In January 2016, Read Charlotte hosted the first of three systems change workshops. By “system” we mean the set of interacting and interdependent component parts (families, child care programs, schools, public agencies, nonprofits, etc.) that collectively affect how children develop as readers from birth through third grade.
We needed to understand how this system works and develop a set of strategies to improve how its parts work together to raise third-grade reading proficiency for children. At the first workshop, 111 participants were introduced to “systems thinking.”
Following the January workshop, we surveyed over 3,000 families, educators, students, providers and funders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This was accomplished in six weeks with the assistance of over three-dozen nonprofit agencies across the community. The United Way of Central Carolinas hosted 32 community conversations with families, educators and students. This information was used to create a “system scan” for the community. Participants learned root cause analysis to evaluate the system scan data and identify underlying causes of system outcomes. The third and final systems change workshop took place in November 2016.
After two years of research and alignment, Read Charlotte began to move into implementation in collaboration with an army of dedicated groups and individuals across Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Through four main focus areas (research and data, improving systems, strategic funding, and building networks) Read Charlotte is confident that more children can succeed.