HCI Partners with Youthprise and the City of Northfield

HCI is proud to partner with Youthprise and the City of Northfield on the Youth First initiative. One of the key components of this work is to promote youth engagement, ensuring youth have seats at the community’s decision-making tables. In 2014-15, there were 19 high school students serving on local boards and commissions. Today, that number stands at 81 — ranging from the City of Northfield’s Planning Commission to the Human Rights Commission to the boards of local nonprofits like the Y and Northfield Arts Guild.

Check out this short video that talks about some of the impact of this exciting community initiative!

Northfield Promise receives national support to accelerate change

NP-and-redwingNorthfield Promise, in partnership with Red Wing’s Every Hand Joined, is one of five communities across the country selected for the 2016 Accelerator Fund after a competitive application process. These network members, along with the six communities chosen for the first round in 2015, will receive support from a $12 million investment fund.

The communities belong to the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network and will work to expedite progress toward better educational outcomes for all kids by joining a learning network run by the national education-focused network, StriveTogether.

Strive Network“Our goal as an organization is to prove that we can achieve consistent and sustained improvements in student outcomes at scale,” StriveTogether Managing Director Jeff Edmondson said. “The Accelerator Fund is designed to help communities reach education goals faster while building the strength of partnerships to accelerate their progress over the long term. We believe these five communities will identify and spread practices that achieve results, particularly for the most vulnerable children, and capture lessons that will advance other collective impact partnerships across the country.”

The five new Accelerator Fund partnerships are: Continue reading

My Northfield Promise

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-44-11-am[Fritz] We’ve been very interested in closing the achievement gap in Northfield for quite some time. That’s where our passion for Accelerate Northfield – a program that pairs volunteer tutors with students to promote reading – was born. With the success of Accelerate Northfield, it only makes sense that we would look to leverage a wider network of people to have an even greater impact. Northfield Promise is definitely that network. Northfield Promise has the ability for everyone to work together so we’re able to better identify gaps and eliminate service overlaps.

[Rachel] Some might say that the goals for Northfield Promise are too big. To that, I’d say the only way to make big progress is to set big goals. In my opinion, Northfield Promise is the best way we can serve our kids. And what makes it so special is its holistic approach. By focusing on social and emotional as well as academic benchmarks, we are breaking new ground in collective impact initiatives and also striving to help all our children grow up to be happy and healthy. Continue reading

Hope Langston selected for national data fellowship

Named as one of 17 Tableau Fellows nationwide

Hope Langston

Hope Langston

Northfield Public Schools District Assessment Coordinator and Northfield Promise Data Team Co-Chair Hope Langston was selected last month for the prestigious Tableau Fellowship by StriveTogether.

StriveTogether selected Langston and 16 other individuals for this data analytics fellowship program with the Tableau Foundation. The fellowship will help the Fellows and their communities more effectively view, analyze and share local education data to improve results for all students.

“To improve educational outcomes at scale, we need to empower community members and relevant partners with the data they need to make more informed decisions,” StriveTogether Managing Director Jeff Edmondson said. “Through our continued partnership with Tableau, we are helping local partnerships across the country find new and creative ways to communicate and understand data that will help them focus their time, talent and treasure to address the most pressing needs and spread the most impactful practices.” Continue reading

Local PTOs team up to keep bookshelves stocked

brightspot2-with-taglineMore than 2,400 books collected through collaborative book drive

The local elementary school Parent Teacher Organizations/Booster Clubs teamed up last month to organize book drives to help make sure that all Northfield children have access to books in their homes.

The PTOs set a goal of collecting at least 300 gently used books. The final count? Over 2,400 books collected!

img_2581“The current PTO/Booster Club leadership at Greenvale Park, Sibley and Bridgewater had been looking for a community-based project that would allow our students to work collaboratively to make a significant impact,” said Shari Sneary, Bridgewater Booster Club President. “While we anticipated a large number of books being donated, we had no idea that number would reach over 2,400. We look forward to being an ongoing partner with Northfield Promise and are looking forward to next year’s book drive.” Continue reading

Northfield Promise Recognized by National Organization for Collective Impact Progress

striveNorthfield Promise is a proud member of the Strive Together national network. Strive is the national leader in collective impact work, supporting cradle-to-career initiatives across the country.

Strive formally accepts communities into their network through an application process. Members of the Strive Cradle to Career Network share a common commitment to:

  • Improving and reporting on a core set of academic outcomes: kindergarten readiness, early grade reading, middle grade math, high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment and post-secondary degree completion.
  • Building cross-sector partnerships with early childhood, K-12, higher education, community-based organizations, business, government and philanthropy
  • Developing and sustaining cradle to career civic infrastructure by implementing a data-driven, quality approach to collective impact

Continue reading

Rx for Reading

Little brains grow fast, and books help them grow healthy.

In fact, 90% of brain development occurs between birth and age 5. Reading together in those first five years actually improves brain function.bookmark-with-border

A recent MRI study of 3- to 5-year-olds looked at the relationship between shared parent-child reading and brain activity. Children went through an MRI scan while listening to stories. The scans showed that frequent reading and a variety of books spark more activity in the left side areas of the brain that process words and form meaning. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)

The way parents and kids read together affects the brain, too.

That’s the idea behind “1-2-3 . . . Read with Me!,” an early literacy program that debuted at Northfield Clinic and has expanded to Rice County Public Health’s WIC Clinics. Continue reading

New Pass for Middle & High School Youth Opens the Door to Athletic Events

brightspot2-with-taglineAs one of its key benchmarks, Northfield Promise recognizes the importance of young people feeling connected to their school and community. Part of this connection can be fostered by participating in school activities.

The Northfield Public Schools recognized that there were barriers in place that made this connectedness difficult for some youth, particularly young people whose families may struggle economically. To address this, a number of additional strategies were rolled out this summer, including doing neighborhood-based registration events to sign up for middle and high school activities and partnering with HealthFinders to offer free sports clinics at the Greenvale Park Community School. Continue reading

My Northfield Promise – Barb Farmer


Youth Minister, Bethel Lutheran Church Member, Steering Committee and Middle School/High School Connectedness Action Team Member

I am a part of the Northfield Promise Steering Committee and the Middle School/High School Connectedness action team. I am also a past board member at HCI, which is how I had my first introduction to this effort.

In light of our situation today, as schools face funding cuts and challenges, and families also face many challenges, Northfield Promise sounded promising and exciting to me. I wanted to be a part of that. It grabbed me.

I like that Northfield Promise addresses the whole person, not just the academic aspect. It all plays together. I got involved because it’s important, it’s collaborative, it’s focused on our youth, it looks to the future, and it’s hopeful. At a time when things can seem discouraging, we can say, “We can make a difference!”

Since Northfield Promise addresses the whole child, it recognizes that each one of those factors – physical, social, educational and emotional – needs to be in place for every child to thrive. That means there’s an opportunity for practically everyone to find a way to connect with kids and be part of this effort. Continue reading

Employers, Community Members and Teachers Talk About Post-Graduation Planning


Local employers, community members and teachers met to discuss post-graduation planning.

At the start of this school year, employers and community members from the Northfield Promise Career and College Readiness Action Team served on a panel and engaged in conversation with over 70 Northfield High School teachers and staff members. The goal: To explore partnerships between teachers and local employers that will enhance the support offered to students as they develop their post-graduation plans and the skills they’ll need to succeed in life after high school. 

teachers1The conversation will continue in January when NHS teachers will tour local businesses and learn more about their future employment needs.