Educators and support providers rarely pause their practice long enough to reflect on their impact and successes. And if they do, chances are they are too unassuming to openly share what they discover.

The challenge

The University of South Carolina’s Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) is a consortium of ten education organizations that encourage, facilitate, and participate in partnerships that support and sustain quality K-12 education. CEP partners have done great work, but their individual and collective impact was a well-kept secret in the state.

What's your story?

Impact data guides our decisions.
Impact stories invite others to share our success.

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The strategy

CEP Director Cindy Van Buren wanted to spread the word about partners’ programs and their collaboration with the university. Rather than simply communicating on behalf of those making a difference, CEP wanted its partners to tell their own stories of their great work and lessons learned to influence others across the state.

Education is full of stories that show impact on students, teachers, schools, districts, and communities. And most of those stories go untold…. The storytelling retreat…gave educators across multiple partnerships an opportunity to share that impact.

Cindy Van Buren, Assistant Dean, College of Education, University of South Carolina

The process

CTQ facilitated a two-day virtual storytelling retreat for CEP partner staff and individuals involved in partner programs, including teachers, administrators, and parents. Participants learned the essentials of effective storytelling: targeting an audience, focusing on messaging, using data to inform a narrative, and crafting an ask to activate audiences. Virtual office hours and peer review processes supported additional coaching and feedback. A month later, a showcase offered an opportunity to celebrate and rehearse presentations prior to public dissemination.



As a result of this work:

  • 22 stories that bring programmatic impact data from CEP district partnerships are now published or in production
  • 100% of participants agree/strongly agree the process made them more effective in sharing impact stories
  • 100% would recommend the storytelling support process to colleagues


CTQ helps districts and other education organizations wrap effectiveness data in stories that help leaders to communicate ideas and inspire engagement in innovation and change. If you want to connect others with your vision, we can help.