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Fueling Change: GradMinnesota

GradMinnesota, the groundbreaking partnership between Minnesota Alliance With Youth, the Governor’s office, and the Minnesota Department of Education, continues to make great strides and has just received generous new support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance’s State Activation Grant Program.

Minnesota has been selected as one of three GradNation State Activation grant recipients by America’s Promise Alliance. 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. This three-year initiative will focus on increasing graduation rates by investing in three key areas:

• encouraging statewide innovation and collaboration
• sharing that knowledge and replicating what worksStudent kneeling and discussing with other students
• developing successful models all states can replicate

Several key strategies have been identified by GradMinnesota stakeholders to build momentum and move the needle toward 90% high school graduation by 2020. Collective impact, legislative advocacy, and a communication campaign will be major highlights in the upcoming years, with leaders and advocates from across the state joining together to support the work. Additionally, the initiative will be creating an online resource library that can be used to disseminate best practices and locate technical assistance focused on the GradMinnesota seven priority policy recommendations.

GradMinnesota is also focusing on supporting and expanding GradMinnesota communities – learning communities of collaborations and collective impact efforts aimed at helping young people succeed in school, work, and life, creating communities where all youth have access to the supports they need to lead stable and thriving lives. In Minnesota, three GradMinnesota communities have applied and currently exist: Duluth, St. Paul, and Minneapolis.

Throughout the initiative a strong emphasis will be placed on embe

dding the guiding principles of GradMinnesota, including championing family involvement in the success of young people, actively engaging youth to influence GradMinnesota’s activities and goals, incorporating a statewide reach, and utilizing both policymakers and practitioners to inform decision-making. Dr. Cammy Lehr, GradMinnesota Project Manager, will provide leadership and has expertise in dropout prevention and student engagement. With the participation and partnership of over 50 organizations, GradMinnesota is well-positioned to achieve the goal of high school graduation success for ALL Minnesota youth!

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