2015-2016 Summer Melt Texting Initiative: Lessons Learned on What it Takes to Launch a Program

Education and Literacy;Nonprofits and Philanthropy;Race and Ethnicity

2015-2016 Summer Melt Texting Initiative: Lessons Learned on What it Takes to Launch a Program

At Great Lakes we focus on helping students of color, students from low-income families and those who are the first in theirfamilies to attend college. These underserved students have the most to gain from earning a degree or credential, but face the steepest challenges in getting there. One of the first barriers they need to overcome is "summer melt." The purpose of this report is to share lessons learned by three high school districts during the development and launch of a summer melt texting program.

October 2017

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Midwestern) / Wisconsin

Overcoming Barriers to Graduation: Great Lakes 2015 Philanthropy Report

Education and Literacy;Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Overcoming Barriers to Graduation: Great Lakes 2015 Philanthropy Report

With over half of jobs now requiring a postsecondary credential, college completion has never been more important. Yet it remains elusive for too many students -- especially students from low-income backgrounds, students of color and first-generation students. For 50 years, Great Lakes has focused on helping traditionally underserved students who have the most to gain from a college education -- yet often have the least support in getting there -- make their way to and through college. Our 2015 report highlights the three distinct and purposeful funding approaches we use in pursuit of this goal and details several grants we made over the past year.

March 2016

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Midwestern) / Iowa;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Minnesota;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Ohio;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Wisconsin

Learning What Works: Great Lakes 2014 Philanthropy Report

Education and Literacy;Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Learning What Works: Great Lakes 2014 Philanthropy Report

Great Lakes 2014 philanthropy report details a $28.6 million commitment in grant funding over the past year to close the college completion gap faced by students of color, low-income students and first-generation students. The report highlights a variety of grants made to colleges, universities, community-based organizations and research initiatives that demonstrate promising approaches to getting more students to and through college. Great Lakes aims to learn which ideas will help the most students achieve the greatest results.

December 2014

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Midwestern) / Iowa;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Minnesota;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Ohio;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Wisconsin

Mindful Giving: Great Lakes 2013-2014 Philanthropy Report

Education and Literacy;Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Mindful Giving: Great Lakes 2013-2014 Philanthropy Report

Great Lakes 2013-2014 philanthropy report details record $21 million in commitments. This past year Great Lakes dramatically increased its funding to help more students from low-income households, students of color, and students who are the first in their families attend and complete college. For the 2013-2014 academic year our commitments total $21 million, and are in excess of $100 million since 2006. This report tells more about our approach to philanthropy and the work we do to move more students toward college completion.

June 2014

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Midwestern) / Iowa;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Minnesota;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Ohio;North America / United States (Midwestern) / Wisconsin

Public Schooling in Southeastern Wisconsin

Education and Literacy

Public Schooling in Southeastern Wisconsin

For the 23rd consecutive year, the Public Policy Forum has compiled and analyzed data from Southeastern Wisconsin's school districts in order to better inform policymakers and the public about progress-or lack thereof-on commonly utilized measures of academic achievement. This year's analysis of the 2008-09 academic year indicates cause for encouragement in some areas, but also cause for significant concern.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin (Southeastern), North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee

High Cost of Wisconsin's Dropout Rate, The

Education and Literacy

High Cost of Wisconsin's Dropout Rate, The

Outlines the scope of the high school dropout problem in Wisconsin and dropouts' risk of unemployment, health problems, and incarceration. Estimates costs to the state through reduced tax revenues, increased Medicaid costs, and high incarceration rates.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

Principal Concerns in Wisconsin: Focus on Future Leaders for Rural Schools

Education and Literacy

Principal Concerns in Wisconsin: Focus on Future Leaders for Rural Schools

States need, among other things, to build detailed longitudinal data systems for principals like the ones they use to track teachers and students. But in some places those types of systems are still a long way off. In the meantime, system leaders can examine the administrative data they already have to paint a basic picture of their principal workforce, one that can help prompt deeper questions and discussions about the challenges and opportunities they face.

This Principal Concerns brief offers an example of this type of analysis for Wisconsin. Why should Wisconsin be concerned about its principal workforce? After all, by some measures, the state's schools are doing well. Wisconsin's NAEP scores, for example, are consistently higher than the national average.

Yet there is still much work to be done to ensure that all students achieve at high levels, and strong leadership is key to that success. Under the state's recently revamped accountability system, 266 schools across the state are not meeting performance expectations. In Milwaukee Public Schools, the state's largest school system, only 21 percent of schools met or exceeded the state's expectations.

Wisconsin will need to pursue a range of strategies and levers to improve results for all of its students. One important improvement strategy is to ensure that districts are recruiting, developing, and retaining good principals. Where there are many early- to mid-career principals, states need to emphasize professional development. But where there is an approaching wave of retirements, states should focus more heavily on recruiting and preparing new leaders.

To identify Wisconsin's specific needs, we need to answer these questions: How many principals are near retirement eligibility? How is retirement eligibility distributed across schools and locations? How are experienced and new principals distributed across school types?

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

Continuous Improvement in Education

Education and Literacy

Continuous Improvement in Education

In recent years, 'continuous improvement' has become a popular catchphrase in the field of education. However, while continuous improvement has become commonplace and well-documented in other industries, such as healthcare and manufacturing, little is known about how this work has manifested itself in education.

This white paper attempts to map the landscape of this terrain by identifying and describing organizations engaged in continuous improvement, and by highlighting commonalities and differences among them. The findings classify three types of organizations engaged in continuous improvement: those focused on instructional improvement at the classroom level; those concentrating on system-wide improvement; and those addressing collective impact. Each type is described in turn and illustrated by an organizational case study. Through the analysis, six common themes that characterize all three types of organizations (e.g., leadership and strategy, communication and engagement, organizational infrastructure, methodology, data collection and analysis, and building capacity) are enumerated.

This white paper makes four concluding observations. First, the three case studies provide evidence of organizations conducting continuous improvement work in the field of education, albeit at different levels and in different ways. Second, entry points to continuous improvement work are not mutually exclusive, but are nested and, hence, mutually informative and comparative. Third, continuous improvement is not synonymous with improving all organizational processes simultaneously; rather, research and learning cycles are iterative and gradual in nature. Fourth, despite being both iterative and gradual, it is imperative that improvement work is planned and undertaken in a rigorous, thoughtful, and transparent fashion.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Montgomery County, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Waukesha County-Menomonee Falls, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Hamilton County-Cincinnati

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