Norwalk ACTS Pamphlet

Learn more about Norwalk ACTS

Learn more about Norwalk ACTS


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Norwalk ACTS is determined to break down barriers,

change or rebuild systems, and improve outcomes for

all Norwalk’s children and families regardless of race,

neighborhood, or by the conditions in which they are born.



children and youth

shared accountability


cradle to career

early childhood

two generational

social justice




trauma informed




breaking down





systems change



undocumented youth

career ready





One Mission

To enrich and improve the

lives and futures of all of

Norwalk’s children and

youth, from cradle to career.

One Vision

Norwalk will be the healthiest

city in America for a child

to grow academically,

social emotionally, and


Social Justice and Equity

Norwalk ACTS first coalesced around data that showed an overrepresentation

of boys of color being suspended and expelled.

We are committed to continuing to disaggregate data to report

on racial and economic disparities so that together we can deploy

tools and resources to support adoption of equitable practices.

This includes evaluating our internal operations and systems and

building our own capacity to make measurable progress towards

being a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.

/ Who We Are

Norwalk ACTS is a not-for-profit, cross-sector cradle to career partnership. We are made

up of over 100 community and civic leaders, educators, organizations, and individuals who

are committed to building and sustaining a community infrastructure to support a safe,

equitable, and successful pathway for each and every child in Norwalk.














/ What We Do

“We have seen that the combination of the

five principles and these practices contributes

to meaningful population-level change.”

– Collective Impact Forum

Norwalk ACTS uses the five principles of Collective Impact to bring people together,

in a structured way, to achieve social change. Collective Impact is rooted in the belief

that no single organization alone can create large-scale, lasting social change on its own.

We use the five principles of Collective Impact:

Common Shared





We incorporate these additional eight practices of Collective Impact:

1. Design and implement Initiatives with a priority placed on equity

2. Include community members in the collaborative

3. Recruit and co-create with cross-sector partners

4. Use data to continuously learn, adapt, and improve

5. Cultivate leaders with unique system leadership skills

6. Focus on program and system strategies

Reinforcing Communication


7. Build a culture that fosters relationships, trust, and respect across participants

8. Customize for local context





Roadmap To Success

Norwalk ACTS is a member of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network. In partnership with nearly

70 communities across the country, StriveTogether provides resources, best practices and processes to

give every child every chance for success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 13.7 million

students, involves 10,800 organizations and has partners in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

Behind Every Data Point is a Child

“Having a data dashboard that

brings together data from several

sources, where all stakeholders

can access the numbers and make

sense of a school’s needs based

on the story these numbers

tell, helps us build a common

understanding about school

improvement and provides

transparency in an industry that

is often complicated by jargon

and inaccessible to outsiders.”

– Sandra Faioes

Director of School Improvement

Norwalk Public Schools

/ Shared Measurement – Data Drives Decisions

Norwalk ACTS believes in the power of data and information to improve practices and

identify and close gaps disproportionately experienced by race, gender, and income.

Informed decision-making is based on the availability and the analysis of good data.

Without it, we cannot measure change or impact. That’s why it is a core foundation

of our work.

• Data is the tool we use to gain a better understanding of why some children are succeeding,

while others are struggling.

• Data creates collective knowledge and becomes the muscle we use to improve the systems

that impact Norwalk’s children.

• Data, pulled together from different sources, enables us to tell a story beyond test scores,

socio-economic status or what language a child speaks at home.

• Data allows us to communicate and take actions on systemic inequities.

• Data empowers our community to make evidence-based decisions to positively impact the

needs of Norwalk’s children.

• Data is a powerful asset. To view our dashboards visit our website www.norwalkacts.org.

A Word About Data Privacy

Norwalk ACTS takes data privacy seriously. We have signed a data sharing agreement with Norwalk Public

Schools which defines how we are allowed to safely and responsibly use student data, adhering to FERPA

guidelines. We also obtain parental consent before any of our members share data with Norwalk ACTS.

/ How We Do It

The power driving the Norwalk ACTS partnership is its members, who act with shared

accountability and differentiated responsibilities. Various entities, each operating with

outlined roles and responsibilities, provide the organizational structure for Norwalk ACTS.


Board of Directors

Backbone Staff

Initiatives &

Working Groups



The Backbone staff of Norwalk ACTS is the coordinating body of the partnership. We align the efforts and

resources of our members and other community partners, who work to improve agreed upon community

level outcomes. Backbone staff provide these critical functions:

• Develop key messages about the work of Norwalk ACTS and communicate them regularly

to the membership and broader community

• Enable the access, analysis, and utilization of data by members and the broader community

to support the work of Norwalk ACTS

• Convene Norwalk ACTS Initiatives, Working Groups and other community members to use

data to implement strategies and take action on identified needs

• Advocate for policy change to eliminate barriers that inhibit the advancement of the work

of Norwalk ACTS

• Develop and implement a plan for securing funding and resources to advance the work

of Norwalk ACTS

/ Our Work In Focus

Collection, connection, and analysis of academic, social emotional, and health & wellness data

within our six community level outcomes is the focus of the work. This work helps our members

and community better identify the overall needs of Norwalk’s children and take action.

Norwalk ACTS Community Level Outcomes


/ Norwalk children

enter Kindergarten

ready to learn.


/ Norwalk students

meet the goal

level in 3rd Grade



/ Norwalk students

have the necessary

skills to successfully

transition from

5th to 6th Grade.


/ Norwalk students

have the necessary

skills to successfully

transition from

8th to 9th Grade.

5 6

/ Norwalk students / Norwalk

successfully graduate graduates are

from high school career-ready with

in 4 years, ready a college degree

for college, postsecondary

training or certificate.

or professional

full-time employment.


Prenatal to 3rd Grade

The Prenatal to 3rd Grade Initiative strives to create an overarching community system for children and families

that will launch every young child on a path to success. With assets of over 30 organizations and 50 members,

the Prenatal to 3rd Grade Initiative encompasses four working groups: Language and Literacy, Home Visiting,

Early Childhood Health & Development, and PreK to Kindergarten Transition.

Social Emotional Learning

Overwhelming evidence shows that in order for students to be successful in school, career, and life, they need to

develop the social emotional learning skills necessary to navigate the world. The Social Emotional Learning Initiative

focuses on the development of a coordinated system of support and the alignment of the school district, parents,

and community partners to meet these needs. Central to this work is the focus on key transition points throughout

the life of a child and young adult.

Health & Wellness

The goal of the Health & Wellness Initiative is to foster a culture of health, provide access to resources, and advocate

for policies that sustain the health of the children and families of Norwalk. Healthy, fit, well-nourished kids are ready

to focus, learn, and engage. Norwalk ACTS believes in a holistic approach to helping children thrive from cradle to

career, including essential aspects of their physical health & wellness. Through an education lens, healthy students

perform better academically, are better able to concentrate and focus, and have fewer absences and behavior

problems. Higher achievement levels are seen in students who are active, well-nourished, and connected to

physical, mental, and oral health care.

Out of School Time

Approximately 86% of a child’s time between birth and 18 is spent out of school, mainly at home. Formerly TEAM Summer,

our Out of School Initiative focuses on developing a coordinated system to promote healthy and high quality learning

opportunities that meet academic, social emotional, and health & wellness needs of children and young people.

College and Career Ready

Our vision is for all young people in Norwalk to graduate high school prepared for post-secondary education and/or

a career. This includes demonstrating academic proficiency and mastering social emotional skills that will lead to

employability and/or successful navigation of post-secondary education. We seek to address the opportunity gap

that is reflected in the deep disparities in rates of college acceptance and persistence by students of color and those

from low-income families.

/ How Can I Engage?

1/ Join Us

Become a member of Norwalk ACTS! We ask individuals and organizations joining the partnership to

sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The MOA serves as an articulation of the shared intention

of the Norwalk ACTS membership to implement the mission and outlines the roles and responsibilities

of everyone involved. Sign up for our newsletters or join an Initiative or Working Group. Visit us online

at www.norwalkacts.org or email us at info@norwalkacts.org to learn more.

2/ Explore

In order to break down barriers and change systems, every one of us must explore and confront our

own implicit bias and understand how it impacts our work. Commit to courageous conversations as

we engage with our difficult history of inequality in order to develop a more just and equitable future.

3/ Act

Collective Impact relies on everyone doing their part. Commit to learning what you can do to support

young people in Norwalk by visiting www.norwalkacts.org/SEL.

4/ Advocate

Become a voice for change in our community by challenging systems and structures that perpetuate

the opportunity gap. Speak out at Board of Education and other community meetings where policies

are being decided.

5/ Invest

Ensuring successful outcomes for all of Norwalk’s children requires investments of time, talent, and

treasure. Volunteer and/or make a donation to Norwalk ACTS or to any of our member non-profit

organizations by visiting www.norwalkacts.org/membership.

6/ Share

Help spread the word about our work by sharing our newsletters and following us on social media.

Talk with friends, family, and other members of the community about our work and become part

of the movement that is changing outcomes for all of Norwalk’s children, cradle to career.

Working Together, Everything Is Achievable.

/ 9 Mott Ave, Norwalk CT 06850 / 203.956.0700 / NorwalkACTS.org

April 2020



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