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High Desert Report


A quarterly economic overview

Programs For Success Continued

Call to Action for Dropouts/Grad Rates Last summer, I issued a “Call to Action” in response to our county’s high dropout and low graduation rates and called together key members of my staff to look at research and proven practices to attack this head on. These two issues-that go hand-and-hand-are the most pressing educational concerns for our region. They have severe ramifications that extend well beyond public education. According to a recently released report, “The Economic Achievement Gap in America’s Schools” by McKinsey and Co., if America had closed the international achievement gap between 1983 and 1998 and had raised its performance to the level of such nations as Finland and South Korea, the gross domestic product of the United States in 2008 would have been between $1.3 trillion and $2.3 trillion higher. That’s sufficient enough to close the federal deficit. That’s why, every one has a stake in reversing the dropout rate. It’s necessary to fuel our local economy. We need a more highly skilled and educated workforce to meet the demands of employers and sustain the economic viability of our region. In November, we issued the “Call to Action” to educators in the field and our broad base of community partners-business leaders, as well as those in labor, government, education, community, and faith-based groups, and most importantly parents and students. We held the first meeting of a stakeholder’s group that is focused on developing strategies and resources to help lower countywide dropout rates and increase graduation rates. We need our community’s expertise, insights, and experiences to tackle these challenges. Barstow Unified has begun its own “Call to Action,” as Superintendent Susan

Levine has organized the community to become involved in coordinating its own resources to tackle high dropout rates and low graduation rates in its own district. At County Schools, we know how powerful collaboration can be with the growth of programs like AVID, Regional Occupational Programs, Smaller Learning Communities, the P-16 Councils, and the Alliance for Education. These programs have been very successful in engaging our students in learning and preparing them for post-secondary education. We are building on these successes and the key recommendations from more than 40 research studies to tackle troubling graduation and dropout rates. Our growing population provides an ample landscape to mine fertile minds. Even with the tough economic circumstances of the last several years, our county is still home to more than 420,000 students, which could be a tremendous economic engine of growth if we can bring about stronger graduation and college-going rates. We must implement more and more ways to ensure that more of our young people get the kind of education that will increase their chance of success. Soon, our office will be launching a new Web site aimed at this issue. The Every One Counts Web site pulls together key research and resources on dropouts, and will serve as a toolbox for educators, parents, community members, and students as we work to keep youth on track for high school graduation and postsecondary options. Alliance for Education The Alliance for Education is based on the new three R’s-Rigor, Relevance and Relationships-and it continues to make significant headway throughout the county, changing lives for thousands of

students who: • Experience rigor in their academics and career technical preparation at Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (or STEM) academies that prepares them for both college and careers. • Find relevance through classroom demonstrations and field studies in Algebra with business, labor, fire, and safety partners. • Form relationships at literacy and homework centers with faith-based and community partners. Thanks to a $550,000 contribution to the Alliance from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, more of our students will benefit from STEM programs. This allowed the Alliance to increase STEM programs to 10 districts and 19 schools sites with more than 840 students participating. The High Desert has been at the forefront in recognizing the need for STEM programs with Barstow, Silverado and Victor Valley high schools offering STEM programs. During the past year, other funds have been secured from: Arrowhead Credit Union, Lewis Group of Companies, the James Irvine/ Community Foundation, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board, Chaffey and San Bernardino Community College Districts, and federal funding for the STEM initiative. These programs total more than $1.4 million. Regional Occupational Programs The County Schools’ ROP program received a six-year accreditation – the highest available – in February from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. With 11 districts in the High Desert as part of the program, the ROP has been recognized statewide as a model program. ROP districts in the High Desert

continued on page 21 The Bradco High Desert Report 760.951.5111 • Fax: 760.951.5113 • • email:

46th Edition of the Bradco High Desert Report  

Inside This Issue During the last quarter, we have now made this newsletter available to over 7,300 Southern California based commercial, in...

46th Edition of the Bradco High Desert Report  

Inside This Issue During the last quarter, we have now made this newsletter available to over 7,300 Southern California based commercial, in...