Higher Expectations named third community partnership in national StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network to demonstrably improve outcomes and change systems
CINCINNATI, OHIO — StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to improve education for every child, today announced Racine County is the third community in the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network to earn the “proof point” designation.
Communities in the Cradle to Career Network commit to improving outcomes for major milestones in a child’s life. The work of each community partnership is coordinated by a local organization — in the case of Racine County, Higher Expectations for Racine County — with progress measured along a cradle-to-career continuum, from kindergarten readiness through postsecondary success and employment.
Proof point communities demonstrate that systems are changing and a majority of outcomes are improving or being maintained year after year. Racine is seeing improvements across five of the seven outcomes being tracked by Higher Expectations. High school graduation rates have risen to 77 percent in 2015-2016 from 70 percent in 2011-2012, with the gap between black students and all students closing by 4 percentage points since 2010.
“Since we launched publicly in April 2014, our county has aligned around the vision of a ‘fully capable and employed’ Racine County workforce,” said Jeff Neubauer, Higher Expectations executive director. “Earning proof point designation and recognition is due entirely to the work of our partners and the people of Racine County. Working together, we have achieved this rigorous designation faster than any other community in the nation. Now our great challenge and opportunity is to engage more people and find more resources to bring our work to scale and reach our collective goals from cradle to career!”
Activities and achievements by Higher Expectations and partners across the county include:
- Increasing the number of available full-day, 4-year-old kindergarten (4K) classes from 0 to 10 in three years. Racine Unified School District, with Higher Expectations, used national research and local data to make the case. The district is expanding 4K to Title 1 schools — a $1 million commitment to increasing access for low-income students.
- Decreasing unemployment rates between the city of Racine and Wisconsin, leading to the smallest gap in the last 25 years.
- Increasing tutoring minutes by 82 percent for students in the Schools of Hope program during the 2016-2017 school year. United Way of Racine County tracked data and made adjustments weekly with support from Higher Expectations. One school saw a significant relationship between tutoring minutes and reading growth for the first time.
- Improving completion rates at University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Gateway Technical College in each of the last two years.
- Engaging more than 110 employers and 270 volunteers for the Academies of Racine, which provides students with skills needed in a 21st century workforce.
“Getting better results for kids takes vision, dedication and hard work — which Higher Expectations and its partners have demonstrated,” StriveTogether Interim CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “We are well on our way to reach our goal of five proof point communities in 2018.”
StriveTogether leads a national movement of more than 70 communities to get better results in every child’s life. We coach and connect partners across the country to close gaps by using local data and expertise, especially for children of color and low-income children. Communities using our approach have seen measurable gains in kindergarten readiness, academic achievement and postsecondary success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 8.2 million students, involves 10,800 organizations and has partners in 32 states and Washington, D.C.