Posted by Terrence Dalton on Sep 09, 2020
The Rotary Club of Akron welcomed Dr. Matthew Deevers as our guest speaker during our Tuesday, September 8th Club meeting.  It was a very informative presentation discussing some of the initiatives the Summit Education Initiative (SEI) is working on.  The video of his presentation is below or you can click here.
Dr. Matthew Deevers is the Executive Director of Summit Education Initiative, where he previously held the role of Senior Research Associate. Before joining SEI, he was a public school teacher and administrator.
SEI’s mission is to improve personal and regional prosperity through increased educational attainment. Education provides a clear path to future success, career opportunities and promotes vibrant and resilient communities.  The SEI sees their role as providing support and enhance existing systems.  Mr. Deevers commented that part of SEI’s mission is to ensure students have the degree and skills needed to have the life they desire and dream of.  The proper education allows for greater pathways for the future.
To help Summit County realize their vision and act upon its mission, Summit Education Initiative:
  • Articulates the major educational challenges facing Summit county and 
  • Tracks the progress being made to address those challenges by conducting research and publicizing relevant data and findings
  • Encourages and facilitates collaborations designed to address those educational challenges and
  • Develops prototype programs that test and refine strategies for removing barriers to high educational aspiration and achievement.
The goals that drive SEI’s mission and vision are:
  • to increase the number of students ready for kindergarten success
  • to increase the number of students on track for success in school,
  • ensure all students who graduate high school have a plan to become enrolled, enlisted or employed,
  • to increase the number of individuals with career credentials and college degrees, and
  • empower partners who are working with youth to support student success.
As SEI works to engage with their partners and collaborators, Mr. Deevers listed a few of their engagement activities.  These engagements include the following:
  • all Summit County school districts, plus many non-public schools,
  • three closest higher education institutions,
  • 60+ Out of School Time Partners, 
  • 130+ preschools,
  • government and nonprofit agencies,
  • local, state and national foundations and funders, and
  • business entities.
To accomplish SEI’s goals, Mr. Deevers described their methods.  These include: 
  • Convene caring adults from educational, nonprofit, government and business entities,
  • Use data to identify specific issues that require attention,
  • Mobilize their five strategy teams to execute specific goals and tactics that address the issues,
  • Measure progress and success,
  • Report their findings,
  • Scale successful strategies across the county, and
  • Repeat steps 1 – 6 as necessary until the goals are met.
SEI in collaboration with their various partners have developed some Leading Indicators of Success.  These indicators can change as new needs or challenges are identified.  Currently the following Educational Attainment Indicators are in place: 
  • Kindergarten Readiness – Scoring on track in Language and Literacy on Ohio’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment,
  • Third Grade Reading – Scoring proficient or higher on Ohio’s 3rd Grade Next Generation Reading Test,
  • Eighth Grade Math -  Scoring proficient or higher on Ohio’s 8th Grade Next Generation Math Test,
  • Ninth Grade Success – Completing 9th Grade with a 3.1 or higher GPA and 6.5 cumulative credits,
  • College and Career Readiness – Graduating with a 21 or higher composite score on the ACT (or equivalent),
  • College Enrollment – Enrolling in accredited post-secondary programs,
  • Post College Readiness – Encouraging individuals who have attended college but didn’t graduate, to see how they can go back to school to get their degree or other type of certification, etc.
SEI has a staff of nine.  Most of their funding comes from the United Way of Summit and Medina Counties and various local Foundations.  Since SEI is a Not-for-Profit organization they always welcome donations from individuals and corporations. 
Rotarians interested in getting involved with the SEI initiatives can check out their website.  Currently they have a Career Awareness Video Project.  SEI is looking for volunteers to complete a brief video about their career to enable students to explore various career options, etc.
Individuals wishing to know more about Summit Education Initiative are encouraged to go to their website, which is