Minnesota Alliance with Youth


A mentor helps a student complete homework. GradMinnesota is an initiative of Minnesota Alliance With Youth, Minnesota Department of Education, and the Office of the Governor.  The collaborative is an outgrowth of the nonpartisan GradNation Campaign, led by America’s Promise Alliance. Our vision is that all young people in Minnesota will graduate from high school prepared for success in postsecondary opportunity, work, civic engagement, and life. The initiative also supports GradMinnesota Communities across the state that work to find creative and collaborative ways to help youth in their cities and towns reach their full potential.

Making a Difference

In 2015, Minnesota’s statewide four-year graduation rate was the highest it’s been in a decade at 81.9%, showing an improvement from 77.2% in 2011. While rates have improved significantly, the annual increases in graduation rates have lost momentum. In the years between 2012 and 2014, the statewide graduation rate increased by nearly 2% each year.  However, between 2014 and 2015, the rate increased by only 0.7%. What’s more, the achievement and opportunity gaps between white students and students of color in Minnesota are some of the largest in the nation. In 2015, white students graduated at a rate of 86.9%, while black students saw a 62% rate, Hispanic students graduated at a rate of 65.6%, and American Indian students experienced even lower graduation rates of 51.92%.  Graduating from high school opens the door of opportunity for young people, and research indicates that those who drop out are more likely to suffer negative consequences, including unemployment or living in poverty.


1. Increase the overall four-year graduation rate to 90% by 2020.

2. Decrease the number of high schools that have overall four-year graduation rates of less than 80% to ZERO by 2020.

3. To help achieve the 90% graduation goal, continue to close the gap for student groups with less than 70% graduation rates in 2012 by increasing graduation rates for these groups by at least 3% annually. This includes the following student groups: American Indian, Black,
Hispanic, Free and Reduced Price Lunch, Special Education, and Limited English Proficient.

Check out GradMinnesota’s 2015/16 accomplishments!


  1. Ensure Quality Data is Available and Used to Effectively Target Supports for Students
  2. Make Sure a Tiered Framework of Interventions and Supports is Effectively Implemented
  3. Increase Mentoring Throughout the State to Enhance Educational Success
  4. Design and Connect Services to Recover and Re-engage Youth
  5. Replace Exclusionary Discipline Policies and Practices with More Effective Alternatives
  6. Make Transportation Available to Ensure Access to Learning Opportunities Through Graduation
  7. Provide Effective Alternative Pathways and Additional Time to Earn a Diploma

Get Involved

GradMinnesota calls on schools, communities, and government to play a shared role in increasing high school graduation rates, along with readiness for postsecondary and career opportunities.  An Advisory Committee of community leaders provides oversight and vision for the initiative, and a Strategy Committee drives the work statewide.  GradMinnesota is fueled by four working subcommittees:

  • Legislative Advocacy: Co-Chairs Kori Redepenning, Minnesota Alliance With Youth and Ryan Mulso, Educators 4 Excellence
  • Resource Library: Co-Chairs Cammy Lehr, Minnesota Alliance With Youth and TBA
  • Collective Impact: Co-Chairs Sarah Dixon, Minnesota Alliance With Youth and Roberto Reyes, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Communications: Co-Chairs Kate Suchomel, Minnesota Alliance With Youth and TBA

GradMN Recommendations:

GradMinnesota: A Statewide Initiative

GradMinnesota!: Statistics, Dollars and Sense of a High School Diploma

GradMinnesota! Call To Action and 2015 Policy Recommendations

GradMinnesota! 2015 Expanded Policy Recommendations

GradMinnesota!: Structure, Contributors and Participants

A Summit Of Experts: Collective Message


For more information, contact Cammy Lehr, GradMinnesota Program Coordinator at clehr@mnyouth.net.



Thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, America’s Promise Alliance and State Farm for their support of this initiative!


GradMinnesota Communities

Activities & Events

Supporting Research


GradMinnesota Resource Library