The academic achievement gap between students from low-income and minority families and their more well-off peers has been a persistent problem for decades. Like many other parts of the country, in Fresno County, California, many families have become stuck in a cycle of high poverty and low academic achievement.

Early in 2012, Fresno County partnered with VIVA to develop a new initiative to tackle what many in the county viewed as a growing educational crisis with negative long-term economic consequences. The Fresno County Birth Through Third Grade Challenge was designed to test a new model for closing the achievement gap by significantly improving third grade reading proficiency for the county’s most vulnerable students.

VIVA helped to educate and activate community organizations and school districts to increase focus on the importance of early childhood and create local birth through third grade continuums of learning and support. Through leadership engagement, learning community curriculum development and facilitation, communications and outreach, and project management, VIVA supported a dramatic culture shift across the county.

Key activities of this partnership:

  • Best Practice Research
  • Branding
  • Collective Impact
  • Data Scan and Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Focus Groups
  • Grantmaking
  • Graphic Design
  • Graphic Recording
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Organizational Development
  • Partnership Development
  • Photography
  • Research Scan and Report
  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • Strategic Planning
  • Systems Change
  • Website Development