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President Launches 'Strive' Educational Partnership

President Nancy L. Zimpher and other members of the education, business, civic and non-profit sectors unveil Strive, an unprecedented regional partnership aimed at creating the best educational system in the world -- right here in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Date: 8/16/2006 12:00:00 AM
By: Jeff Edmondson
Phone: (513) 929-1156
Other Contact: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-2019
Photos By: Lisa Ventre

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President Zimpher leads a Strive cheer.
President Zimpher leads a Strive cheer.

Leaders in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky believe this region can develop the best educational system in the world from preschool through college. In an unprecedented cooperative effort to ensure that every student in the region succeeds, superintendents and college presidents in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky today joined with elected officials, education, business, non-profit, and civic leaders to launch a region-wide community effort called Strive. The announcement was made to a crowd of supporters assembled on the Purple People Bridge between Cincinnati and Newport, Kentucky.

Strive brings together leaders who have all invested heavily in educational improvement, but have rarely worked collaboratively. By focusing on the need for improved educational achievement and attainment so that the region can compete in the global economy, the partners are overcoming the traditional obstacles to working together and have begun building a framework for a model education system.

“Our region is blessed with a wealth of resources to support student success,” said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. “We are bringing these resources and initiatives together for the first time into a partnership organized around a core set of goals and strategies. By focusing our work, I join the mayors in Covington and Newport in believing this region can distinguish itself as a national leader on innovative education policy.”
The Strive Promise of student success is focused on five key goals and initial strategies:

Photo of Strive banner unveiling.
Covington Mayor Butch Callery unveils the Strive banner.

In addition to the strategies, the business community will work with the partners to reengineer the education system and develop an accountability structure that supports alignment of these efforts over the long term. “We believe that by coordinating these strategies and others that will follow, we can ensure precious resources are used efficiently and effectively to reach every student,” said Jim Wiseman, Vice President of Toyota.

Kathryn Merchant, President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation announced, “I have the pleasure to present two major financial contributions to support Strive. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has committed one million dollars over the next four years to support the work of developing Community Learning Centers in Cincinnati Public Schools. We are also working with our partners in Covington Independent Public Schools and Newport Independent Schools to support similar work in their districts. Additionally, United Way of Greater Cincinnati will make a first-year commitment of $200,000 to the Community Learning Center effort--with the potential for more to come.”

In addition, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, a nationally recognized leader in innovative educational initiatives based in Cincinnati, has committed loaned staff and other resources to sustain Strive. President and CEO Chad Wick said, “We have worked throughout the country to learn from and promote reforms that completely rethink how education systems operate.  The leadership represented in the Strive partnership is unprecedented nationally and puts Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky on the cutting edge of meaningful educational reform.  We feel it is our obligation to support such a bold new vision for the region.”

Photo of Withrow High School dance team.
The Withrow High School dance team and band performed for the Strive launch.

However, the partners believe that this vision can only be achieved with the support and commitment of the community as a whole. University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher noted, “The news here is that so many aspects of the education pathway are coming together in extraordinary ways, to make our community smarter and stronger. This is an opportunity for everyone to get involved all along the way.”
Strive is asking for feedback on these strategies and others that should be prioritized to promote student success. Everyone is encouraged to visit the web site at

For those who would like to get involved immediately, Strive has identified specific volunteer opportunities aligned with its core strategies. These opportunities can be found on the web site or by calling United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s “Get Connected, Get Answers” line at 2-1-1 for more detailed information. 

“This region has the fiscal resources, passionate citizens, and committed leadership to make our region a national example,” concluded Rosa Blackwell, Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent. “By striving for educational excellence together and holding ourselves accountable for results, we can make this vision a reality.” 

Note:  Several Community Forums are scheduled over the next three weeks – list attached.

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