Springboard Collaborative is taking a deep dive into innovation work as we continue to develop our app and academic year program. From identifying key stakeholders to reflecting on user feedback, every step of the innovation process is essential for achieving success. As Schoolyear Coordinator, I got firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a part of Springboard’s pilot program team. Here are the top 4 things I learned this past year.

1. Innovation work takes time

Experimentation is not instantaneous; it can take months to develop new ideas and program models to implement. While Springboard has established Summer and Afterschool programs that help students achieve reading growth, we are reexamining our academic year program to support each of our partner’s needs and individual goals.

Design work like this will take several iterations as we work with schools to get it just right. I’ve learned to be patient and work with our partners on their timelines. It’s important to understand their needs and reflect on the new insights and knowledge gained!

2. It’s important to be flexible

Innovation work calls for major flexibility from its implementers. Programming can be unpredictable, with new problems arising. I quickly learned how to shift my priorities to accommodate the uncertainty of the academic year.

Being able to juggle multiple projects on similar timelines and focus on our partners success helped the whole pilot program team succeed.

3. Collaborate with experts

They’re experts for a reason – you’re bound to learn something from them! From years of experience, experts have comprehensive knowledge to address problems and implement the best solutions. Working alongside professionals who have seasoned careers in education and with families, who are experts on their children, gave me a unique understanding of how to navigate the different school systems and how to engage with our partners in the most meaningful and effective ways. 

4. Work toward a purpose!

As a team, it is important to work toward a common goal. At Springboard Collaborative, we all work toward our vision: “To close the literacy gap by closing the gap between home and school.” Our team works together to constantly improve our programs and be the most effective and most impactful in service to student reading growth.

During my time as Schoolyear Coordinator, my biggest take-away was the importance of a purpose. Every day I come to work excited to face new challenges and celebrate small wins. I think it’s important to work toward a cause and try to better our local communities in the process, and I get to do that with Springboard Collaborative!

Make sure to check out our website to see the exciting things we’re doing to achieve 100,000 reading goals and 30,000 students on grade level by December 31, 2022!

Post contributed by Olivia Newell-Bauer as part of the Spotlight blog series. Olivia was the 2018-2019 Schoolyear Coordinator, working at Springboard for a year of service as an Americorps VISTA PHENND Fellow. In September 2019, she will be starting her new role as HR Coordinator at Springboard Collaborative.