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

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

My Northfield Promise – Sandi Gerdes


Sandi Gerdes – Executive Director, Laura Baker Services Association; Member, Northfield Promise Council of Champions

I was excited to accept the invitation to join the Council of Champions. As the executive director of an organization that is committed to meeting a full range of needs for people in the developmental disabilities community, it makes perfect sense that I have an interest in making sure the voices of our community and the people we serve are heard.

Inclusion has always been important to me, and I believe that everyone should have a seat at the table. I think that sometimes it’s easy to lose people who aren’t automatically visible. But if we’re serious about wanting to ensure all of Northfield’s youth are successful, we must be sure that we are truly representing all youth. It’s actually pretty amazing to see how much we have in common and how quickly we can move to the next level when we’re all operating under the same common purpose. Continue reading

My Northfield Promise – Hope Langston

Hope Langston

Northfield Public Schools District Assessment Coordinator, Northfield Promise Data Team Co-Chair

Three years ago, I was invited to attend a Data Team meeting because of my strong interest in using data to help refine and target instructional approaches. Sitting around the table was a group of bright, committed people. It was exciting to me that each of them was dedicated to improving our community with a unified effort that focused on using data to support all students in Northfield.

The mission of Northfield Promise aligns closely with my personal values. As an educator, I believe that every child should have the chance to be successful both academically and emotionally. I also believe that it takes a community effort to make that happen. Continue reading

My Northfield Promise – Steve Underdahl


CEO, Northfield Hospital and Clinics; Member, Council of Champions

When I first came to town in 2013, Northfield Promise was one of the things in which Northfield Hospital & Clinics was already interested and involved. As a new CEO with lots of invitations to participate in different community initiatives, I found Northfield Promise was one of the first that seemed logical for me to get involved in.

The mission of “cradle to career” fits with a lot of what we’re understanding now in healthcare. When we think about what keeps a community healthy, a very small fraction of that happens at the doctor’s office or hospital. Social determinants of health – a meaningful education, or a healthy and secure childhood – go a long way to being healthy. That’s how Northfield Promise connects to our mission as a healthcare organization.
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My Northfield Promise – Ellen Iverson

Evaluation Director, Carleton College; School Board Member, Northfield Public Schools; Member, Data Team and Council of Champions

Evaluation Director, Carleton College; School Board Member, Northfield Public Schools; Member, Data Team and Council of Champions

Two years ago I attended a Northfield Public SchoolsDistrict Educational Program Advisory Council (DEPAC) meeting where Zach Pruitt was presenting on collective impact. I was enthused by the information he shared about the Cincinnati Strive model and wanted to get involved. I joined the Data Team and then was recruited to join theCouncil of Champions. Continue reading

Ready for K Parents


Members, Northfield Promise Ready for Kindergarten Action Team: Kim Decker, Alison Flannery, Luci Gonzalez Mirón, Jenny Kelly Lucy, Velazquez de Baroja

There’s real diversity to the Ready for K team – from stay-at- home moms to school district, public health, pediatrics, and library staff, Latinos and whites. Together we are tasked with determining what it takes to be ready for kindergarten – socially, academically, physically. We’re figuring out what “ready” means and what resources there are for people. We’re also thinking about how to reach people who aren’t involved. Who are we missing?

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My Northfield Promise – Monte Nelson

monte nelson

Chief of Police, Member of Council of Champions

My two daughters were raised here in Northfield, and now my grandchild is being raised here, so I’ve always been very invested and interested in our schools and our programming for youth – in what we can do to raise our kids as best as possible.

I was familiar with the start-up and implementation of Northfield Promise from being on the board at HCI, where I’ve been involved for years in various ways. Because the Chief of Police position is part of Northfield Promise Council of Champions, when I became Chief, I stepped into that role on the Council. Continue reading

My Northfield Promise – Leslie Rodriguez Vazquez

I first heard about Northfield Promise from my fifth grade teacher, Connie Nelson. She was explaining how the initiative would help create new ways to close the achievement gap. I had been in ESL classes, because English is not my first language, and I thought that getting involved with Northfield Promise would be a good way to give back. I remembered all of the help I had received over the years and wanted to be able to help other students.

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