ABOUT DREAM BIG

CRADLE-TO-CAREER

EARLY CHILDHOOD

SCHOOL YEARS (K-12)

PATHWAYS TO COLLEGE & CAREER

ABOUT DREAM BIG

The Dream Big Initiative is a collaborative of Boulder County nonprofits, the local school district, government agencies, businesses, and other community organizations working together toward the same vision: To “increase Boulder County’s collective commitment to eliminate the opportunity and achievement gap” so that “by 2040, all children in Boulder County are succeeding academically and reaching their full potential.”

The Dream Big Initiative is expanding the successful “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County (“I Have A Dream”) program to serve more of the county’s low-income youth and creating a pipeline of wrap-around supports from cradle-to-career. Dream Big partners are working together to tackle Boulder County’s opportunity and achievement gap – one of the largest in the State of Colorado. Since launching in 2014, the Dream Big Initiative has resulted in increased collaboration and coordination among families, government, business, schools and nonprofit organizations working to close Boulder County’s persistent achievement gap for its 16,800 low-income students.

Dream Big Organizational Structure As the backbone organization supporting this collective work, “I Have A Dream” co-leads Dream Big, alongside its partner of more than 20 years, Boulder Housing Partners. Foothills United Way funded the first dedicated staff person, the Dream Big Project Manager, based at “I Have A Dream” who works with all partners to convene, organize, and support the collaboration and plan signature events. The Steering Committee meets monthly and oversees the Dream Big Initiative and Workgroups, which include: Early Childhood, K-12, Pathways to College & Career, and Sustainability.

These groups are focused on formalizing shared measurements, identifying key barriers and opportunities, developing strategies to close the opportunity and achievement gap, and implementing joint programming.

Steering Committee Members :

SUSTAINABILITY Recognizing the importance of aligning to leverage long-term funding to meet Dream Big’s ambitious goal, the Sustainability Workgroup supports the governance, communications and long-term financing needs of the Dream Big collaboration. After an initial three year development process funded by the partners and a grant from the Nonprofit Cultivation Center, Dream Big received a five-year Community Impact Initiative grant in 2017 from Foothills United Way, which has provided critical funding to support the backbone function of Dream Big, purchase a mini-bus to support collaborative programming, underwrite the annual Latino Parent Summit, and launch the first Internship recruiting event.  If you would like more information, please contact us here.

Sustainability Workgroup Members

  • Co-Chair: Lori Canova, “I Have A Dream” Foundation
  • Co-Chair: Rene Brodeur, Boulder Housing Partners
  • Boulder Housing Partners Foundation B
  • Boulder Valley School District
  • Foothills United Way
  • In addition to the financial, in-kind, and human resources invested by these organizations, the following supporters have also contributed financially to the Dream Big Initiative: City of Boulder-Human Services Fund, City of Boulder Health Equity Fund, City of Boulder Youth Opportunities Advisory Board, Colorado’s Department of Higher Education, Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI), The Denver Foundation, Foothills United Way, Impact Initiatives Fund, Front Range Community College, Nonprofit Cultivation Center, The Millennium Trust, Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, University of Colorado, Boulder

Staff

Katie Scolari Borden, Dream Big Project Manager 303-444-3636 x 123 | dreambig@ihaveadreamboulder.org

As the first full-time staff hired in 2017 to support the Dream Big Initiative, Katie brings 16 years of nonprofit leadership, management and partnership development experience to her role as Dream Big Project Manager. Katie has developed long-term partnerships that support communities confronting issues of poverty around the globe. A Certified Nonprofit Professional, Katie holds a Bachelor’s of Science in International Politics from Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.

CRADLE-TO-CAREER

A CRADLE-TO-CAREER APPROACH A child’s education begins long before school and continues long past graduation. There is substantial research showing that achieving specific academic, social and emotional milestones along the cradle-to-career continuum affects a student’s long-term odds of success. Together, the Dream Big partners are serving youth and their families along this path, and are working to identify milestones for collective evaluation, including: The partners are currently evaluating the availability, feasibility and reliability of data pertaining to these outcomes in order to develop a data dashboard to communicate about our collective impact.

EARLY CHILDHOOD

Goal/Outcome: All youth are ready for school: Boulder County Head Start estimates close to 29% of kids in poverty are not enrolled in any kind of preschool before starting kindergarten. In the Early Childhood Workgroup, partners have collaborated to provide services to low-income parents so their children are better prepared for school before they reach the classroom. These initiatives tie housing and education together, support family stability and leadership, and connect parents to early child development resources. Highlights include:

  • Boulder Housing Partners’ (BHP) housing communities serve as community hubs for bridging educational programming to low-income parents. A coordinated referral process overseen by Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) refers families with children under the age of 6 to education-focused Boulder Housing Partners’ (BHP) housing sites, where they receive access to parenting classes and enrichment opportunities for their children.  
  • Working with ELPASO: Engaged Latino Parents Advancing Student Outcomes, a nonprofit organization founded with the support of The Community Foundation, to create and train parent leaders to support and provide resources to other parents in Early Education preparation.
  • Dream Big partners work with parents to hold an annual Latino Parent Summit geared to Spanish-speaking parents of young children, a pilot of the Dream Big Early Childhood Working Group. The Summit is the only district-wide event with workshops, exhibitors and presentations delivered entirely in Spanish for parents of young children on topics they have identified as important to them.

Early Childhood Workgroup Members

  • Chair: Karin Stayton, Boulder Housing Partners (BHP)
  • Boulder Valley School District (BVSD)
  • The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County
  • Early Childhood Council of Boulder County (ECCBC)
  • El Centro
  • AMISTAD
  • Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA)
  • Engaged Latino Parents Achieving Student Outcomes (ELPASO)
  • Head Start Boulder County

SCHOOL YEARS (K-12)

Goals/Outcomes:

  • All students are proficient in early grade reading
  • All students are proficient in middle grade math
  • All students graduate on time from High School

Boulder County has one of the largest academic achievement gaps between free and reduced lunch (FRL) eligible students and non-FRL enrolled students. By third grade, Latino and low-income students are “less than half as likely to be reading proficiently as their Anglo and more affluent peers” ( Trends Report, 2017).  These disparities persist into high school, with Latinos and low-income students graduating high school at much lower rates than their peers. The K-12 Workgroup focuses on ensuring these students have long-term, wrap-around academic, social-emotional and family support throughout their educational experience.  Highlights include:

  • Launched five Dreamer Scholar cohorts in Boulder and Lafayette. Three of these new classes (Oak, Elk and Diagonal) are the start of Dream Big’s long-term goal to expand “I Have A Dream” programming to all qualified students living in Boulder Housing Partners sites and feeder elementary schools. The other two classes are the start of Dream Big’s long-term goal to expand “I Have A Dream” programming to all qualified students at Alicia Sanchez Elementary, the highest-needs school in Boulder Valley School District, to form the first Dreamer Academy.
  • In 2017, Dream Big launched its Healthy Together initiative, funded by Boulder’s Sugar Sweetened Beverage Product Distribution tax revenues to ensure low-income, primarily Latino youth and families have access to physical activity opportunities.
  • In 2017, Boulder County launched the Family Resource Network with goals to create a fully integrated system of service delivery and to improve self-sufficiency outcomes of families and social, emotional, and academic outcomes of children and youth. Dream Big partners are an integral part of this County-wide strategy and are working closely with the County to ensure expansion efforts are aligned and coordinated.

K12 Workgroup Members

  • Co-Chair: Sam Messier, Boulder Valley School District
  • Co-Chair: Garett Brownlee-Plantz, “I Have A Dream” Foundation
  • Boulder Housing Partners & BHP Foundation
  • City of Boulder Human Services, Family Resource Schools
  • City of Boulder Parks & Recreation, Youth Services Initiative

PATHWAYS TO COLLEGE & CAREER

Goals/Outcomes:

  • All students enroll in a post-secondary certificate or degree program
  • All students earn a post-secondary certificate or college degree

Boulder County is a high-tech hub in Colorado and 60% of residents hold a bachelors or advanced degree, but only 47% of our Latino students pursue a college education, compared to 71% of their Anglo peers. and half of FRL students will require remedial coursework compared to 23% of their non-FRL peers. Educational gaps that start early can widen over time, resulting in a mountain of untapped local potential — a problem that Dream Big partners are focused on addressing. Dream Big partners are working to help low-income students achieve academic success starting with setting high academic expectations, providing after-school programming, career exploration, internship opportunities, navigation support through the post-secondary application and enrollment process, and scholarships. Highlights include:

  • Since 2015 with the assistance of a grant from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, Dream Big Partners have provided college-success programs preparing students for post-secondary success with ACT/SAT preparation, college essay workshops, college & scholarship application support, FAFSA assistance, and opportunities for concurrent enrollment.
  • The University of Colorado Boulder and Front Range Community College provide opportunities for eligible students in the college-success programming to participate in college tours.  Campus tours include a pre-collegiate week with Front Range Community College and a two-week on-campus residency experience at CU Boulder with “I Have A Dream’s” Pre-Collegiate Program.
  • Dream Big exposes youth to real-world experience through “I Have A Dream’s” Summer Internship Program. Internship hosts are recruited locally through partners and the Building the Dream Internship Recruitment Event.  To learn more about the Internship Program click here.
  • In 2015, through a collaborative application process, “I Have A Dream” was selected as Boulder County’s fiscal agent for the Colorado Department of Education’s Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.  With matching funding, the COSI scholarship fund will distribute $1M to local youth participating in qualified college success programs.

Pathways to College & Career Workgroup Members

  • Co-Chair: Chris Pacheco, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Co-Chair: Lori Canova, “I Have A Dream” Foundation
  • Boulder Valley School District
  • Boulder High School
  • Adelante! Club
  • Boulder High School
  • AVID Club
  • Boulder Housing Partners
  • Boulder County Workforce
  • Boulder Chamber of Commerce
  • Boulder Area Labor Council
  • Front Range Community College
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