Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Opportunity to Shape Federal Policy: Comment on Education's Innovation Fund Before November 9th, 2009

Hi all -- There is a great opportunity to shape federal policy and the types of innovations that are selected through the US Department of Education's Innovation Fund (often referred to as I3). The Notice of Policy Priorities (NPP) is now out and we can influence it by coordinating our responses and organizing a heavy influx of comments. Whenever possible, ask people to co-sign a comment submission so that we do not make the administration's job more difficult. In addition, it will demonstrate that we are coordinate.

I have prepared some background information for you to make it easier for you and your networks to respond. See below.

You will see when you read the NPP that advocates for vulnerable youth have already had substantial influence. In your comments, please include a recognition of the Department's leadership by including the following policies in the Innovation Fund:

Page 52221: The definition of high needs students includes " students who are far below grade level, who are over-aged and under credited, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time, who are homelessness, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are limited English proficient."

Page 52218: Under Absolute Priority 4- Innovations that Turn Around Persistently Low-Performing Schools: " Creating multiple pathways for students to earn regular high school diplomas (eg. transfer schools, awarding credit-based on demonstrated evidence of student competency, offering dual enrollment options." Multiple pathways are critical to support youth in child welfare and juvenile justice as they are likely to have been held back in previous years, entering high school "over-aged". In addition, multiple pathways should offer high quality, student-centered schools that provide adequate enrichment, counseling and support services to help young people overcome other barriers that are making it difficult to stay engaged in school.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you want to talk about any of these comments. Or if you have other ideas that you would like circulated, I will add them to my blog http://metisnet.blogspot.com/

Chris Sturgis

Directions for Submitting Comments:

1) Click here to get to the website for comments on government regulations. Or cut and paste the following url into your web browser:

2) You can download a copy of the Notice of Policy Priorities on the US Department of Education Innovation Fund. I am sure as you read it you will see other ways to strengthen it in addition to the items I have listed below.

3) Towards upper right you will see "Submit a Comment". Click on that and then fill out the information requested

4) On the right you may type your comments or upload a file (or both).

The Most Important Comment That We All Should Make (you can cut and paste...but I encourage you to add your own two cents so that they aren't all exactly alike)

1) Add a competitive priority for youth who are over-aged and under credited, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time, who are homelessness, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated.

First let me commend the Department of Education for including youth who are over-aged and under credited, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time, who are homelessness, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated as part of the definition of high needs students. Yet, I (we) believe that we need to do more than include them in the high needs group, we need to make them a priority for our nation, our states, our districts and our schools.

There are many reasons to include this group as a priority in the Innovation Fund. The most important reason is that in developing and expanding our capacity to serve this group of students we will also open the door to the greatest innovations. As Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has pointed out, disruptive innovation theory suggests that it is within under-served markets that we have the most room for innovation. Rarely do LEA's make this group of students a priority -- thus there is more room for innovation. As the administration knows well, the needs of the off-track students, whether they are still in school or have disengaged, is also the segments of students that will directly benefit from the innovations of customized learning, competency-based instruction, assessments and credits as well as more modularized ways of structuring learning. Second, the needs of this group must be addressed in order to increase our graduation rates. By developing and expanding high quality opportunities for this group of students, the knowledge will be acquired to finally bring our high schools into the 21st century.

It is also important to include this group as a priority because it will shape the thinking of the innovations with the four absolute priorities. Each of the four absolute priorities are based upon assumptions of the current system of delivery of teaching and learning. By identifying this group of students as a priority, we can begin to see the type of intra-agency and inter-agency partnerships that lead to systemic reforms across our public sector. Finally, by identifying this group as a priority, it is more likely that you will see competency-based innovations that are crucial for moving our system beyond the constraint of the Carnegie unit.

This new priority should include innovations in delivering literacy for high school age students performing at elementary school level regardless if they should be served by the LEA, through adult education, or developmental education at the community college. The growing pool of youth that cannot take advantage of GED, youth employment or community college are often ignored in conversations about college-readiness as they are so far from even high school readiness. This new priority can give room to educational challenges that face our cities and rural areas alike.

Suggestions for Points You May Want to Include

1) Add a definition of transfer schools. (p. 52218, Absolute Priority 4)

The term transfer school is unique to New York City. It is important that you add a definition of transfer school so that others not familiar with there model or that term understand the priority. The priority should not be limited only to the transfer school model of partnerships between community-based youth organizations and the district as many communities do not have the richness of the cbo community, especially in rural communities. The definition of transfer school might include: small, student-centered, designed for students to get a diploma but may include GED options as well, offers a range of services including counseling, work experience, service learning, tutoring, and includes a future focus that broadens students' horizons for career and college awareness and transition.

2) Explicitly expand partnerships beyond LEA to include other institutions of education.

The expectation that applicants must be working in partnership with LEA is restrictive when it comes to innovation related to off-track, out of school, and students that have been under the child welfare and juvenile justice systems as well as other students with high mobility. First, LEA's by nature often fail to educate off-track youth, in or out of school. To require the LEA without alternatives for partners immediately reduces the likelihood that off-track youth will benefit from innovations or innovations that address the needs of this group of young people will be able to meet the requirements. Second, in the cases of students with high mobility, there is often a different type of partner that is not as limited by geography needed as students move between facilities, placements, and schools. Community colleges or county education institutions can be valuable partners in innovations that serve these populations.

3) Explicitly state that innovations include developing and expanding college-ready GED programs .

Given that high needs students include those who are over-aged and under credited, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma on time, who are homelessness, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated that the issue of the GED will arise. At a minimum, innovations serving this group of students should acknowledge that some portion of the students will choose to complete a GED rather than a diploma.

Although we all would like to see our high schools perform such that young people would not need to look towards a GED as an option, the fact of the matter that the GED is currently recognized as equivalent to a diploma. Certainly we can agree that the GED is not preparing our students for college, but neither is a diploma. It is important that the innovations shaped to serve the students that are falling off-track to graduation be fully grounded in the dynamics of what is meaningful to students. For some students, a GED is the more meaningful pathway and that choice needs to be available. In addition, in order to meet the President's goals, we are going to need to develop GED to college pathways.

Again, it is important that the innovations add to our knowledge of how to improve the K-12 system and increase our high school graduation rates. Yet, it is equally important, that we ensure that students have choices and that multiple pathways are designed to meet a full spectrum of needs.

4) Absolute Priority 1 Should Encourage Broader Methods to Deliver High Quality Content

Although it is critically important to improve the effectiveness our teaching force, for high school students in rural communities, in small schools, in transfer (alternative) schools, and in detention, it is unlikely that they will have teachers prepared to offer high level college-ready curriculum across all the disciplines. Simply, there are structural constraints that are beyond how we prepare, support, and evaluate teacher performance. Thus, it is important that this priority give some recognition that we need alternative approaches, especially as they relate to STEM disciplines.

5) Absolute Priority 2 Should Include District-Level Data Analysis including Segmentation of Entire Cohort and Planning for Portfolio of Options

The district is the primary unit of change for increasing graduation rates. Thus, the role of the district in addressing the dropout crisis must be encouraged. As the cities that are working to increase their graduation rates through multiple pathways (NYC, Chicago, Mobile, Philadelphia, Portland, Boston, Brockton) have learned, the data analysis of segmentation to understand the dynamics underlying their dropout crisis and the planning for providing adequate educational programming to meet the needs of students that have fallen off-track is a critical step.

6) Proposed Competitive Priority 6 College Access and Support Should Include GED to College

The focus on students in K-12 system means that those program providers that offer educational pathways to off-track students through adult education and GED may not apply for innovations. Given the scope of the dropout crisis in our largest cities and the disproportionate degree that our young men of color bear the burden of our failed systems, it is critical that we allow innovations to develop in the pathways funded through adult education managed by the Department of Education and youth programming managed by the Department of Labor.

7) Add "flexibility" under Absolute Priority 4 (b) (1)

We agree that it is important to add more learning opportunities. But it is equally important to have greater flexibility in how students take advantage of core academics, enrichment, and support services. For some older students, less may be more, in that they can blend work and learning.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Outstanding Resources to Expand Quality Educational Options

I just wanted to make sure you knew about the outstanding materials developed by NYC's Office of Multiple Pathways on how to replicate their GED Access Program, the Young Adult Borough Centers, and how to implement the professional development model that integrates higher order thinking skills with an approach to build language and literacy for students who are struggling. I think they did an extraordinary job at describing their approaches, providing enough tools to start the replication process, and clarifying the high expectations and competencies built into their design.

Please pass on to your networks that this information is available as appropriate....

See http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/OMPG/Resources/default.htm

Supporting Youth In Transition: Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

As much as I love the topic, rarely do I find that a paper on youth transitions to adulthood is a page turner. Yet the new paper from Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and Casey Youth Opportunities,
Supporting Youth in Transition to Adulthood: Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice is exactly that.

The authors do a marvelous job as juxtapositioning the two systems while also highlighting how each of the juggles competing goals. The final set of recommendations are clearly organized and concise. The systems are put into historical context with anecdotes and markers when the large policy shifts took place.

I was left thinking that we really need legislation that requires education systems to participate with child welfare and juvenile justice so that the state can fully fulfill its obligations once it takes responsibility for a child. Furthermore, we need as thoughtful a piece written about the education system's response to children and how we juggle the same values of punishment, safety, and well-being within the education system itself. Yet, the education system brings another element which is the constant decision-making that directs resources to some children and not to others.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Help for Kids Struggling with Basic Literacy

I just found out that Scholastic has released System 44. It uses adaptive technology to help kids get a grip on decoding and phonics. As in Read 180, there is background knowledge delivered through videos that engages young people.

I haven't seen it in action. But given the cost and limited resources in literacy across the country, this will be a critical component of any effort to accelerate learning of struggling students.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Response to Early Indicators: Portland Public Schools Case Study

We've seen a number of cities starting to use on-track indicators to try to make sure that students make a successful transition into high school, without failing any core academic courses. This is great, but it takes more than monitoring and reports to make a difference. Districts and schools have to start responding differently.

Portland Public Schools developed a full district-wide strategy focused on Ninth Grade Counts. Bridgespan did an excellent case study based on the excellent and honest leadership from the folks at PPS.

This is definitely worth reading and using for conversation with constituencies within districts. Chicago has also done a full districtwide strategy but it hasn't been documented for public consumption. We need a few different examples to help districts think out their options.

I hope this all finds you well. I thought that you might be interested in the attached case study that we recently prepared on an initiative that Bridgespan helped the Portland (OR) Public Schools carry out. The initiative focused on the 9th grade transition as a strategic intervention point for reducing dropout rates. The case study shows how Portland moved from data and decisions to implementation and discernable interim results in a year's time. I thought there might be elements of this effort that would be relevant and useful for you.

We would of course welcome any feedback, comments, or questions about this study. I would like to ask one favor -- could you please consider if there is anyone in your network who might be interested in this white paper and forward it on to them? While this initiative is still being developed in Portland, and it will take 1-2 more years to come to full fruition, we believe there are powerful lessons and early results that warrant sharing it broadly to inform the field.

You can find the case study at Bridgespan's webiste

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finally, Some Resources on Multiple Pathways to Graduation

In addition to the materials you can find at Youth Transition Funders Group you can now get the materials from the US Department of Labor's Learning Exchange.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Is MPG paying enough attention to ELL?

The article below that indicates NYC one of the cities taking graduation rate increases really seriously not making progress with students that are english language learners. If this trend is the same for other cities we need to pay attention to it by:

a) increasing a focus on language and literacy in high schools, especially those efforts to help students stay on-track thru the transition to 9th grade
b) develop more international high schools designed to help ELL students graduate in the mix of the portfolio of schools
c) ensure that there are adequate number of transfer/alternative schools that have expertise in language and literacy to help ELL students pass exit exams and graduate.

BY Meredith Kolodner
Daily News
February 23, 2009

Exclusive - High school graduation rates have increased under Mayor Bloomberg - except for students not fluent in English.

While the general graduation rate climbed to 52.2% in 2007 from 46.5% in 2005, the rate for students learning English (called English language learners, or ELLs) dropped from 28.5% to 23.5% over the same period.

Advocates say some city efforts that have improved achievement in general missed the mark when it comes to English language learners.

"We support high standards," said Deycy Avitia, education advocacy coordinator at the New York Immigration Coalition, "but what we need is the increased resources and strategies to make sure they can meet the higher standards."

As an example, she noted that for one of the mayor's biggest initiatives, the creation of new, small schools, the city allowed the exclusion of nonfluent students.

English language learners are also overrepresented in some of the system's worst schools, accounting for one in five students at the 15 failing schools that were shuttered this year. ELLs made up more than a quarter of the student body at the two high schools that were closed.

Two years ago, advocates successfully fought for increased funding for these students, but say more is needed. Among their suggestions are a longer school day, reduced class size and access to full-day pre-K and kindergarten. They warn that the coming change in graduation standards, requiring all students to pass all five Regents exams, will only make things worse. Currently, only about 10% of English language learners meet that standard.

But there are programs that work, the advocates say.

Flushing International High School in Queens, where students speak 18 languages, boasts a 2% dropout rate and a 92% college attendance rate.

Bronx International High School, which has 40 languages spoken in its hallways, has a similar record.

An Education Department spokeswoman acknowledged that four-year graduation rates remain a concern, but said overall academic performance had improved.

Progress is easier when students are younger, say experts, and, by some measures, there has been improvement.

The percentage of English language learners in the third through eighth grades able to read English at grade level jumped to 22.6% in 2008 from 11% in 2006, according to state tests. Those who were proficient in math grew to 59% from 36% over the same period.

On national achievement tests, however, there was no progress in reading shown by the system's fourth- or eighth-graders. The same was true for eighth-graders in math, though the fourth-graders made some improvement.

"These are problems that have been accruing for some time," said Maria Torres-Guzman, professor of bilingual studies at Columbia University's Teachers College.

"It's too easy to ignore, because it's a population that's not going to make a lot of noise in the political world."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Implications for Youth and Education in the Stimulus Bill

Although this hasn't been verified, this is the latest I have heard about the opportunities in the stimulus bill.

The bill provides $789 billion over two years, but $70 billion of this amount extends provisions of the Alternative Minimum Tax that would have been enacted anyway: thus, relative to baseline spending, the actual fiscal stimulus is closer to $730 billion.

The bill provides about $100b for education, including:
· $250 million for data systems.

· $54 billion for a “fiscal stabilization fund,” most of which must be used for education. Charter schools are eligible to receive this funding.

· $4.6 billion for early childhood programs

· $13 billion for Title 1, of which $3b is for the school improvement fund.

· $11.7 billion for IDEA

· $200 million for the teacher incentive fund

· $15.6 billion for Pell Grants (it appears that the award will increase $400-500 next year)

· $5.17 billion for job training, including $200m national emergency grants, $250m for community training (through community colleges), $250m for Job Corps, $1.52 billion for dislocated workers, $1.2 billion for youth training, $540m for vocational rehabilitation, and $50m for Youthbuild.

The bill also provides low-income families with tax relief that should lift an estimated 2.5 million people out of poverty:
· The earned income tax credit is expanded to provide, for the first time, a larger credit to families with more than two children.

· The earnings requirement for the child care tax credit is lowered from $8,500 to $3,000, which will expand the credit received by the families of 13 million children.

· The Administration’s refundable “making work pay” tax credit is set at $400 for individuals and $800 for families.

· The HOPE tax credit is renamed the American Opportunity tax credit and is for the first time made partially refundable, thus finally making the credit useful to low-income students. The refundable portion would provide up to $1000 per year for tuition and books. On the spending side, the bill also will increase Pell grants by $400-500 per year.

Other provisions of help to low- and moderate-income families:
· A 20-30% increase in the monthly food stamp benefits for the lowest income families (this increase will phase out over time).

· A federally-funded increase of $25 per month in state unemployment insurance benefits. In addition, the bill provides fiscal incentives for states to make part-time workers eligible for UI (especially important for working mothers).

· Several billion for TANF, with changes in federal law that would encourage states to help more families when unemployment increases.

· $4 billion for capital improvements to public housing

· $1.5b for homelessness prevention

The bill also provides states with $87 billion through a temporary increase in the Federal share of Medicaid costs (this funding comes with a temporary prohibition on state action to restrict Medicaid eligibility).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Green Schools

With the discussions on the economic recovery bill, there has been increased interest in "green schools". Here are some resources to get you started:

  • Green Schools Conference coming up: http://asumag.com/green_virtual_conference/main/?cid=gsupromo
  • Green Schools www.greenschools.net -- I think this organizations stands out as they expand their understanding to include healthy eating with gardens integrated as part of the curriculum. Given the empty lots in Detroit, you might be able to turn what is often perceived as a deficit into an asset.
  • US Green Building Council: http://www.usgbc.org/.
  • Public Architecture www.publicarchitecture.org.
  • American Architectural Foundation (www.archfoundation.org has a Great Schools by Design program (http://archfoundation.org/aaf/gsbd/index.htm). Great Schools by Design hosted a convening on green schools in December 2007, in association with the Congressional Green Schools Caucus. The forum was sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which has since launched this: http://www.buildgreenschools.org/
  • Lois DeBacker at Kresge. They are investing in green building. lrdebacker@kresge.org.Firms

  • John Weekes, principal of Dull Olson Weekes Architects (http://www.dowa.com/). He and his firm designed the 45,000 sq ft Rosa Parks School in Portland, which has been hailed as a model for green building. You can find the school on his site under Experience -> Projects -> Learn.
  • Peter Calthorpe http://www.calthorpe.com/
  • Koning Eisenberg Architecture http://www.kearch.com/ (J. Sturges)
  • Daly Genik Architects http://www.dalygenik.com/ (J. Sturges)
  • William McDonough redesigned the Ford plant in River Rouge about 10 years ago. http://www.mcdonough.com/
  • Designshare (Designshare.com) is the firm that worked with Bingler in NOLA to create a new school Gaylaird Christopher is contact. 626-356-4080 gchristopher@architecture4e.com
  • Regenisis Group in santa fe. Joel Glanzberg is contact. joelgla@yahoo.com


  • Sidwell Friends in DC is a LEED platinum school facility with a wide variety of sustainable features, including a revolutionary new lighting system. See description at http://www.lutron.com/cms400/assets/0/609/2617/2625/3DAF397F-5A81-4E5E-9F82-DE429B8B5AE7.pdf
  • The new Ann Arbor public libraries were built with an environmentally sustainable approach. Luckenbach|Ziegelman Architects ofAnn Arbor. The library at Mallets Creek Library won a sustainable design architecture award. http://www.aadl.org/buildings
  • Ann Arbor Skyline High School was built with a green orientation. TMP Associates, Inc. (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), along with Mitchell and Mouat (Ann Arbor, Mich.) are the architects for the new school.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Alternative High School Initiative Developing Place-Based Approach

The group of school developers that make up AHSI have been working developer to make it easier for mayors and superintendents to expand their portfolio of schools for students that are off-track to graduation. This saves time and energy on the part of the cities/districts and the school developers.

The latest partnership is with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Superintendent Clifford Janey

From the AHSI newsletter:

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker and Newark Public Schools Superintendent Clifford Janey recently announced a new partnership to reduce local dropout rates by developing a portfolio of innovative, student-centered alternative high schools. Over the next two years, the partnership will open a total of nine schools and programs that feature a rigorous and relevant curriculum, project-based learning, close student-teacher relationships, and youth voice.

Along with Indianapolis and Nashville, Newark is one of three pilot cities in which the Alternative High School Initiative (AHSI) has established a "place-based partnership." AHSI is a network of 12 youth development organizations that have developed innovative alternative school models. The network is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-convened by the YEF Institute and Big Picture Learning. Over the next two years, the City of Newark will collaborate with AHSI members such as Gateway to College, Communities in Schools of New Jersey, DiplomaPlus, Big Picture Learning, as well as local partners such as Newark Public Schools, the Nicholson Foundation, Rutgers University, Newark Alliance, and Essex County College in opening new schools for students who struggle in traditional high school settings.

The question is: shouldn't the districts be doing the segmentation analysis to understand their off-track population before selecting school models?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Federal Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation

Accelerating Integration of Multiple Pathways to Graduation into College Readiness Agendas

Given that a number of cities have developed a data-driven approach to improving high schools AND better serving the student that are off-track to graduation (who without whelp will become dropouts), what can we do to accelerate the number of districts that are actively embracing policies and strategies to address the dropout crisis? One thing to do is establish an Office Of Multiple Pathways to Graduation within federal and state Departments of Education.


On November 13-15, I attended the Multiple Education Pathways Learning Exchange sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). As you know, the USDOL invested $2,950,000 in funding to six cities to expand upon the methodology referred to as Multiple Pathways to Graduation to stem the tide of young people that leave school without their high school diploma as developed by Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and Portland, OR. Nearly 300 community leaders from over 40 cities – school district, business, higher education, community organizations – committed the time and money to come to the Learning Exchange to learn from the cities that are forging ahead.

Furthermore, the Alternative High School Initiative funded by the Gates Foundation is getting increasing interest from cities to expand the number of alternative schools such as Diploma Plus and Communities in School’s Performance Learning Centers. As cities begin to confront their low graduation rates they are trying to expand the number of transfer or alternative schools designed to help students get back on track to graduation. This is a critical step as most cities have less than 10% of the necessary slots to serve the number of students that are over-age and under-credit.

Given the enormous appetite for a strategic approach to address the dropout crisis, the following is a strategy to accelerate the process of district adaptation of the Multiple Pathways to Graduation framework to stem the tide of students leaving school unprepared for the 21st century workforce.

Rationale for Investing in the Multiple Pathways to Graduation Framework

• Cost-effective use of increasingly scarce resources: The Multiple Pathways to Graduation framework is the only data-driven approach to addressing the dropout crisis. Without the framework in place along with the baseline segmentation analysis, schools and cities are left throwing services at children without any way of knowing if it is making a difference. A representative from Brockton Public Schools drew out this point by describing how they found that of all the students on the early warning list not one of them was receiving services through the primary mentoring program.

• Without intervention, the challenge of disconnected youth will swamp cities and lead to a generation of young families without attachment to education and work. The challenges of the disconnected youth population are only going to get larger under the economic crisis. Even before the crisis, the absolute numbers of young people without a diploma or the skills to connect effectively with the labor market were growing. The only way to stop a whole new generation of young families grow up in poverty is to dramatically increase the number of students completing their high school education and building the fundamental skills that will allow them to succeed in the 21st century economy.

Establish Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation in Federal and State Department’s of Education

Establishing and Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation in Federal and State Departments of Education can play three critical roles as described below. There is significant opportunity to structure a federal Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation as a public/private partnership assuming that the office is established within the Department of Education.

• Signal that increasing graduation rates is equally important as increasing achievement. It is critical that the efforts to increase college readiness be balanced and bolstered by explicit strategies to increase graduation rates. Currently the overall policies toward high school reform are based on system alignment rather than system analysis. Although at first glance this appears to be a sound approach, it is built on the assumption that all students will follow a linear path to graduation. System alignment efforts also fail to address the issue of what happens to children when they fall off –track to graduation.

• Establish incentives for districts to establish data-driven efforts to keep more students on-track and help off-track students get their diploma. Minimal levels of funding can act as incentives for districts to complete the data analysis, establish early warning systems and refine accountability systems to create incentives for schools to continue educating students that are off-track. The US DOL has demonstrated that with less than $250,000 per year cities and districts will take on the overhaul of their education systems and re-organize resources around students that are off-track to graduation.

• Create incentives for districts to expand the number and type of transfer (alternative) schools to reach 20% of students that are off-track to graduation. Evidence from leading cities suggest that at most 10% of the need for schools are available to support students off-track to graduation. In many states, there are financial disincentives for districts to expand the number of transfer schools. Federal and state policy incentives can be established as well as philanthropic dollars to establish low-interest revolving loans to establish more schools. Finally, greater innovation will be needed to address the needs of students that are dropping out of school with elementary level literacy skills.

• Broker relationships to support peer-to-peer networking among districts and communities to accelerate learning and encourage innovations. By using social network theory and effective practices of knowledge transfer, Offices of Multple Pathways to Graduation can help districts learn from each other, offer critical resources on-line, while simultaneously building up a cadre of new leaders with abilities to support systemic reforms.

In conclusion, it is critical that the leadership of efforts related to Multiple Pathways to Graduation is centered in Departments of Education, otherwise school districts will not heed the importance of this work. Yet, it is equally important that formal partnerships are established with efforts within Departments of Labor and if possible, those departments overseeing mental health, child welfare and juvenile justice.