Education report released this week: “Whole Towns Coming Together for All Students” – January 19, 2012

/ 19 January 2012 / Parents United
Education report released this week: “Whole Towns Coming Together for All Students” – January 19, 2012



CONTACT:     Dane Smith
President, Growth & Justice
Cell: 651-675-6360

Dear editors, reporters, and other interested parties,

In Brainerd and Grand Marais, citizens and businesses are mounting impressive efforts to provide more of their area residents with the higher education credentials they need to succeed in the local economy. In Worthington and Willmar, energetic community-wide efforts are underway to help the fast growing Latino student population and other communities of color catch up and succeed in school. In Grand Rapids and St. Cloud, a broad array of community leaders have come together to plan for improved student success with comprehensive “cradle-to-career” strategies.
Those are among the highlights of a Growth & Justice education report released this week, “Whole Towns Coming Together for All Students.”
The report’s key findings and recommendations are these: 

  • Historical precedent is strong in rural and Greater Minnesota for vigorous and inclusive community involvement in educational success for all. Despite economic challenges and increasing racial diversity, evidence shows the effectiveness of community engagement and points to a revival in such activity across the nation.
  • Many communities across Minnesota already are coming together in purposeful and energetic ways to plan for greater success for all students. We describe examples of initiatives happening in regions and communities outside the Twin Cities area, including: the Brainerd Lakes area; Cook County and Grand Marais; Itasca County and Grand Rapids; Northfield; Rochester; St. Cloud; Willmar; and Worthington. In addition, we cite other models and programs sponsored by foundations, nonprofits and other organizations.
  • Bolder and broader “cradle-to-career” strategies – comprehensive, data-driven plans that begin near birth and focus on improving measurable progress all the way to career readiness – show the most promise for success.

In a TEDx lecture available here, Growth & Justice President Dane Smith talks about the importance of civic engagement for student success and he highlights some of the promising progress being made by communities featured in the report.

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