We believe in teachers and leaders as passionate professionals and drivers of student achievement, and schools as the unit of change. Too often in education, innovation happens to educators through top-down mandates, and there is a tendency to pursue new initiatives and rush to scale before engaging educators and students. Through the RISE Network, we are committed to authentic, collaborative, and evidence-based improvement. RISE empowers educators to innovate in response to the opportunities and challenges they observe in their classrooms and school communities. RISE is not a program or initiative; rather, it is a platform to convene educators helping all students access and achieve college and career success.
We learn as a Network, observing the inspiring dedication of RISE educators and the tremendous potential of RISE students. During the first 18 months of our partnership, RISE high schools piloted a variety of programs to strengthen the middle to high school transition, increase college and career readiness, and strengthen data systems and practices to support student achievement. In 2016-17, RISE members expanded opportunities for innovation and agency among students and staff, launching the RISE Educator Innovation Fund and Wishbone partnership. And as we look ahead to the 2017-18 school year, RISE members will adopt the RISE by 5 strategy informed by research and the pioneering work of RISE teachers and leaders.
To dramatically improve student outcomes within five years, in five ways, RISE high schools will pursue five core strategies:
1) On-Track Coordinators: Research shows the critical importance of freshman year in predicting high school and post-secondary success. On-Track Coordinators working in RISE high schools engage Grade 9 students demonstrating attendance, academic, social, and/or behavioral risk factors, and provide personalized and immediate supports. On-Track Coordinators serve as advocates and coaches for students who may otherwise fall off-track by collaborating with teachers, administrators, students, and families to ensure every student thrives.
2) On-Track Data Meetings: Grade-level educator teams in RISE high schools lead weekly on-track data meetings. On-track meetings are rooted in real-time information. Teams of educators identify students’ strengths, positive connections to school, and growth areas. Using a case management approach that engages students and families in the process, teams design personalized action steps and supports, and strive to ensure effective implementation and student success.
3) SAT Prep Program: The SAT serves as an important college access variable, and underserved students underperform relative to their peers. To help close opportunity gaps, RISE high school juniors participate in SAT prep programs offered at their high schools, building SAT fluency, preparedness, confidence, and skills.
4) Summer Transition Program: RISE high schools offer summer programming, focusing on key transitions. Students in RISE high schools benefit from summer bridge programs for rising Grade 9 students, and college readiness programs for rising Grade 12 students.
5) Opportunities for Student Agency: RISE facilitates opportunities for students to take ownership of their education and pursue their passions. Grade 10 students visit a college campus to build college-going awareness and aspirations. Also, RISE partners with Wishbone and other organizations to offer opportunities for students to explore their interests through personalized learning experiences.