2021 CoSpero Consulting Portfolio

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Managing Partner & Partner



All of our work starts at the source to clarify the specific challenge at hand. We seek to learn from the extremes and mainstreams through focus groups, one-to-one conversations, landscape analyses, and community needs assessments.

We believe the most holistic strategies are built with diverse perspectives at the table. Guided by our Community Innovation Framework, we facilitate cohorts, coalitions, and strategic partnerships that help clients create the most sustainable and impactful solutions to complex social challenges.

CoSpero Consulting is a team of problem solvers, community strategists and educators. We understand the complex challenges that exist across our social sector, yet remain eternal optimists about where we can go together. We are committed to helping communities flourish by linking arms with mission-minded organizations fighting for equity. By bringing a diverse range of voices to the table, we pride ourselves in uniting community voice with organizational strategy. No matter the project size or mission, we roll up our sleeves to get the work off the ground until our partners are prepared to sustain it. From public schools to education agencies and multimillion dollar funding entities, we help social sector institutions deepen their impact by centering the heart and soul of those they serve.

Through program analysis, short-term project management, retreat planning and facilitation, and our workshops and toolkits, we equip clients with the mindset and skills to sustain innovation through authentic relationships with their community.


CoSpero Consulting is honored to have collaborated with a range of dynamic missionminded institutions since 2017 to help make the world a better place.

Beaumont Independent School District City of Dallas Cedar Hill Independent School District DeSoto Independent School District Edgewood Independent School District Galveston Independent School District Hartford Public Schools Lancaster Independent School District Seguin Independent School District

Bachman Lake Together

Teach.org

Beacon Hill Preparatory Institute

The Commit Partnership

Big Thought Catch Up & Read Child Poverty Action Lab Dallas Teacher Residency

The Concilio TNTP Urban Teachers YearUp

Communities Foundation of Texas Philanthropy Southwest Texas Instruments United Way of Metro Dallas United Way Quad Cities Walton Family Foundation

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

City Square

New Friends New Life

Community Action of E. Iowa

Operation Tiny House

Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity

Per Scholas PROJECT NOW

Davenport Public Library

Readers 2 Leaders

Education Opens Doors

Reading Partners

Empowering the Masses

Stars United Global Outreach

First Choice Social Services

The Urban Specialists

Achieve

Green Careers Dallas

Two Rivers YMCA

After School All Stars

Love Girls Magazine

YMCA of Metro Dallas

Reading Partners

Aldridge Early Learning Center

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center

YouthHope

Southern Dallas Link

American Learning Institute

Moline Public Library

State Fair of Texas

Boys & Girls Clubs of Mississippi Valley

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Instruction Partners Leadership ISD Readers 2 Leaders

YWCA of the Quad Cities



Southern Dallas Thrives

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Better Together

16

System of Great Schools

18

Community Schools

20


January 2021 - May 2021

For more than half a decade, Roosevelt High School has operated in the heart of Southern Dallas. Nestled in Oak Cliff, the Dallas ISD campus serves a vibrant community with more than 3,500 students. Like many neighborhoods of color across America, this area of Southern Dallas has been historically disinvested through housing, banking, education, and health discrimination. Families here face multiple, interrelated challenges inside these broken systems. Southern Dallas Thrives (formerly known as Grow South, Grow Strong) was launched in 2018 by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) to help meet these needs. CoSpero was brought in a year later to help UWMD develop a longer-term impact strategy focused on the question: how might we leverage Roosevelt feeder schools to facilitate holistic support services for the community?

In order to understand more about the Roosevelt High School community’s hopes, CoSpero conducted community conversations with students, parents, principals, and neighborhood organizations. Combining this qualitative community feedback with trusted quantitative research, CoSpero designed a unique school-based community hub model that eliminates barriers to accessing critical support services for students, families and staff. The model supports families from John Neely Bryan Elementary School, as well as community members surrounding the campus and feeding into Roosevelt High School.

CoSpero brokered new relationships with multiple providers to create a complete tapestry of support that provides mental health services and after school programming for students, wellness and campus culture building experiences for staff, as well as workforce training and placement for parents. To leverage trust, create consistency and provide accountability, the CoSpero team designed custom spaces, embedded on campus where partner providers deliver services. During the 2020-2021 school year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, CoSpero recruited and managed nine nonprofit partners who served 75 students and nearly 40 families across a variety of impact areas, including food support, mental health services, and quality academic and enrichment after-school programming. Twenty families completed digital literacy training and 18 young adults earned their GED.


March 2020 - May 2021

When two Dallas-based nonprofits with strongly aligned mission, vision and values wanted to maximize impact, a strategic alliance seemed not just feasible – but fairly imperative. Urban Teachers, a national nonprofit, opened its third location in Dallas in 2016 with a mission to prepare culturally competent, effective career teachers who accelerate student achievement and disrupt systems of racial and socioeconomic inequity.

Dallas Teacher Residency (DTR) was founded in 2015 as a strategic response to local urban school districts’ need to recruit, prepare, and retain effective classroom teachers.

Weekly Meetings to deepen understanding of each other’s values, program structure, and school partnerships Community Member Interviews to illuminate each organizations’ bright spots and areas of improvement Organization Self-Assessment to outline the fundamentals of each nonprofit and indicate that a partnership would be mutually feasible

Through the Better Together Fund (BTF), in 2020 DTR and Urban Teachers were encouraged and supported in exploring a formal, long term collaboration.

Model Development to showcase three potential models for the acquisition of Dallas Teacher Residency by Urban Teachers

Following the feasibility assessment, DTR and Urban Teachers chose CoSpero Consulting to lead the planning and implementation phase for how they might approach a formal strategic alliance.

Final Workshop to review the proposed acquisition models, engage in dialogue around possibilities, and provide feedback on refining the models

CoSpero put forth a recommendation that Urban Teachers pursue an acquisition of DTR and merge their research-driven mentor teacher model with Urban Teachers’ strong certification process and national brand recognition. Our team designed three models that could weave the organizations together in a way that strengthened both and added new value to the teacher residency space locally. The three models could each stand individually or could be layered in any combination and on any timeline, making way for creativity and flexible thinking on what was possible together. After nearly a year of planning and working together, the acquisition was finalized and the first cohort of Urban Teachers mentor teachers will launch in the spring of 2022.


October 2020 - Present

Across Texas, Black students are far less likely to attend a high-performing school compared with their peers attending similar high-poverty neighborhood schools. Just 14 percent of Black students in high-poverty schools attend an A or B schools compared with 30 percent of Hispanic students, 37 percent of White students, and 48 percent of Asian students. (*Children at Risk 2019) In response to this systemic disparity, each year school districts across the state of Texas have the opportunity to reimagine how they educate their students by applying to the SGS Network. Becoming an SGS district opens the door for in-depth planning and evaluation support to consider various school models that have the potential to drastically increase student achievement. New to the framework is a push for districts to prioritize authentic family and community engagement in their decision-making. As part of a collaborative consultancy, CoSpero is able to support Galveston ISD, Beaumont ISD, Edgewood ISD, and Seguin ISD to help ensure selected school improvement actions reflect the needs and desires of families.

1. Map Community Members + Level of Support 2. Create A Shared Vision for Authentic Family Engagement 3. Develop Community Engagement Plan 4. Gather & Analyze Family Insights 5. Align School Action Recommendations

To help frame districts’ strategic planning process, CoSpero developed “Vision Week”— a week-long series of events to gather input from students, families and community members about how the district can ensure great opportunities for all students. Findings from Vision Week complement a quantitative data analysis to provide decision— makers with a comprehensive view of schools so they can best align school actions with the interest of community members. In our first phase of work with SGS districts, our engagement allowed districts to hear from nearly 1,000 community voices about what they wanted to see in their schools. In 2021, we expanded our reach by working with four school districts and reaching nearly 2,500 community members. Alongside this effort, our team also led the facilitation of a teacher survey in Beaumont ISD achieving a 50 percent response rate. The survey results guided BISD in its efforts to reconsider curriculum selection and human capital strategies across each of its 32 campuses.


March 2021- July 2021

Hartford Public Schools (HPS) has been a national leader in forging partnerships between schools and local resources for its students and families. Called the community school models, these partnerships aim to improve student learning and strengthen community. The district’s updated three-year strategic plan lays out one major goal for the Office of Family and Community Partnerships (OFCP): to increase the number of community schools in each of its zones by 2022. Upon the plan’s completion, HPS hit the ground running to ensure that community partners, parents, and school leaders were at the forefront of guiding the implementation of its new strategic priorities. In the spring of 2021, OFCP commissioned CoSpero Consulting to help articulate the impact of current community school partners and identify opportunities to strengthen district systems in order to support effective expansion of the model across all 46 campuses. With more than one hundred staff dedicated to the OFCP Office, the CoSpero team also worked with department leaders to develop capacity-building strategies to ensure these positions are having the greatest impact on families.

Conduct Visioning Sessions: We met with department staff to dive into the needs, wants, and fears of caregivers, district staff, campus staff, and community partners as well as consider how they might think, feel, and act when the office successfully reaches their vision. Complete Partnership Audit: Our team evaluated the scope of work of each lead agency's MOU with the district to establish a baseline of offerings and begin to identify gaps in programs or services for students and families. Determine Opportunities: In order to probe on-the-ground experiences, our team had conversations with principals, held focus groups with community partners, and surveyed campus-based family support staff as well as parents. Ideate Potential Strategies: With an interactive virtual whiteboard, we worked with the internal department team and many community partners to identify priority improvements and map them along an impact/effort matrix. Design Staff Development: Our team is continuing to support successful implementation of the plan by developing specific tools to equip staff at all levels to work towards the department’s key actions and goals.

Ultimately, Hartford Public School’s Office of Family and Community Engagement received 20 findings and recommendations for systemic improvements that will support expansion of their community schools model and serve as building blocks for implementation of their new strategic plan. Our recommendations touch on the programmatic offerings of community partners, operational efficiencies for the department, staffing structures and incentives, communication and trust building with key community members, and best practices for building a strong culture of family engagement across the district. We are excited to continue supporting implementation of the strategies alongside the incredible leadership team at HPS throughout the spring of 2022.


Internet for All

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EmpowerED Birmingham

28

Impact Collaboratives

30


February 2021- Present

School and office closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic brought urgency to the significant disparity in digital access across the country. With 42% of households having no fixed internet access, Dallas has one of the greatest digital divides among all major U.S. cities. According to the City of Dallas’ equity indicators report, before the pandemic 32% of Black and 27% of Hispanic households lacked internet access, compared with just 6% of white households. Post pandemic data shows Hispanic households are five times more likely to lack internet access. In response to these challenges, The Internet for All coalition formed in the spring of 2020. The effort is a collaboration of 40+ leaders across the Dallas area, including those from school districts, higher education institutions, city and county municipalities, faith-based organizations, and local foundations. The shared vision of the coalition is to bring high-speed, reliable internet and access to devices to the homes of all community members in Dallas – with a specific focus on the 24 least connected zip codes across the county. As an immediate response to avoid interrupted learning, the coalition supported school districts in providing over 64,000 hotspots to K-12 students who were lacking connectivity at home, and more than 2,400 students and families were served by a Mobile Learning Lab.

In February 2021, CoSpero was brought in to lead the steering committee and coalition at large as well as head up community engagement to ensure the very families the coalition seeks to serve are invited to the table for deeper understanding of the challenge and development of the most effective solutions.

Understand the challenge. CoSpero developed an outreach kit and mobilized placebased organizations within the 24 targeted zip codes to help elevate voices within their own communities. In addition to providing multiple engagement methods, a concise digital or paper survey, all communications materials, and having everything in English and Spanish, we honored the efforts of community partners with a small stipend for their time. Define the opportunity. Connect Week surfaced insights from more than 1,200 community members, with 63% of responses coming from our targeted zip codes. This data was analyzed to better understand specific barriers to broadband adoption across various demographics, which we then used to frame the challenge and co-design solutions within diverse communities. Design solutions: CoSpero hosted multiple co-design sessions where community members in the targeted zip codes helped ideate solutions surrounding topics ranging from making technology training as engaging and accessible as possible to promoting subsidized internet options. To acknowledge the value for their time and insights, we provided gift cards and meals for participants as well as stipends for hosting organizations.


3,000 Mobile Hotspots are available to checkout at 10 Dallas libraries 8,500+ Dallas ISD families enrolled for a yearlong free wired home internet account Up to 3,200 households served by 10 public WiFi networks across the Southern Sector DIA has developed a business plan for a county wide digital ambassadors program 8 Private Wireless Networks launched in Dallas ISD + 2 launched in Garland ISD, with plans for continued expansion in both districts The City of Dallas recently committed 40 million dollars towards implementing the CTC digital equity plan recommendations Providing access to high-quality internet and connective devices will help families access education, employment, telemedicine, and fully engage in modern civil society. We learned there is broad support for government to play a role in ensuring digital equity in Dallas with nearly 80% of survey respondents agreeing that the City and/or school district should ensure all residents have access to affordable internet service and 71% agreeing that the City and/or school district should help residents make effective use of the internet.

We look forward to achieving long term impact as we test and implement community-designed solutions during year two as facilitators of the Internet for All Coalition.


February 2021 - Present

TNTP partnered with CoSpero to help guide the Walton Family Foundations' innovative Catalytic Communities project in Birmingham, Alabama. The Catalytic Communities Project was initially launched to help the foundation hear directly from communities across the country regarding the change they desired for their education system. For 18 months, CoSpero combined our community engagement and coalition management experience to guide a team of local steering committee members and TNTP staff through a community design process that put the power of planning for the future of education in the hands of Birmingham residents. Under our leadership, the steering committee has grown to fifteen community organizations with a solidified theory of change and strategic framework to guide its work into Summer 2022, when it will present its “Education Blueprint” to key members in the Birmingham community.

Build Context: The project team interviewed dozens of Birmingham community members to build our understanding of the local education landscape. Open the Table: With this context, leaders with organizational power and community trust were invited to form an initial planning team to start the work. Democratize Planning: Invite Birmingham residents to leverage their experience and passion for driving towards the coalition's goals. Spur Action: Leverage strategic planning expertise of technical assistance providers to develop an actionable education blueprint that sparks systemic change.

The Catalytic Communities Project has since refreshed its identity and is now called EmpowerED Birmingham to better reflect its aim of enhancing the local education system with community input. More than two dozen members – representing a variety of institutions across the private and social sector – collaborate weekly to improve educational outcomes for students. The coalition is currently engaging Birmingham neighborhoods, with the aim of connecting with all 99, to both inform and build support for EmpowerED Birmingham's three focuses: 1. Transparent access to success indicators that support Birmingham students and families to advocate for an excellent education. 2. A pathway for Birmingham students and families to be influential decision makers in our schools. 3. Investment in Birmingham changemakers that collectively nurture the development of the whole child.


2019 - Present

Over the course of seven virtual workshops, cohort members worked through our Community Innovation Framework. The framework is a five phase strategic planning process that roots innovation in insights from those most impacted by decisions.

Between sessions, members conducted practicum activities, met together, and received 1:1 coaching to strengthen each other’s work.

The end goal is for each member to leave the Impact Collaborative cohort with an explicit and viable solution their organization can implement immediately. Along the way, organizations acquire a new framework and skill set that can be used to tackle any challenge that arises in the future. Since the creation of Impact Collaboratives: 29 organizations from across the nation have participated in the framework. 2 organizations received a $5,000 prize to get their idea off the ground. 100% of participants stated they gained skills that improved their organizational effectiveness. In May 2021, five Impact Collaborative cohort members participated in UWQC’s “The Pitch.” Leaders pitched their big ideas to strengthen education outcomes in the Quad Cities on KWQC TV6 News – and netted a total of $85,000 to launch their innovative solutions.


Heal, Play, Learn

34

Building Bridges

36


May 2021 - August 2021

During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, districts across Texas faced high levels of chronic absenteeism leading to months of “learning loss” for Texas students. When exploring strategies for supporting academic acceleration, district leaders could not ignore the profound social, emotional, and physical toll of the pandemic on their students and families. In response, the 2021 Heal, Play, Learn initiative was designed to offer educators, students, and their families programming that promoted social and emotional wellness and a chance to rebuild eroded relationships. The initiative was funded by Texas Instruments Foundation in partnership with Educate Texas and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) and CoSpero Consulting was selected as the technical provider to craft and implement programming for the DeSoto ISD and Cedar Hill ISD communities.

Keeping social and emotional wellness at the forefront, CoSpero Consulting curated a list of 18 partners to lead enrichment activities across 22 programming days in both Cedar Hill and DeSoto ISD. In collaboration with each school district, CoSpero helped design and implement the summer programming schedule, offering a combined total of more than 45 hours of activities to educators, students and their families. We focused on recruiting not only a variety of activities, but also providers that reflected the participating families with 60 percent of vendors being minority-led. For many of the minority-led nonprofit partners, this was their first opportunity to receive funding from United Way and partner with ISDs, opening the door for potential future partnerships.

From families to students to service providers, the 2021 Heal, Play, Learn Initiative received an overwhelmingly positive response – and, as a result, CoSpero is in the process of planning and implementing Heal, Play, Learn, Phase II for 2022!

45 out of 46 Cedar Hill ISD parent/guardian survey respondents said they were interested in participating in similar future events. Additional parent perception yielded from survey responses [scale of 1-5]: How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the summer event series? Do you feel like the summer events positively impacted your student'(s) social and emotional health? Do you think the summer series helped your student(s) get excited to start the 2021-2022 school year?


Fall 2021

Black-led organizations possess incredible skills, talents, and passions – but unfortunately, they are often missing out on networking and funding opportunities to help take their work to the next level. Spurred by a commitment to fight for racial equity, United Way Quad Cities (UWQC) launched the African American Leadership Society (AALS) with the aim of developing their local talent and fostering the next generation of Black leaders. UWQC commissioned CoSpero Consulting to support the development and execution of its inaugural Building Bridges cohort, capacity-building program for emerging nonprofits that are working to bridge racial gaps and dismantle local barriers to success. Through a five-part workshop series, Building Bridges aimed to help organizations clarify their unique value proposition, increase their program reach and impact, and take advantage of more significant funding opportunities.

Develop engaging content: Session 1: Heart | Soul | Strategy: Aligning Your Mission, Vision, and Programming Session 2: Trusted Voice in a Crowded Space: Branding Session 3: Fueling the Mission: Resource Development Session 4: Structures for Success: Building a Thriving Board Session 5: Staying Anchored in the ‘Why’: DEI & Partnerships

Understand the need of grassroots groups in Quad Cities: To customize the content, our team surveyed participants prior to the launch of the cohort to best align each session to the needs and current state of participating nonprofit.

Facilitate learning experiences: CoSpero leaned on its virtual planning and facilitation skills to begin building a safe and dynamic learning experience for cohort participants.

Through exposure to local leaders and experts on nonprofit leadership, organizational development and community dynamics, Building Bridges participants gained the resources, information, and relationships to strengthen their operations and grow their influence in the region.


A group formed when a diverse group of individuals or groups come together to achieve a shared goal.

Providing the time, tools, and talent to support parents and/or guardians as they nurture own children.

A group of people with a common characteristic who come together.

Identifying the key players in a field, sector or location, classifying them by relevant characteristics (organization type, target audience, mission) and evaluating how they're performing in relation to the focus of your study.

The process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people.

A set of tools and mindsets aimed at creating the most sustainable and impactful solutions to complex social challenges.

The gathering of accurate information representative of the needs of a community. Assessments are performed prior to taking action, leveraging the lived experiences of community members to determine current situations and identify issues for action. Needs assessments establish the essential foundation for vital planning.

Equality is typically defined as treating everyone the same and giving everyone access to the same opportunities. Equity refers to proportional representation (by race, class, gender, etc.) in those same opportunities.

The effect on people and communities that happens as a result of an action or inaction, an activity, project, program or policy.

Non-governmental, charitable organizations working to advance social welfare.

An agreement between two enterprises to work together on mutually beneficial projects while each retains its independence.

Public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms that work in reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.




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