New year, new name: From Educational Attainment Alliance to Elevate
By ANNIE CHARNLEY EVELAND of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Feb 4, 2021
A cradle-to-career collective impact initiative that serves Walla Walla and Columbia counties and the Milton-Freewater area has taken on a new identity with the new year.
The Educational Attainment Alliance project has been rebranded to Elevate, said collective impact coordinator Jacqueline Lonning in a release. It has the same mission, just a simpler name and logo.
Elevate seeks to harness education as a tool to build strong communities here. The backbone of the organization is United Way of the Blue Mountains, which provides administrative and financial support, she said.
Elevate is the result of Community Council’s 2016 study, “Education as a Path to Economic Growth,” which recommend the formation of a regional alliance focused on increasing educational attainment by working to improve outcomes along the cradle-to-career continuum.
A steering committee was formed in 2019 with key leaders in early learning, K-12 education, postsecondary education and the business and nonprofit sectors. They identified middle school as an initial focus area.
In 2020, the steering committee developed initiative identity and capacity. The Alliance hosted four community roundtable events, bringing together representatives from local government, education, childcare, business, public health and behavioral health to address COVID-19-related uncertainty around returning to school, Jacqueline said.
The Alliance also participated in the formation of a statewide group, now operating as the Washington State Cradle to Career Advocacy Network.
Elevate recently launched its first working group. Its teachers, administrators, school staff, parents, service providers and nonprofit partners will consider how to increase positive connections between middle school students, their families, schools and the community and how to create opportunities that inspire middle school students and support their successful transition to high school.