The Alliance for Regional Collaboration to Heighten Educational Success (ARCHES) is a statewide voluntary confederation of regional collaboratives. Composed of schools, community colleges, four year colleges and universities, businesses, community and family organizations, ARCHES aims to create and sustain alliances dedicated to addressing the disparities in achievement for California students. ARCHES supports intersegmental, multi-sector regional collaboratives (ARCHES Alliance) to eliminate the resource and opportunity gaps among student groups, boost student success, and facilitate college and career readiness for students from socio-economic and racial-ethnic communities with historically low college-going rates.
ARCHES provides technical assistance to Alliance members at each stage of their development to increase their success towards their common aim of closing opportunity gaps and increase student’s college readiness, enrollment, and completion. ARCHES also serves as a professional community in which members engaged in collaborative efforts to improve student achievement can learn from each other, identify and promote effective practices, provide professional development and technical assistance, mentor new collaboratives, share strategies to optimize efficiency and effectiveness, and advocate for public policies that lead to educational attainment and elimination of the achievement gap.
Our collaborative approach is guided by seven essential elements:
- Appropriate Regional Organizational Model: Existing local expertise should be leveraged so that each region identifies the partners to include, the problem that provides a barrier to student access and success, and the ways that problems should be addressed in order to ensure change occurs.
- Shared Vision and Goals: Although collaboratives are composed of various entities, they share a common goal — improved student academic achievement, as measured by locally defined student outcomes.
- Continuous Cycle of Reflection: The continual use of data allows educators to monitor and adjust implementation strategies and allows all collaborative members to reflect on their role within the collaborative.
- Effective Communication: Effective communication and follow-up action builds and fosters trust.
- Respect for Differences: Respecting the individual identity and opinions of collaborative partners is essential for establishing trusting relationships that allow collaboration to be effective and efficient.
- Continuous Renewal to Stay Relevant: Continual self-evaluation and self-reflection allows collaboratives to adjust programs and practices and, if necessary, identify professional development needs, and stay relevant with the socio-political environment of their region.
- Committed Stakeholders: The commitment and dedication among the collaborative partners is essential in fostering change in outcomes.
In 2005, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell announced his intention to establish “a new statewide council to better coordinate and integrate education in California from preschool through college.” Responding to this call for action, ARCHES was launched in 2005 as an initiative of the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) — a collaborative program involving all of the state’s educational sectors that is administered by the California State University — and the California Education Round Table. The Round Table serves as a voluntary association of the chief executive officers of all of California’s educational sectors along with its programmatic arm, the Intersegmental Coordinating Committee (ICC). These founding members, and others, have built ARCHES into a substantial component of California’s educational reform effort.
Today, ARCHES is a voluntary confederation of regional collaboratives with a shared goal of closing achievement and opportunity gaps and increasing college readiness, enrollment, and completion rates for students from socio-economic and racial-ethnic communities with historically low college-going rates. Each collaborative is composed of school districts, community colleges, baccalaureate-granting colleges and universities, businesses, community organizations, and parental alliances. Through a tiered system of support services, which includes services such as participation in the ARCHES ACCESS equity-based professional development, ARCHES is focused on helping these collaboratives leverage multi-sector collaboration for student equity.
Click here to read more about ARCHES early years in our publication: “Enhancing Student Achievement through Regional Collaboratives: ARCHES First Five Years.”