Iowa Dropout Prevention Summit

Summit Location/Time: Polk County Convention Complex


  • Governor Chet Culver invited 17 communities to participate in the Dropout Prevention Leadership Summit  and more than 250 education and business leaders, policy makers, philanthropists, parents, including Senator Harris Wofford, gathered to build a sense of urgency around the dropout crisis of minority youth in Iowa.
  • Karen Pittman, Director of the Forum for Youth Investment, facilitated a panel of young people discussing the challenges they face and the supports they need to graduate high school.
  • The summit helped secure a commitment to action from leaders and develop follow-up action plans to strengthen current efforts and initiate new strategies to reduce the number of minority students who dropout in Iowa.
  • Each of the participating Iowa communities will implement plans for systemic change that will increase the graduation rate for minority students to be equal to the non-minority student graduation rate. The action plans will incorporate key principles of the Ready by 21 Challenge, a youth development initiative designed by the Forum for Youth Investment. These plans will link together efforts of multiple youth-serving agencies across systems, issues, age groups, and settings.

Summit Planning Team:

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Progress Since Summit:

The community teams who participated in the summit were provided tools and a planning process to return home and develop local plans by early November 2008.  High quality plans were eligible for up to $4,000 in follow-up funding, supported in part by the state summit grant from America's Promise Alliance and part by State Farm.

Eight districts completed plans which covered four broad topics, largely consistent with Grad Nation:

  • improving data collection
  • enhancing educational options
  • mobilizing partners
  • accessing policy and funding opportunities

The follow-up grants were presented to school leaders at the Iowa High School summit in December 2008, which included break-out discussions on parent/family engagement, educational options, and community involvement.

Iowa received a Gear Up grant to work with 31 school districts, including the 17 engaged in the Destination Graduation Summit. This will provide an opportunity fpr state leaders to re-connect with the summit’s community teams and build on the work and momentum from last year.  

Iowa is emphasizing the importance of youth, parent, and community engagement to increasing student achievement in the state's Core Curriculum.


Iowa's Dropout Prevention Action Plan