By Juan Garcia, Senior Director, Center for Equity in Learning with support from Lew Montgomery, Maria Vasquez, and Tina McCoy Hearn

Partnerships continue to drive the equity work of the Center for Equity in Learning, this quarter was not any different. We took numerous approaches to this exciting work and learned a great deal from our partners.

In December, the Center hosted three Hispanic students and an educator from Des Moines, Iowa who shared their personal stories, dreams of a postsecondary education, and the struggles they face. The connection between the students and the ACT team members created a buzz about how we are helping students across the country (and the globe) pursue the next step of their educations, leaving us inspired to do more.

This kind of partnership will continue with more interactions with students like these, who are able to bring their unique perspectives to ACT – and help bring our work to life.

The event also included the screening of our partner Univision’s documentary “Luchando por el Exito” (Fighting for Success) which narrates the stories of four students and their hardships as they prepare for the next step of their lives. Learn more here.

This quarter, the Center also hosted the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Superintendent Leadership Academy. Eighteen Latino administrators from across the U.S. spent two days in Iowa City, learning more about ACT and our solutions, while also enjoying a day of professional development as part of their academy.

Each fall, ACT hosts our annual meeting where team members from across the organization come together to look back at the past year’s successes and ahead to our goals for the future. An effort led by the Center, and thanks to our external partnerships, led to an inspiring discussion during the meeting between students from Tilden High School (Chicago) and Solon High School (Solon, Iowa) moderated by our Chief Officer Jim Larimore. Their panel provided student perspectives, and ACT team members enjoyed seeing the contrast between two very different schools and their often similar perspectives.

The Center works closely with the American College Application Campaign (ACAC), an initiative of the American Council on Education (ACE) to pursue its work to promote access to all students – especially those who face disadvantages – by completing a college application. In its second year, this partnership has also produced the Precollege and Career Curriculum now available nationally, creation of a College Match and Fit toolkit leveraging ACT’s free service, ACT Profile, and most recently, the creation of Steps2College. The Center will continue to support ACAC in 2018.

We are looking forward to all of these partnerships continuing to help fulfill our mutual missions, growing the number of people we impact, while we work on bringing new and exciting partnerships to join our efforts.