and learn about an emerging project to study Promise programs more systematically.
Facilitators: Gary Ritter, University of Arkansas; Michelle Miller-Adams, W.E. Upjohn Institute

How do we run a Promise program? Developing an administrative and tracking system
Day-to-day operations, award qualification, post-secondary achievement and completion, long term follow-up: how do you structure a system and database to deal efficiently with all of these demands? We will discuss strategies and solutions that communities have embraced to resolve these complex issues. Bring your experiences, questions, and expertise to the table to help spread best practices and develop new ideas.
Facilitators: Linda Soltes, International Scholarship & Tuition Services; Bob Jorth, The Kalamazoo Promise

How do we engage families and students?
Join the discussion of how we get information about our Promise programs to parents and students, our most important stakeholders. How do we communicate to families and other caregivers the vital information needed to make the Promise a success within our communities? Our discussion will address the important questions of how we work with schools, at what grade level to begin the “Promise discussion" with our families, and much more.
Facilitators: Lila Phillips, El Dorado Education Foundation; Sylvia Thompson, El Dorado Promise; Linda Lee Tarver, Lansing Promise

12 - 1:30 p.m. - Lunch

Speaker: Dan Cardinali, President of Communities in Schools

2 - 3:30 p.m. - Breakout Sessions II

What motivates the commitment from major donors?
How can we enlist, keep, and broaden stakeholder participation and fund development in Promise programs? This session will address how investors in current Promise programs became active participants in their development, as well as effective methods for finding and involving interested new donors. Join stakeholders in various Promise programs in a discussion of how to motivate donors and other resources to better educate each community’s children.
Facilitators: Kelvin Roldán, Hartford Public Schools; Katie Sandifer, Murphy Oil Corporation

What should we measure? Indicators for tracking the progress of Promise programs
How can a community tell if its Promise program is working, especially in the early years before long-term outcomes are realized? Join researchers and others in a session focused on how to construct a dashboard of Promise indicators. The discussion will help participants arrive at realistic goals for assessing the necessary preconditions for a successful Promise program and indicators for tracking progress over time.
Facilitators: Jennifer Iriti, University of Pittsburgh; Laura Lacy Hamilton, Beacon of Hope Lynchburg

What does it take to nurture and sustain community partnerships?
How can we best work within our communities to leverage Promise efforts and discover additional opportunities for collaboration? Join us to discuss how to initiate partnerships with nonprofits and social service agencies, schools, civic and political representatives, business and industry, and faith-based institutions. Our cause is their cause. Everyone benefits when Promise students succeed.
Facilitators: Carrie Pickett-Erway, Kalamazoo Community Foundation; Lila Philips, El Dorado Education Foundation

How do we increase student success in college?
Across the country, Promise initiatives are increasingly focused on degree completion as their goal. At the same time, higher education institutions are setting their own student success goals and responding to the challenge of performance-based funding. How are colleges stepping up? Bring your own stories about student success efforts and your questions for colleagues who are engaged in this important work.
Facilitator: Chuck Wilbur, Public Policy Associates

How do we help students move from college to career?
Promise programs are designed to support students entering and progressing toward a post-secondary degree or credential, but the ultimate goal is preparing individuals for a well-paying job and rewarding career. For many students, however, the transition from higher-education to the workforce can be chaotic and stressful. How can Promise students be supported with the demands of obtaining employment in a challenging economy? This session will discuss support systems and strategies, including internships and other connections to the local workforce that can assist them with this important transition.
Facilitators: Shawn Butler, Pittsburgh Promise; Ben Damerow, Michigan Works!; Petey Stephanak, Southwest Michigan First

4 - 5 p.m. – Voices of the Promise

This session is an opportunity for participants to hear from diverse stakeholders in Promise initiatives. The “voices” will include groups of students, parents, educators, community leaders, and donors. While there will be a small panel representing each of these groups, participants are encouraged and expected to bring their own voices to these conversations. The conversations will focus on personal experiences, motivation and inspiration as it relates to each group’s involvement in and benefits from these initiatives.

  • Student Voices - Bob Jorth, Facilitator
  • Parent Voices - Von Washington Jr., Facilitator
  • Community Voices - Janice M. Brown, Facilitator
  • Educators Voices - Facilitator to be determined

Friday, November 8

8:45 - 10:15 a.m. - Structured Roundtable Sessions:

Moving Forward
The morning session is an opportunity to look more deeply at an area of major concern to you and your Promise program. Findings from the previous day’s breakout sessions will be revisited and discussed, and tangible ideas for implementation will be shared across communities. Join colleagues from around the nation for informal, facilitated conversation on one of the following topics.

  • Session 1 - Program Management
  • Session 2 - Research and Evaluation - An Update on the Emerging Promise Research Agenda
  • Session 3 - Sustaining the Promise - Fund Development Strategies and Issues
  • Session 4 - Community Partnerships - Education, Business, Government, Non-profit/Foundations, and Social Services
  • Session 5 - Urban Issues and Promise Programs - From Challenges to Opportunities to Success
  • Session 6 - Building the Promise Movement

10:30 - 11:30 a.m. – Closing Session: Taking Action

How can we translate the ideas of the past two days into action? Come hear an inspirational presentation reminding all of us why we do this work and how important we are to getting the work done on behalf of our students. Leave PromiseNet 2013 inspired, determined and full of ideas that you can use to translate the PromiseNet learning and networking experience into action in your community. A perfect ending to a thought-provoking dialogue.
Facilitator: Haley Glover, Director of Convening Strategy for Lumina Foundation