By Bridget Dooley
Sitting in on a meeting of Red Wing community members recently, I was able to get an up-close and personal feel for how collective impact works in real life. The Early Childhood Network monthly meeting, a subcommittee of Red Wing’s Every Hand Joined (EHJ) education partnership, took place on a breezy mid-July afternoon at Colvill Family Center. In a conference room of the friendly brick building, home to Head Start, community preschool, and public health resources, ten people sat around a circular table assessing the Network’s work over the past year.
The Early Childhood Network was one of the first Networks of Every Hand Joined. EHJ formed in 2012 with the intent of improving student achievement and community vitality in Red Wing. The Early Childhood Network, alongside three others, strives toward five broad goals outlined by the initiative. These include, that every child in Red Wing:
Though there was important business at hand, and serious problems for real children at the heart of the work, the tone of the Early Childhood Network was remarkably upbeat. Between quips about parenting and stories of summer plans, the group reviewed slides of statistics collected on kindergarten performance from the prior academic year, checked in about several ongoing initiatives, and brainstormed priorities going forward.