Aim Featured in Building a Grad Nation – An Annual Report from Johns Hopkins University and America’s Promise Alliance

GradNation has an ambitious goal: to increase the graduation rate to 90% by 2020 through research and data-informed strategies. In their annual report released in April 2014, the organization highlighted Aim as a service provider working at the state and local level to increase attendance rates and reduce chronic absenteeism.

The Civic Marshall Plan is part of the report and is described as, “an evolving framework that seeks to share research-based solutions, highlight concrete progress in schools and communities, spark innovation, and build more momentum across the nation to end the dropout crisis. It is not a prescription – every school and community has its own unique set of challenges. Rather, it offers stakeholders a set of 10 evidence-based planks that can be implemented in a variety of innovative ways to improve high school graduation rates and prepare students for college and the workforce.”

Two of the 10 recommendations relate specifically to Aim’s initiatives: Reducing Chronic Absenteeism and Providing Mentoring.

“Before a student can thrive in school, he or she must regularly attend school. As we continue our work toward achieving a national 90 percent high school graduation rate, a focus on reducing chronic absenteeism must be a priority,” says the report.

Aim’s initiative with Austin ISD is highlighted where we worked with over 1,000 students and families and increased attendance rates of participants an average of 15%.

“The AimTruancy model targets numerous factors that contribute to chronic absenteeism. But even when those factors are identified, addressing them solely through school resources can be an overwhelming proposition. Fortunately, there are many promising examples of schools and districts collaborating with community partners, sharing data about the students who consistently miss school, and working jointly to tackle multiple barriers to attendance. This approach alleviates the burden on schools and provides students with the right supports at the right time to keep them in the classroom.”

Since Aim’s intervention strategies are rooted in mentoring and building trusting relationships the recommendation of having adult and peer supports also supports Aim’s strategies.

“Positive role models can help young people develop skills often not systematically taught in the classroom, such as self-awareness, self-control, persistence, collaboration, and conflict resolution. Beyond the classroom, young people benefit greatly from the support of an adult or peer to can help guide healthy decision-making during challenging circumstances.”

“Research affirms that having these non-academic components in place results in increased academic achievement, social competence, and civic engagement, regardless of race or family income (Balfanz et al., 2007). These supports are therefore a key component to move the nation closer to our 2020 goal.”

We encourage you to read the full report that is full of useful resources and information:
Building a Grad Nation – Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic
A Report By:
Civic Enterprises
Everyone Graduates Center
at the School of Education
at Johns Hopkins University
America’s Promise Alliance
Alliance for Excellent Education
Lead Sponsor
Supporting Sponsor
Written by
Robert Balfanz
John M. Bridgeland
Joanna Hornig Fox
Jennifer L. DePaoli
Erin S. Ingram
Mary Maushard
Data analysis by
Mark Pierson
Vaughan Byrnes

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