StrONg SchoolsStrONg FamilyStrONg Community StrONg Future... for our children INFORMATION SHEETREALITY: Fairfax County is considered one of the most affluent counties in the nation with a median household income of over$100,000 annually. It is also one of the most populous and densely settled counties in the nation, as well as one of the most culturallyand ethnically diverse. The county is teeming with large business operations and federal government offices which offer ongoingemployment opportunities. It has quality schools and quality services for its residents. The high school on-time graduation rate for afour-year cohort stands at 91.4 percent.REALITY: In Fairfax County, communities exist where cultural and socio-economic divisions translate into disparities in accessingservices, participating in civic life, and in the health and well-being of children and families. In these areas, the annual income is oftenless than half of the median income. When overlaying data on student achievement across the county, it is often these communitiesthat stand out as having higher percentages of students lagging behind on critical indicators of educational success.ALL children in Fairfax County deserve to have opportunities to succeed. The best chance to reach this goal isthrough collaborativeaction and engagement in authentic partnerships with community stakeholders. Many communities are working hard to overcomebarriers that impact the success of their children and residents. Using evidence-based practices that are now being followed acrossthe United States, Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax County Human Services are teaming up with community partners,including nonprofits, community groups, businesses, and residents, to work towards creating Opportunity Neighborhoods, wherepositive results occur by increasing educational and developmental outcomes for children.It is a cradle-to-college-to-career approach that begins with a focus on early childhood development and school readiness, followed byeffective elementary and secondary education and college preparedness through to collegeor post-secondary training and beyond.Using key planning principles, such as: a real time, data-driven decision making process; place-based to focus efforts on a targetedcommunity where services and supports can be customized based on unique strengths and needs of neighborhoods; a seamlesscontinuum of solutions for our children and families; and shared goals and ownership with an inclusive planning and decision-makingprocess, we will be able to effectivelyaddress the impact of educational disparities and lead children and youth to success. WHAT IS OPPORTUNITY NEIGHBORHOODS?An Opportunity Neighborhood is a community that offers every opportunity to its children to learn, grow, and succeed!An Opportunity Neighborhood has strong schools at the core and draws upon the strengths of family and community to helpchildren succeed in school and build their hopes and dreams!An Opportunity Neighborhood wraps all its children in a high-quality, coordinated continuum of health, social-emotional,educational, family, and community support from cradle to college to career!An Opportunity Neighborhood sends forth its children and welcomes them back to the community as adults who have beenempowered through their knowledge, abilities, and skills to be active participants of the 21st century! OUR MISSIONAll children in our Opportunity Neighborhoods, with the support of family-community partnerships, will have the opportunity to growup healthy, to have an excellent education from kindergarten through college, and to acquire knowledge and skills in order to activelyparticipate in building a positive future for themselves and for their community into the 21st century.
OPPORTUNITY NEIGHBORHOODS: MOUNT VERNONNeighborhoods in the Mount Vernon and Lee Districts in southern Fairfax County are the first to be targeted for OpportunityNeighborhoods. A recent survey* of the Woodlawn and Mount Vernon Census Designated Place (CDP) concluded that needs existwithin these districts. 1 in 4 respondent households experienced difficulty paying their rent/ mortgage in the past three years; Thirty-one percent of surveyed households reported that it was often true or sometimes true that within the past year, the food they bought did not last and there was no money to get more; Thirty percent of households reported that someone had trouble finding work in the past three years and 43% of these were households with income below $40,000; Nineteen percent of households lacked access to health care on a regular basis in the past three years and access was lower in households making less than $40,000 a year (63%); Within the five target schools in the area (Woodlawn ES, Riverside ES, Mount Vernon Woods ES, Whitman MS, Mount Vernon HS), the percentage of students receiving free or reduced priced meals ranges from about 50% to 86%; these schools also have student populations with limited English proficiency ranging from 14% to over 50%; For the class of 2010, the on-time graduation rate was 87.1% at the target high school, compared to an average of 91.2% countywide. The on-time graduation rate was lowest for Hispanic students (76.2%) and economically disadvantaged students had an on-time graduation rate of 84.9%.Strengths upon which to build also exist: Residents with roots in the communityExisting community support system with strong linkages Active network of community-based organizations and county agenciesPositive ongoing transformation of Route One corridor Strong schools at the heart of the community WHO IS INVOLVED IN BUILDING OPPORTUNITY NEIGHBORHOODS?Seed grants have allowed the county, school system, and community partners to pursue this new planning philosophy and efforts arefocused on building an alliance of public and private stakeholders in Mount Vernon committed to ensuring positive results for childrenand youth. A number of key stakeholders have come together to bring Opportunity Neighborhoods: Mount Vernon to life and tocultivate a culture of engagement, involvement, and success……Together We’re the Answer Community Collaborative; Mount VernonYouth Taskforce; Fairfax County Public Schools – Mount Vernon Woods ES, Riverside ES, Woodlawn ES, Whitman MS, MountVernon HS; Capital One and the Business Sector; George Mason University – Center for Social Science Research; Fairfax CountyGovernment; Center for the Study of Social Policy…….and more partnersare welcome: Children; Youth; Parents; Residents; Nonprofit and Faith-Based Organizations; Civic andNeighborhood Associations; Businesses……Together we can work collaboratively to: Serve an entire neighborhoodCreate pipelines of supports and servicesUse data to drive decisions, policy, and funding Build communityCultivate a culture of engagement, involvement and success HOW CAN I BE INVOLVED?Extensive community outreach is taking place to ensure that community partners and the residents of Opportunity Neighborhoods:Mount Vernon are informed and engaged in the ongoing planning and in the creation of a pipeline of supports and services forchildren and families. Please consider becoming a partner!For more information and to become involved, please contact Andrea Bylykbashi, Project Manager, Opportunity Neighborhoods:Mount Vernon – email: email@example.com; phone: 703-314-6894 All children growing up in an Opportunity Neighborhood have access to effective schools and strong systems of family and community support that prepare them to attain an excellent education and be successful in college and career.*Mt. Vernon Assessment, Opportunity Neighborhoods, Fairfax, VA. The Center for Social Science Research, George Mason University, February 2012.