Poughkeepsie Joins Group in Harvard Initiative

POUGHKEEPSIE – Poughkeepsie City School Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced that Poughkeepsie has been invited to join a consortium of cities participating in the “By All Means” initiative created by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Education Redesign Lab.

Earlier this year, the Mayor and Superintendent formed the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet to develop a shared vision and cradle-to-career path for child growth in the city.
Across the country, Children’s Cabinets are used by localities to bring together school districts, government agencies, child-serving community organizations and other local stakeholders to improve their ability to collaborate and coordinate youth supports and services.

“We are so impressed with the commitment and good work in Poughkeepsie. Community leaders have meaningfully come together to prioritize children’s well-being. We’re thrilled to have Poughkeepsie as a member of Harvard’s By All Means initiative,” said Paul Reville, founding director of the Education Redesign Lab and former Massachusetts Secretary of Education.

Harvard’s By All Means initiative was launched in February 2016 to support local communities in addressing “the iron-law correlation between a child’s socioeconomic status and their prospects for educational achievement.”

As the newest member of By All Means, Poughkeepsie becomes only the tenth community nationwide to be invited into the program, joining a select group of communities that includes Oakland, Calif; Louisville, Ky. Providence, R.I.; Chattanooga-Hamilton County, Tenn.; and Stockton, Calif.

As a By All Means community, Poughkeepsie will receive a range of support from the Education Redesign Lab at Harvard, including assistance to local consultants and staff of the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet; connecting Poughkeepsie leaders with national experts and social impact organizations; promoting exchanges with By All Means cities; and contributing to the documentation and evaluation of Poughkeepsie’s efforts through case studies and reports.

“Having access to such high-caliber resources will benefit the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet as we solidify our work, and as we broaden the community conversation that child development involves not only the education system but out-of-school time offerings,” said Superintendent Rosser.

Mayor Rolison, Superintendent Rosser and members of the Children’s Cabinet recently joined mayors, superintendents and representatives from their fellow By All Means cities for the initiative’s biannual conference, conducted virtually amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The conference centered on early childhood and cross-sector collaborations to support children and families during the response to COVID-19. Like other districts throughout the nation, the Poughkeepsie City School District had to move to a distance learning model during the outbreak. Some of the conference workshops included, “When School is Online: Addressing the Learning Needs of Our Most Vulnerable Students” and “How do we Build a Better America in the Wake of the Pandemic?”

Mayor Rolison said, “These sessions were enlightening. We have been working with the School District on so many efforts, including communicating to the public about what is transpiring as a result of COVID-19.” The Mayor and Superintendent have held two Facebook Live events, during which residents have had the chance to ask questions and receive answers in real time.

In late February, Superintendent Rosser and Mayor Rolison named members of the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet Executive Committee, which includes leaders in higher education, philanthropy, hospitals, nonprofits and other sectors. The ongoing work of the Cabinet includes engaging grassroots leaders and community representatives in order to launch issue-specific and solutions-oriented working groups.

The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet was an outcome of the first-ever Poughkeepsie Summit at Harvard University, which convened more than 20 local officials and nonprofit leaders last year to discuss community development opportunities related to the City.

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