Alliance Awarded $200,000 GradNation State Activation Grant to Increase High School Graduation Rates
October 14, 2015
Minnesota Alliance With Youth has been selected as one of three GradNation State Activation grant recipients by America’s Promise Alliance and Pearson. The grant initiative is designed to bolster organizations with innovative approaches to increasing U.S. graduation rates and prepare more young people with the skills necessary to graduate from high school and succeed in college, work and life.
Minnesota Alliance With Youth (the Alliance) will receive $200,000 to fund a multi-year effort to raise statewide graduation rates through the organization’s GradMinnesota Initiative. A partnership between the Governor’s Office, the Minnesota Department of Education and the Alliance, GradMinnesota facilitates cross-sector collaboration, leverages state assets, communicates progress and lessons learned, and develops programs that can be replicated and scaled.
“The Alliance is thrilled to partner with America’s Promise on the State Activation initiative,” said Sarah Dixon, president & CEO of Minnesota Alliance With Youth. “This grant will really help us move forward as we continue to build momentum and reach our goal of a 90% graduation rate for all young people in Minnesota by 2020.”
“While progress is being made, Minnesota continues to have large differences in high school graduation rates based on race, special needs and socio-economic factors,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. “Clearly, there is more work to be done. With the support of America’s Promise and the Statewide Activation Grant, the work of GradMinnesota can move forward in replicating successful programs and strategies throughout the state that foster success for all children and young people.”
Minnesota has one of the largest academic achievement gaps in the nation. Data from the Minnesota Department of Education shows the overall state graduation rate in 2014 was 81.2%, and while white students graduated at a rate of 86.3%, the graduation rate was significantly lower for students of color and low-income students:
- American Indian Students: 50.6%
- Black/African American Students: 60.4%
- Hispanic/Latino Students: 63.2%
- Students who receive Free and Reduced Lunch: 65.9%
With the support of America’s Promise and the Statewide Activation Grant, Minnesota will continue moving forward and enhance this innovative work to replicate successful models throughout the state that foster success for all children and young people.
“Despite gains in the national graduation rate, nearly all states are graduating significantly lower percentages of students from low-income families, students of color and students with disabilities,” said John Gomperts, president & CEO of America’s Promise, leader of the GradNation campaign to raise graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020. “We see an opportunity – through these grants – to support collaborative models at the state level that can unify communities and produce real results.”
“Pearson is proud to invest in states to identify and replicate the most innovative programs to help students graduate high school and prepare for real-world challenges,” said Shilpi Niyogi, Pearson’s senior vice president of North America corporate affairs and global government relations. “This initiative allows grantees to showcase their local successes and provides a platform for all states to learn from each other.”
Minnesota Alliance With Youth was selected from a diverse pool of 41 applicants in 26 states. Applicants included state education agencies, nonprofit organizations, statewide coalitions and collaborative groups. Additional grantees include the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
All applicants – along with other organizations and communities working to increase statewide graduation rates – have been invited to join a new GradNation online community network, a hub for sharing strategies and successful practices, and participating in virtual learning opportunities.
To learn more about the GradMinnesota Initiative visit mnyouth.net/work/gradminnesota/.
To learn more about the GradNation State Activation Initiative visit: http://www.americaspromise.org/gradnation-state-activation-initiative.