Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Working as a Not-for-Profit Partner

Higher Achievement takes its role as a partner middle schools throughout the greater Washington, DC area very seriously.  We recognize the importance of strengthening the middle school experience, particularly for those students who may not see college prep or postsecondary education as a viable option.  We recognize that every student has the potential to succeed, with the right motivation and the right support.  That is why we started Higher Achievement in the first place, and that is why we have had the successes we have posted over the past three decades.


As important as our work with external partners is, we must also remember who we are internally.  In education, one’s strongest ambassador is the current staff and volunteers.  They are the ones who carry the message and boast of the work.  To help our Higher Achievement family focus on what is important for our larger school community, we always keep three key principles in mind:

·      Know our work – Know what each of our core responsibilities are and what we are individually and collectively accountable for

·      Develop our work – Know what we will need to have in order to do our work effectively and efficiently; know what tools we need and the resources required to get them; know where our work sits within the context of the field (are we the bearer of promising practice? Or are we reinventing some wheel?)

·      Elevate our work – We need to continuously develop and innovate. How are we continuously learning? How are we helping to elevate the organization as a whole to a higher level of effectiveness and efficiency? If something we are currently doing cost $5, can we do the same thing for $4.75? – Mundane? Perhaps. But without this conscious incremental effort to elevate our work, how are we measuring our professional growth?


These are important issues for Higher Achievement, but they are also key for any not-for-profit organization that is committed to change and improvement, particularly in this economy and with expectations that seem to grow exponentially by the day.


(Posted by Higher Achievement CEO Richard Tagle.)

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