Polk Vision is on the verge of becoming an Alignment community. Alignment is a process started in Nashville to address education and health problems. It has spread to at least five other cities, and Polk Vision is working to add Alignment Polk to the list.
School Board members and district officials have said the process can help them improve the county’s education system, graduation rates, test scores and more.
“The payback, you can’t identify it today, but in the long term, it’s going to be unbelievable,” School Board member Hunt Berryman said Aug. 12, the same day the board approved spending up to $100,000 a year for the next three years to help Polk Vision implement the process.
Sara Roberts, director of Polk Vision, said School Board members and other members of the community approached Polk Vision in 2012 and asked it to consider using Alignment. She said she was skeptical but started liking the idea last year.
“I think you have to hear it five or six times to really understand the concept,” she said.
Alignment is intended to align community resources to identify and tackle community problems — “so all the oars on the boat are rowing in the same direction,” Roberts said.
It also includes special software and an accountability system to track the effects of work being done and to determine whether a strategy is helpful.
Each Alignment community has implemented the process in a different way, and Polk Vision is still working out the details of how it will look here.
Polk Vision Document published August 2004