America’s Promise Messaging Frameworks
Our narratives matter. From the way we communicate about learning to the language we use to describe young people, our words tell a story. America’s Promise has produced two messaging frameworks so the youth-supporting field can tell a stronger, clearer, more youth-centered story of America’s young people and the systems and institutions with which they interact. We believe that using consistent messages—in frame, words, and tone—can help us more effectively advocate for necessary changes in systems and practices so that every young person has the opportunity to reach their full potential. These documents are not meant to replace existing language that has been intentionally crafted by or for any organization. Rather, it has been collaboratively designed to synthesize existing knowledge, principles, and language in a digestible way to help the field clearly and collectively articulate a more mobilizing narrative about young people, learning, and schools themselves.
We envision these tools are living documents, and have published them in Word format so they can be easily shared and repurposed to accommodate each individual and/or organization’s communication needs. We anticipate sharing additional messaging tools and resources in the future, so stay tuned for more!
How Learning Happens Messaging Framework
A Tool for Communicating about Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Learning
New energy, new evidence, and an emerging consensus on how learning happens have created a remarkable opportunity to galvanize widespread adoption of a whole child approach. However, messages about how learning happens are often obscured by confusion over terminology, weakening the field’s overall ability to tell a compelling story about social, emotional, and cognitive development. The narrative about learning must reflect the reality that learning is a social, emotional, and cognitive process for each and every young person—a process that is affected by their identities, relationships, circumstances, and a host of other academic and non-academic factors. Additionally, our narrative must become more intentionally youth-centered, equity-focused, and actively anti-racist.
The purpose and contribution of this document is to provide a shared messaging framework as a starting point for communicating about how learning happens. Our view is that a strong, coherent narrative can help the youth-supporting field come together, align our work toward a common purpose, and move toward the day when a whole child mindset is a well-accepted, widely-adopted model of approaching all work with children and youth.
GradNation Messaging Framework
A Tool for Communicating about the High School Experience and the Graduation Milestone
Conversations about high schools, graduation rates, and young people themselves often lead with the ways that schools or students are failing. These deficit-based narratives are not only misleading—they also make achieving the national goal of reaching a 90 percent graduation rate feel distant and unattainable. The youth-supporting field needs a better, clearer, and more mobilizing narrative. One that communicates the possible. One that focuses on the strengths and identities of young people; what adolescents need during this crucial and promising time in their lives; and how high schools, in collaboration with their partners, are working to meet those needs and help students thrive.
The purpose and contribution of this document is to provide common language for communicating about how the high school experience can cultivate the conditions for more students to graduate and thrive during and after high school. Finding coherence in how we talk about the high school experience can help us more effectively advocate for necessary changes in systems and practices so that our national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate becomes a reality.
The 5 Promises
The 5 Promises represent conditions children need to achieve adult success. The collective work of the Alliance involves keeping these promises to America’s youth. This article relates to the promises highlighted below: