In 15 years of working with the media, one thing that’s certain is competition among outlets can be fierce as news teams and editors work diligently to get the right story in front of the right people at the right time. In Guilford County, the presence of two major cities – High Point and Greensboro – adds even more healthy competition to the mix as reporters race to get the story first.
It’s wonderful to see, however, that the idea of collective impact isn’t lost on Guilford County’s media as it relates to childhood literacy. This entire summer, select members of the media have agreed to serve as guest bloggers for AchieveGuilford. Each blog post will show how reading has shaped their lives both personally and professionally, while also supporting Guilford County Schools’ (GCS) 3 Million Books Challenge. The thought behind this is to use local media “star power” and personal stories to motivate people to read and learn more about literacy issues.
Columnists like Doug Clark or Morgan Josey Glover from the News & Record and Owen Covington from the Triad Business Journal or TV personalities like Nicole Ferguson from Fox 8 and Tracey McCain from WFMY News 2 will highlight literacy as a fundamental building block of success. They will put getting “the scoop” on the back burner to work collectively in shaping attitudes towards reading.
What’s more, I’ve seen firsthand how collective impact influences community-based initiatives through my work with Guilford County Schools (GCS) and Strive member AchieveGuilford. The 3 Million Books Challenge of Guilford County Schools, for example, has received widespread support from our local businesses, nonprofits and government leaders (more to come on that in an upcoming blog post).
The 3 Million Books Challenge comes from GCS Superintendent Mo Green in which he has asked GCS students to read 3 million books by year’s end. With GCS’ strong commitment to excellence and the community’s assistance, last year’s goal of 2 million books was exceeded by more than 600,000.
Throwing the “operating in silos” concept out the window in order to see students flourish and thrive now and in the future is key to this initiative and is the only thing that has the power to create sustainable programs.
In Guilford County, local leaders, parents, teachers, administrators and the media continue to work towards the common goal of making every child ready, cradle to career. Joining forces to stress the importance of reading and literacy is one way Guilford County mobilizes around education. It isn’t always easy, but leaving personal agendas “at the door” has set our community on the right track where students become the ultimate winners.
Brian Cockman is a member of the AchieveGuilford communications committee and assists with their community relations. He’s also the President of Rooster Communications and is a product of the public school system in North Carolina having attended elementary, middle school and high school in Guilford County, UNC Chapel Hill for his undergraduate degree and UNC Greensboro for his MPA. Rooster Communications has offices in Greensboro, NC and Charlotte, NC. Brian can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @bcockman.