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Creating Partnerships to Re-Engage Massachusetts’ Youth and Prepare Them for College, Careers, and Civic Responsibility.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating Partnerships to Re-Engage Massachusetts’ Youth and Prepare Them for College, Careers, and Civic Responsibility."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating Partnerships to Re-Engage Massachusetts’ Youth and Prepare Them for College, Careers, and Civic Responsibility

2 Panelists: Talitha Abramsen, Senior Program Manager @ Commonwealth Corporation/Project Lead for CS² Network Thomas Hughes, Director of Student Support Services @ Fitchburg High School/CS² Entrepreneur Shailah Stewart, Partnership Coordinator @ Brockton Public Schools/CS² Entrepreneur

3 Overview of CS 2 Communities and Schools for Success (CS 2 ) was established in 1993 to connect schools with community partners so they could develop innovative and dynamic strategies, programs, and resources that engage students with their schools and community, so they are better prepared for college, careers, and civic responsibility. CS 2 is designed, managed, and supported by the Commonwealth Corporation (CommCorp), a Massachusetts quasi-public organization.

4 Roots and History of CS 2 A statewide educational network CS 2 has its roots in the national School-to-Work movement, and over time has evolved into a strategy to foster large-scale reform efforts and system-wide changes, including: The Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Project, (federal) Smaller Learning Communities, and 21 st Century After-School Programs. With the advent of the federal government’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative, CS² has aligned its vision to focus on the needs and assets of disengaged and underserved students.

5 Roots and History of CS 2 (continued) A Hybrid Status 2 top priorities under the current administration are: Jobs and Education CS 2 has a history of bridging both the education and workforce worlds to effectively create multiple pathways for young people’s success in academics and the workplace. In 2006 – CS 2 organized its existing work under a Drop Out Prevention and Retention umbrella – which at its core includes many school-to-career principles, strategies & programs

6 Drop Out Prevention: 15 Effective Strategies School and Community Perspective Systemic Renewal School-Community Collaboration Safe Learning Environments Early Interventions Family Engagement Early Childhood Education Early Literacy Development Basic Core Strategies Mentoring/Tutoring Service Learning Alternative Schooling After-School Opportunities Making the Most of Instruction Professional Development Active learning Educational Technology Individualized Instruction Career and Technical Education School and Community Perspective Systemic Renewal School-Community Collaboration Safe Learning Environments Early Interventions Family Engagement Early Childhood Education Early Literacy Development Basic Core Strategies Mentoring/Tutoring Service Learning Alternative Schooling After-School Opportunities Making the Most of Instruction Professional Development Active learning Educational Technology Individualized Instruction Career and Technical Education The CS 2 model consistently engages 13 out of the 15 effective strategies National Dropout Prevention Center/Network http://www.dropoutprevention.org/effstrat/default.htm

7 CS 2 Model Role of the CS 2 Entrepreneur Each CS 2 community (with the exception of pilot sites) has a small team (2-3 staff), of educational innovators known as “CS² Entrepreneurs” who act as bridge builders between school districts and communities, creating partnerships, designing programs, raising funds, and pioneering systemic initiatives that increase graduation rates & address workforce development.

8 CS 2 Communities (2007-2008) CS 2 (in 2007-2008) is located within eight communities across the Commonwealth: Amherst Barnstable Blackstone Valley (pilot) Brockton Fitchburg New Bedford Northampton Springfield

9 CS² ’s Impact 2006-07 During School Year 2006-07, 19 CS² Entrepreneurs Working in 9 CS² Communities Engaged Over: 47 Schools 1,700 Teachers 40,000 students 1,000 businesses 600 community organizations CS² Teams Raised Over: $2.7 million in public and private grants and cash contributions – a more than 3:1 ratio of funds raised for each dollar invested by the state

10 CS 2 ’s Core Principles: As a network, CS 2 is increasingly defining its work with its by 3 R’s: RESEARCH RESILIENCY PARADIGM CULTURAL RESPONSIVENESS

11 Resilience: (noun): 2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

12 Paradigm Shift Our Systems are Broken, Our Youth Need to be Resilient as a Result CS 2 believes that young people are not “at-risk”, but rather, are “placed at-risk” by multiple factors, including (but not limited to): societal values, institutions and systemic and cultural barriers We are in the midst of a paradigm shift within the network, moving our programs and initiatives so they are grounded in a belief that the young people are not a problem to be fixed, but rather a resource to be cultivated. The systems surrounding and responsible for young people and their healthy development, are most in need of repair.

13 Students Placed At-Risk: “Students are not ‘at risk.’ … Students are placed ‘at risk’ when they experience a significant mismatch between their circumstances and needs, and the capacity or willingness of the school to accept, accommodate, and respond to them in a manner that supports and enables their maximum social, emotional, and intellectual growth and development.” - Hixson, J. (1993), Redefining the Issues: Who’s at Risk and Why.

14 CS² initiatives create change at several levels: Individual Student/Service Delivery Programmatic Building District Regional/Community-Wide

15 As a statewide educational network representing eight different communities across the state, CS² also leverages its collective resources and knowledge and is beginning to take its place as an emerging think tank and incubator for the Commonwealth on issues of drop- out prevention and career development. For instance, recently CS² (as a network) reviewed and offered recommendations for: The DOE’s Work-Based Learning Plan template recent Drop Out Prevention Legislation * see handout CS² Network: Emerging Incubator for Promising Practices

16 Two Examples of System-Building in the CS² Network

17 Fitchburg Public Schools & CS² Role of CS 2 in Fitchburg Creating a Community-Wide Culture of Shared Responsibility to Better Address the Needs of All Students

18 Community Change Agents In Fitchburg Two CS 2 Entrepreneurs make up the Fitchburg team: Director of Student Support Services at Fitchburg Public High School Student Support and School Culture Advisor at Academy Middle School

19 Director of Student Support Services @ Fitchburg High School DIRECTOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES: Develop and sustain relationships with local Workforce Investment Boards and community based groups in the Fitchburg area to assist students with employment and career opportunities. Identify all programs currently serving youth who are placed at risk at the high school level and develop systemic initiatives through community-wide participation, to ensure services are effectively delivered to those students with most need. These programs include academic support, career development, etc. Connect disengaged and underserved youth to existing supplemental support programs Design innovative solutions and services to fill any gaps identified within existing supports.

20 System-Building: @ the Regional Level Two Priorities 1.Develop a comprehensive system of support and services for young people, within and outside of school 2. Develop a culture of shared responsibility for outreach and support that goes beyond the school buildings.

21 Priority #1: Comprehensive System of Supports Fitchburg’s Supplemental Services Community Coalition Comprised of the Following Partners: Workforce Development & Employers North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board North Central Chamber of Commerce State and Local Government/Agencies Fitchburg Police Department The Mayor’s Office Higher Education Fitchburg State College Mount Wachusett Community College Community Based Organizations Shriver Job Corp’s MyTurn Inc.

22 Using Data to Enhance Systemic Supports At Fitchburg’s Supplemental Services Community Coalition’s monthly meetings the CS 2 Entrepreneur: translates the school’s attendance and dropout data (for community based organizations that provide supplemental services to young people), so that the CBO’s can tailor their programs to better engage and support those youth who are not currently connected to traditional academic or career pathways.

23 Connecting to College & Careers Develop and coordinate work-study programs Develop individualized work-study assignments to meet the specific needs of each student (time, skills, interest). Utilize the Work-Based Learning Plan to help them develop the necessary skill sets to be successful in future careers. Coordinate Senior Internship Placement Program Program provides a direct link between college and career aspirations In order to be eligible for the internship the student needs to: Fill out an application Write a proposal that links their college aspirations with the internship Participate in an interview process with the Principal and the Director of Student Support Services.

24 Priority #2: A Culture of Shared Responsibility Develop a culture of shared responsibility that goes beyond the school buildings. A culture that better informs families and students, so that they can become more engaged. Once engaged, the school can better prepare them for college and careers.

25 Partnership Example: Shared Responsibility, New Relationships Director of Student Support Services makes home visits with local Fitchburg Police Department Officers on a regular basis as part of FHS’s outreach strategy in order to: 1 st -- establish a positive rapport with families. 2 nd -- follow up on students who are absent and re-engage them with the school community. Result: positive impact on attendance rates

26 Fitchburg Public Schools Outreach is Everyone's Responsibility Student Support Services will: Outreach to all students enrolled in Fitchburg High School. Work with the editorial staff of the FHS newsletter to ensure students and parents receive up to date quarterly information regarding Student Support Services Notify all media outlets (FATV, local newspapers) concerning Supplemental Services at FHS. Provide documentation of newsletters, newspaper articles, and notifications issued to FATV and other outreach opportunities concerning Student Provide adult/student mentor support for all students of FHS.

27 Untapped Resources: Using Youth Leaders to Support System-Building In times when schools and CBO’s are both under- funded and under-staffed, innovative ideas are needed to sustain these systemic initiatives. FHS has engaged young people to encourage accountability and recruit their peers: Youth Presentations regarding Internships lead to increased interest following year. Youth/Peer Mentors holding other youth accountable for attendance by calling them at home when they are absent from school.

28 Brockton Public Schools & CS 2 Role of CS 2 in Brockton Mobilizing the Community to Address the Needs of All Students

29 Brockton CS 2 Entrepreneurs: Roles and Responsibilities Two CS 2 Entrepreneurs make up the Brockton team: Partnership CoordinatorPartnership Coordinator Community/Business Partnership DevelopmentCommunity/Business Partnership Development Dropout Prevention and Alternative EducationDropout Prevention and Alternative Education School to Career LiaisonSchool to Career Liaison Resource development, program design andResource development, program design and program implementation for students placed at- program implementation for students placed at- risk risk 21 st Century Grant Coordinator21 st Century Grant Coordinator Middle and High School out of school timeMiddle and High School out of school time Brockton’s Promise Team, HostBrockton’s Promise Team, Host Project-based Learning CurriculumProject-based Learning Curriculum development development

30 Current Leading Partnerships Facilitated by CS 2 in Brockton Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board: Active partner, working with CS 2 on P-21, YouthWorks, Summer employment, WIA, One Stop Career Center, School-to-Career Partnership initiatives (Career Day, Job Shadowing, etc.) “Blueprints Coalition”: P ublic agencies, including DSS, DYS, DMH, DPH, and Mass Rehab, along with the Brockton Police, the Plymouth County DA, City Hall, and Massasoit Community College Higher Education: Three main institutions - 1. Massasoit Community College – Active partnerships for targeted students needing academic support, and for Gateways to College 2. Stonehill College – Upward Bound, Brockton’s Promise 3. Bridgewater State College: Numerous initiatives, major new one this year is Mentoring initiative for 8 th graders

31 CS 2 as Entrepreneurs - Start Ups History of starting community/school collaborations in Brockton that help students focus on successful futures, by planning for careers, post-secondary education, and civic engagement: Summer Transitions for 8 th graders Brockton’s Promise Certificate of Employability Summer of Work and Learning Project Diploma -- on the web Brockton Youth Summit Community Service Learning - LINCS

32 Major Emphasis This Year: Dropout Prevention Massachusetts DOE reported an 80% on time graduation rate across the state for Class of ’06, and a 12% dropout rate statewide Found that 70.3% of Brockton Public School’s Class of ‘06 graduated in 4 years, and 17.4% dropped out of school, about 200 young people. For the class of ’06 at Brockton High School alone, 74.7% graduated in 4 years, 7% enrolled for a fifth year, 2% enrolled in a GED program, 1% aged out of the program, and 15% dropped out. Current population of dropouts from the last few years now residing in Brockton is unknown. The order of magnitude may be anywhere from 1000 young adults (ranging in age from 18 to 25 years) to many more. That number is the subject of a new project described below.

33 “Brockton Working for All Youth” or “Brockton’s WAY” Brockton is one of 8 cities nationwide to receive a major award from US Department of Labor from its Multiple Education Pathways Blueprint grant Brockton’s CS 2 team led the grant-writing effort, & utilized information and resources from the CS 2 network to write the successful grant proposal The US DOL grant is based upon the realization that dropouts are a challenge for the whole community, not just the schools 2 year program – significant funds for planning and development of new pathways Partnership effort under the auspices of a local coalition called the Blueprint Coalition, led by CS 2

34 Mission of Brockton’s WAY To determine the characteristics and needs of youth in Brockton who have either already dropped out of school or who are currently at risk of doing so, including youth who are in school, but off track for graduation: To study all available services for these youth in the region and review existing successful models of alternative education programs elsewhere for guidance; and then To chart a path for the creation of a comprehensive system of multiple education pathways and additional supports for these youth, for whom the traditional educational models have been unsuccessful.

35 Components of the B’WAY Plan Data gathering re: dropouts here and existing education pathways available to them Early identification and intervention for potential dropouts still in school, emphasis on thoughtful use & equitable distribution of all community resources Support for existing alternative education models here, & development of new ones to fill gaps, including plans for sustainability Creation of new options that will focus on development of skills needed for successful careers in the regional economy Partnership Building to support this work

36 Role of Partners in Brockton’s WAY The Blueprints Coalition Brockton’s WAY was designed as a coalition effort, based on the recognition that the dropout challenge must be understood as a community issue, not a school system issue. Brockton’s Blueprint Coalition already existed, and has worked on other youth development initiatives, including Brockton’s Promise The coalition serves as the advisory board for Brockton’s WAY, and its members have designated staff members to work on the Brockton’s WAY Task force.

37 Shared Responsibility for a Complex Challenge Active partners in Brockton’s WAY: Workforce Development: Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board State and Local Government/Agencies: City Hall Brockton Police Department Plymouth County District Attorney’s office Brockton Juvenile Court – Probation Office DSS, DYS, DMH, DMR, Mass Rehab Comm. Higher Education: Massasoit Community College Bridgewater State College Community Based Organizations: MY TURN YouthBuild More on the way...

38 For more information: please visit http://www.commcorp.org/cs2 http://www.commcorp.org/cs2 or email: Tabramsen@commcorp.org


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