About the Somerville Children's Cabinet
The Somerville Children’s Cabinet was formed in 2017 with the support of the By All Means initiative of the Education Redesign Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education. The Cabinet shares the aim of the By All Means Initiative, to develop comprehensive child wellbeing and education systems that help eliminate the link between children’s socioeconomic status and achievement, and is guided by the 6 conditions of Collective Impact:
- A Common Agenda
Our vision is to create a stable, cross-sector network that supports positive outcomes for children, youth, and families in Somerville.
- Shared Measurement
Data analysts with Somerville Public Schools and the City’s SomerStat department inform evidence-driven approaches to our work. Work around common sets of measurement is beginning in key areas.
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities
The Somerville Children’s Cabinet’s mission is to improve collaboration and communication between a cross sector network of School, City, and Community partners in order to mobilize and align the resources that optimize positive life outcomes for children and youth in our city.
- Continuous Communication
The entire Cabinet meets monthly and is informed by separate meetings of the Out of School Time Taskforce, Early Childhood Advisory Council, the Somerville Education Foundation, the City Council and the School Committee. Subcommittees to support specific projects are formed as needed.
- Backbone Organization
The SomerPromise initiative of the City’s Health and Human Services Department provides backbone support to the Cabinet.
- Equity as a Priority
The Cabinet aims to be explicit about using an equity lens both internally as we strategize, and externally as we operationalize our work.
City of Somerville
Somerville Public Schools
Somerville is a vibrant city located immediately to the north-west of Boston, MA. The 2017 population was estimated at 79,983, which, coupled with its small footprint of 4.1 square miles makes it the most densely populated city in New England. Somerville is historically a gateway city and, since 1987, a sanctuary city welcoming immigrants from around the world. Approximately 3,300 of our residents are under 5 years old and a further 4,900 are enrolled in Somerville Public Schools where, between them, they speak over 50 languages. “Diversity is our strength!”
Somerville has seen a rapid escalation in the cost of housing in recent years, leading to financial strain and housing insecurity for many families. Coupled with an influx of more affluent residents, income disparity is on the rise, affecting many of the children in our school system where 40% are considered economically disadvantaged. Creating and sustaining equitable opportunity for all of our young people is an overarching priority of the City and Schools; the Somerville Children’s Cabinet was created to coordinate cross-sector work towards this goal.
Current Priority Areas
With equity and wraparound as ongoing priorities, the Cabinet’s work is currently focusing on Out of School Time and Early Childhood.
Cabinet members are involved in the following cross-sector work:
- Development of the Somerville Partnership for Young Children
- SomerBaby - a home visiting program for all newborns in Somerville
- Single Point of Entry work - reshaping how families sign up for preschool and afterschool
- Creating a citywide Out of School Time network and increasing equitable access to, and funding for slots
- The Somerville Learning 2030 Report - A community wide survey about the future of learning
- Envisioning the Future at Somerville High School - informing the roll out of the new SHS
- SomerVision 2040 - A community-driven process to extend the current 2030 plan
Future Pilot Program
The Cabinet is also working on a pilot cross-sector Student Success Plan, with the support of the By All Means Team at HGSE. We aim to create equity and consistency in how students and families access all the school, city, and community resources they need to be successful.
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