Minnesota Alliance with Youth

Supporting Research

The following resources are key to work of GradMinnesota.


Relationships Matter and Turning Points: two different studies, with one major takeaway: It is not just a single relationship, but rather a dynamic web of support, that stands the best shot of preparing young people for work and for life. The research studies from the Center for Promise at America’s Promise Alliance focus on the role of relationships in the lives of risk-immersed young people enrolled in four career pathways programs.  Programs that provide pathways to work and career development can be an important bridge between young people who are not prepared for work and the jobs that are available in their communities.


America’s Promise Alliance recently released “Barriers to Wellness: Voices and Views from Young People in Five Cities,” a study designed to tap into young people’s perspectives by engaging them not only as partners, but as leaders in community health research.

As the study notes, “When we listen to what young people say about striving for wellness against the odds that adversity creates, we hear that feeling safe and welcome in their own communities is an essential precursor to improving health.”

High School Graduation Rates through Two Decades of District Change

The Influence of Policies, Data Records, and Demographic ShiftsUntitled

Sixteen years ago, high school students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) were almost as likely to drop out as they were to graduate; today they are three times as likely to graduate as drop out. What is driving this remarkable increase? A new report from the UChicago Consortium on School Research addresses the extent to which various factors could account for the changes in graduation rates, including changes in student performance and student demographics, increasing numbers of charter and selective enrollment high schools that serve Chicago students, and changes in school practices around improving attendance and course performance.



Black Brilliance” tells the story of six black high school seniors fromBlack Brilliance Documentary Screen Shot Minnesota. In this 30-minute documentary, these young people share their journey to graduation: what it takes, what it means, and how to define success on one’s own terms. This film is a collaboration between Twin Cities Public Television and American Graduate Initiative. The goal is to build a positive narrative around African American youth by sharing their stories and voices. Download the Black Brilliance Discussion Guide HERE to guide small group conversations with youth or adults

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHTHidden In Plain Sight Report Cover

In working to increase the number of students who graduate high school prepared for college and employment, another hidden epidemic has come to light – the children and youth in pre-K through high school who are homeless. Their numbers are more than one million every year and their homelessness is a threat to everything they might want to achieve in life. Hidden in Plain Sight, Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools exposes the reality of homeless students.


progress is no accidentProgress is No Accident Report Cover

The Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University released Progress is No Accident: Why ESEA Can’t Backtrack on High School Graduation Rates, which documents the rise of graduation rates in recent years and explains the policies and interventions behind the progress.



DON’T QUIT ON MEDon't Quit on Me Report

This report examines, from the perspective of young people themselves, the roles that relationships with adults and peers play in decisions about staying in, leaving and returning to high school. Building on previous studies, including last year’s Don’t Call Them Dropouts, this report offers new insights about how support from adults and peers can help to close the remaining gaps between those who graduate from high school on time and those who don’t.



Building a GradNation ReportGrad Nation

With one in four U.S. public school students dropping out of high school before graduation, America continues to face a dropout epidemic. Dropping out makes it harder for these young people to succeed in life, our economy loses hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity and our communities suffer enormous social costs. The 2012 report update of Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, shows that the nation continues to make progress, with more than half of states increasing graduation rates.


Johns Hopkins Study

We know that half of the 500,000 kids who drop out of school every year come from just 12 percent of the nation’s high schools or 1,700 “dropout factories.” A comprehensive study from Johns Hopkins University found that students who are most at risk of dropping out of school can be identified as early as middle school through key indicators – poor attendance, unsatisfactory behavior and course failure in math and English. When one of these off-track indicators is exhibited by a child as early as the 6th grade, students have a 10%-20% likelihood of graduating from high school.

Minnesota Graduation Rates on the Rise (State Farm)Minnesota on the Rise infographic by State Farm


This infographic by GradMinnesota partner State Farm highlights the recent increases made in graduation rates in Minnesota since 2011. As reported by the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota’s current overall graduation rate is 79.48%.


Minnesota Report card: Graduation Rates

Information about graduation rates in Minnesota is available on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Minnesota Report Card site.  Data can be searched by state, district and school, and filtered by cohort group.

Don't Call them Dropouts imageDon’t call them dropouts


Don’t Call Them Dropouts is a report from America’s Promise Alliance that looks to raise up the voices of young people who have not graduated from high school so that we all gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and choices they face.

Minnesota early indicator and response system

The Minnesota Early Indicator and Response System (MEIRS) is a tool that provides a snapshot of students in grade 6 and grade 9 who are at increased risk of not completing high school in 4 years. Using validated research-based variables associated with dropping out of school, supports can targeted to students who may need assistance to stay on track for graduation.

Ready, Set, Go

Ready Set Go ImageThe Minnesota Department of Education’s Ready, Set, Go website aims to increase awareness, participation and success in college level courses currently offered in high school through timely and engaging information and support for students, parents and teachers. Students will find resources in academic planning and college preparation while parents will have access to up-to-date information regarding Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and other dual credit programs for their children.

Shaping Your FutureShaping Your Future screenshot

The Minnesota Department of Education’s video series “Shaping Your Future: Why Minnesota Families Choose College” aims to inspire high school students to consider pursuing higher education, while providing them with important tips and lessons learned about how to prepare for and afford college.

Attendance WorksAttendance Work logo

Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance.  They promote tracking chronic absence data for each student, beginning in kindergarten, and partnering with families and community agencies to intervene when poor attendance is a problem for students or schools.




The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office manages the be@school Program an important initiative to support our children’s education and their future. School absence is a risk factor for substance abuse, teen pregnancy, criminal behavior, and chronic unemployment later in life. Concern for the devastating effects of truancy led to the development of the be@school program.

World Best Workforce

The World’s Best Workforce bill was passed in 2013 to ensure every school district in the state is making strides to increase student performance. Each district must develop a plan that addresses the following five goals:1) All children are ready for school, 2) All third-graders can read at grade level, 3) All racial and economic achievement gaps between students are closed, 4) All students are ready for career and college, and 5) All students graduate from high school.