The Pinecrest Community Health Centre in Ottawa is collaborating with various stakeholders to establish a collective impact initiative to improve academic outcomes for youth in low-income communities in Ottawa. Collective impact is a process that revolves around a common agenda, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, shared measurement and the presence of a backbone organization. This collective impact project is called Equity in Education (EiE).
The first year of the project involved convening stakeholders to explore the issues facing low-income youth and what could be done to mitigate them. Opportunities to work collaboratively were also sought out. This process led to the creation of a Student Parent Support Worker (SPSW) position whose job it was to liaise between youth, their families, schools and community organizations. A one-year pilot took place to explore the SPSW role in a community context and help develop a collective understanding of what systems- and policy-level changes would need to be in place to move the work of EiE forward in a sustainable way.
Three pilot projects scaled from the initial SPSW pilot are now underway. The project as a whole seeks to describe how both academic outcomes and systems-level effects can be influenced by the EiE initiative. Effects will be examined both within the three targeted neighbourhoods as well as across the overarching cluster of agencies and systems that comprise the broader EiE initiative.
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