In 2015, the Continuum of Learning (CoL) released the Sangamon Success report, a selection of 25 evidence-based recommendations for improving outcomes for children in Sangamon County who are less advantaged. These recommendations support children from before birth until their graduation from high school. You can read the full report here.
In the five years since then, the community has been hard at work fulfilling those recommendations. Sangamon County’s Nurse-Family Partnership, the subject of the report’s first recommendation, served 149 first-time pregnant mothers and new parents between its launch in 2017 and 2020, with 83 total births during that time. The program is built on a national model that is based on years of research and evidence to improve health and education outcomes for first-time parents and their babies. One evaluation found that Nurse-Family Partnership returns up to $5.70 to the community for every dollar invested in the program. The program took a pause during the pandemic, but plans to relaunch this fall.
Other recommendations support the collaboration of home visiting programs, so that they can connect their resources to the families that most need them, as well as effectively measuring their impact on the lives of children. SIU School of Medicine has taken on this task to implement the Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS). This system will track referrals and enrollment and allow organizations to better communicate with one another, avoiding duplication of services and families getting “lost” in the system. The Sangamon Home-visiting, Education, and Referral Team (HEART) has organized around this effort, supporting the implementation of this promising system this fall.
The later recommendations address the needs of adolescents who are focused on college and career readiness. In 2018, the CoL was accepted into the 60 by 25 Network. The 60 by 25 Network is an initiative implemented by Northern Illinois University EdSystems, Advance Illinois, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, working to have 60% of Illinois residents with a post-secondary degree or career certification by 2025. The knowledge and resources provided by the network will help the CoL to coordinate, collaborate and communicate with post-secondary programs here in Sangamon County. As part of this network, Springfield Public Schools #186 received a $14,000 grant from NIU EdSystems to help pay student fees for dual credit and career certification programs in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.
These accomplishments are only the tip of the iceberg! To properly showcase all of them, the CoL has released the Sangamon Success Progress Report. It includes dozens of programs across Sangamon County and all the hard work they’ve done over the last five years.
Learn more about programs like:
What’s next? Well, now it’s time to take a look at the original recommendations and see what has changed, what gaps remain, and what opportunities have emerged. It’s also time to evaluate those recommendations and decide if they’re still the best advice for our new world. Over the course of the next year, we will be convening working groups, holding data-informed community discussions, and charting the next five years of Sangamon Success.
You know you want to be a part of the bright future for Sangamon County youth. Contact Hillary Rains at email@example.com to be part of the team!
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