Civic Marshall Plan to Build a Grad Nation


Ending the dropout crisis requires an all-hands-on deck approach. To ensure the class of 2020 reaches our goal of a 90 percent graduation rate, the Civic Marshall Plan Leadership Council established a phased approach with clear goals and benchmarks for the years ahead. The Civic Marshall Plan (CMP) focuses on using evidenced-based strategies to address the dropout crisis. The CMP provides ten key planks to achieve progress, and many organizations across the country are aligning their work to this plan.

Elementary and Middle School Years:

  1. Grade-level reading Substantially increase the number of students reading with proficiency by fourth grade
  2. Chronic absenteeism Reduce chronic absenteeism (missing 20 days or being absent ten percent or more of school days), a key early warning indicator of a student being “off track” to graduate
  3. Early Warning Systems Establish early warning indicators and intervention systems that use the early predictors of dropping out (attendance, behavior, and course performance in reading and math)
  4. The Middle Grades Redesign the middle grades to foster high student engagement and preparation for rigorous high school courses
  5. Adult and Peer Supports Provide sustained and quality adult and peer support to all students who want and need it, continual supports from adults serving in schools as “success coaches” for all off-track students, and intensive wraparound supports for the highest-need students

High School Years

  1. Transition Supports Provide transition supports for struggling students in grades 8-10 in all schools with graduation rates below 75 percent, as well as their feeder middle and elementary schools
  2. Effective Schools Transform or replace the nation’s high school dropout factories with effective schools
  3. Compulsory  School Age Raise the compulsory school attendance age to graduation or 18 in all states, coupled with support for struggling students
  4. Pathways to  College/Career Provide all youth (including those who have dropped out) clear pathways from high school to college and career
  5. Dropout Recovery Support comprehensive dropout recovery programs for disconnected youth.

As organizations continue working to end the dropout crisis, we must steadily advance the leading principles outlined in the Civic Marshall Plan: strategic focus on communities with low graduation rates, high expectations for all students, accountability and support for what is working, and collaborations that are carefully planned, guided by shared metrics and thoughtfully integrated to maximize impact.