As the nation seeks to rise high school graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020, several themes have emerged:
- Students drop out of school , not districts, or states, but remain in their communities. School are ultimately the action for educational improvements.
- School and districts can’t do it alone. Great schools and schools that are on their way to becoming great schools are deeply intertwined with their communities.
- Community and business efforts to improve educational outcomes are most effective when they are developed with schools, not outside the schools.
- Federal, states, and local policies and resource allocations create the framework and climate for improvement.
- It takes focused and aligned strategies to raise graduation rates.
We are learning that success is best achieved through the thoughtful interweaving of multiple school improvement efforts, enhancements to student supports in and out of school, support from the community and business, and policy changes. All of these measures need to be fueled by the necessary resources, effectively target at the students in need, and guide by a comprehensive framework. These efforts must be coupled with a measurement system that lets stakeholders know what is working and what is not, and then refined with the integration of community support and resources.
These efforts will have greater impact if informed by Civic Marshall Plan and by state-driven efforts to improve curriculum and instruction, embodied in the Common Core States Standards in math and language arts, and similar initiative in science. Supporting all these efforts are America’s Promise Alliance Five Promise, a research-tested framework that provides young people with the resources they need to flourish.
The Five Promises are:
- Caring adults who are actively involved as parents, teacher, mentors, coaches and neighbors.
- Safe places that offer constructive uses of time.
- A healthy start, including health care, god nutrition and exercise.
- Effective education that equips children for successful work and lifelong learning.
- Opportunities to help others by making a difference through service.
In this chapter you’ll find four sections which help you show how to pull the levers of change.