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America’s Promise Alliance launches GradNation Communities initiative


America’s Promise Alliance is excited to announce the launch of GradNation Communities, part of the GradNation Campaign, which is a 10-year initiative to mobilize all Americans to take action to end the high school dropout crisis and better prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. 

The Alliance is inviting communities to become GradNation Communities to be part of a national network of cities and towns that have agreed to work on improving high school graduation rates by focusing on the local schools that are most in need of improvement. GradNation Communities also adopt and work toward achieving the Alliance’s GradNation Campaign goal of increasing the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent with no school graduating less than 80 percent and helping the United States regain its standing as first in the world in college completion.

The Alliance is pleased to name the first 13 GradNation Communities:

  • Charleston, SC
  • Detroit, MI
  • Durham, NC
  • Jackson, MS
  • Long Island City/Astoria, NY
  • Louisville, KY
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Tampa, FL
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Washington, DC

In all of these communities there are numerous local partners working side-by-side to ensure young people succeed in school, work and life. Some of these partners include: school districts, government agencies, mayor’s offices, businesses, libraries, universities, health care centers and hospitals, community foundations, faith-based organizations, United Ways, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Goodwills, YMCAs, and other community-based organizations.

Please share information about GradNation Communities with any of your networks that would be interested in learning more. Additional details about GradNation Communities and the online commitment form can be found on the Alliance’s website.

GradNation Communities commit to becoming part of this national campaign by:

  • Adopting a goal of increasing the high school graduation rate in identified local schools to 90 percent by 2020 with no school having a graduation rate lower than 80 percent
  • Engaging cross-sector stakeholders to  collaborate in increasing local graduation rates
  • Identifying shared priorities and focus areas for areas (early childhood education, afterschool programming, youth engagement etc.) for collaboration
  • Sharing of best practices and strategies regarding school and community transformation
  • Providing an annual update on progress and challenges to America’s Promise Alliance

The communities will receive support and a choice of services to help end the dropout crisis, including recognition, access to knowledge and communications tools, professional development, and opportunities for networking with other communities and America’s Promise Alliance Partners. In addition, GradNation Communities that are home to two or more of the nation’s lowest-performing schools can be eligible for direct technical assistance and funding. More details on the support and services provided to GradNation Communities are available on the Alliance’s website.

Here are details about local efforts from some of the first GradNation Communities:

East Durham Children’s Initiative is working collaboratively with residents of the community and other key stakeholders and partners to focus on a 120 block area (893 acres/1.2 square miles) east of downtown Durham, NC. Their vision is to develop the support and resources for children and families to provide a pathway or pipeline from birth through high school graduation ready for college or career.

Jackson’s Promise Coalition, located in Jackson, MS, envisions a community where all families are valued, supported and given the resources they need to help their students succeed in school, work and life. As part of GradNation Communities, Jackson’s Promise Coalition is focusing their collaborative efforts to raise high school graduation rates for three lower performing high schools and their feeder patterns.

The collaborative efforts in Tampa/Hillsborough County, FL are focusing on four lower performing high schools within their school district with the goal to increase Hillsborough County's high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2019.

If you would like more information about GradNation Communities, visit www.americaspromise.org or email, [email protected].