About the Continuum of Learning

History

 

          The Continuum of Learning arose out of concerns among local leaders about the United States’ slipping in global rankings of educational attainment and labor market changes necessitating a more educated workforce. In light of this emerging reality, they wondered: what should and could Sangamon County be doing to assure that its children, teenagers, and young adults are progressing successfully through each stage of their development and poised to contribute to the region’s economy?

          Interest in answering this question bubbled up at different places in the community at about the same time. There was enough intersection among those involved that it was not long before they realized they were having the same conversation and that it might be more efficient and effective to bring it all together under one umbrella.  When it was formed in 2005, the Continuum of Learning was initially a partnership among the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Central Illinois, and, later, the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, in addition to dozens of community volunteers.

          In 2015, through the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership’s efforts, the Continuum of Learning released the Sangamon Success report, a set of 25 recommendations for improving education outcomes for youth who are less-advantaged in Sangamon County through evidence-based programs.  With this shift toward using research evidence to inform the Continuum of Learning’s decision-making, in 2016, the Sangamon Success report became the first road map for Innovate Springfield’s Social Innovation Program.  In 2017, Innovate Springfield, Springfield Public Schools District 186, and Lincoln Land Community College’s Workforce Development joined the Continuum’s Leadership Council.  At the same time, the Continuum launched its Community Partners Network, a group of service providers and community members who serve as a sounding board and meet quarterly to provide feedback on the Continuum’s strategic direction.

Purpose and Aspirations

The Continuum of Learning is an educational collaborative partnership led by volunteers from:

  • the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln

  • Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

  • United Way of Central Illinois

  • the Center for State Policy and Leadership at University of Illinois Springfield

  • Innovate Springfield

  • Springfield Public Schools District 186

  • Lincoln Land Community College Workforce Development

  • The Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance

  • The Illinois Education Association

 

The purpose of the Continuum is to promote policies, programs, practices, and public attitudes that ensure: 

  • all young children in our community are ready to learn

  • all young adults in our community are ready to enter the world of work

  • and all residents are ready to succeed because they have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge

 

The Continuum partnership is guided by five core aspirations that it believes everyone should endorse:

  • To have every child ready for kindergarten

  • To have every K-5 student performing at or above grade level

  • To have every high school student graduate with a plan for the future

  • To increase post-secondary educational attainment

  • To have all residents of the county achieve their highest employment potential as a result of the learning they have acquired