As we begin our second century of work we have put together a strategic plan that lays out a new vision, mission, and focus that will serve as a north star to all of our work.
Approved in 2020 by our full board of directors, this plan makes it clear that the community school strategy will now serve as the central organizing framework for everything that we do.
What factors went into this decision?
We know that thriving and belonging in today’s society requires a high-quality education and that graduating from high school ready for college and/or a career is a powerful predictor of future economic and health outcomes.
We also know that academic success is too often undermined by issues related to hunger, homelessness, interpersonal violence, poor health conditions, and other social problems.
We believe that these factors often referred to as the “social determinants of health,” are also powerful determinants of education. As such, we must acknowledge that the "opportunity gap” isn’t just an indicator of a problem within our schools, it is an indicator of a host of problems throughout our community. And because so many of these problems are embedded in inequitable systems, addressing them requires an equity-centered, systems-oriented approach.
A Bold Community Goal and the United for Youth Network
At the center of the plan, you will see a reference to the "Bold Community Goal". This goal was crafted and adopted in February 2021 by the nearly 150 youth, school, and community partners (including Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools) that make up the United for Youth Network, the Cross-Sector Leadership Team, and our own Board of Directors.
The goal will be supported over time by a number of important projects but at the core, our community is committing to align and leverage community resources as a Network and improve systems for equitable student learning and educational excellence. Accountability is central to this framework, and all involved are agreeing to support one another and hold one another accountable through continuous learning and course corrections along our path towards our shared vision, mission, and bold community goal.
From the partnership agreement
United for Youth is a multigenerational, cross-sector, cradle to career partnership built on the foundational principle that “Equity and Educational Excellence are Inseparable.”
Together, with youth and family leadership, we work to ensure educational outcomes are determined by the high quality of our schools and partner organizations, the abundance and accessibility of opportunities in our community, the strength of our collaborations, and never again predictable based on a student’s race, home language, family income, or any other dimension of identity.
- United for Youth Vision | ALL children and youth learn, grow, and thrive in a vibrant, healthy, and connected community.
- United for Youth Mission | To actively identify and remove barriers to opportunity and co-create solutions that support student success.
- Our Goal | By 2035, ALL Asheville City and Buncombe County students graduate from high school ready and fully prepared to pursue their goals and dreams.