Connecticut RISE Network 2018 Annual Report

Page 1




STUDENTS We believe all students have tremendous potential and ambitious dreams for their futures; educators demonstrate incredible capacity and drive to support their students in achieving their goals. The Connecticut RISE Network is committed to empowering educators and elevating their students to help all students realize their full potential. Our 2018 Annual Report provides an introduction to the RISE Network through the compelling stories of our school and district partners. Through this report, we invite you to learn more about RISE and get inspired by the students and educators working together to achieve breakthrough results.

RISE Network 2018 Annual Report Letter from the Board Chair and Director........ 2 RISE to the Challenge...................................... 3 RISE by Design................................................ 8 RISE in Action................................................14 With Gratitude for Our Partners.................... 22 RISE with Us................................................. 24

Dear Friends and Partners, Three years ago, we launched the RISE Network in collaboration with teachers, counselors, and administrators across Connecticut, each sharing the urgent belief that we can do more to help all students excel. We aspired to create a community built by educators, for educators, to advance shared goals to improve students’ college, career, and life outcomes. The idea was relatively simple — if we bring together talented and passionate educators across public school districts, then we can amplify our collective impact for students. Great student outcomes are our top priority. Through our partnership, we are constantly learning and improving as we pursue ideas shaped by educator expertise, student voice, and new insights gleaned through data. During the 2017–18 school year, RISE high schools focused on the middle to high school transition as a foundational building block for achievement during and beyond high school. Data show that freshman success is the best predictor of on-time high school graduation. Over the past three years, we’ve seen Grade 9 ontrack rates improve by nearly 10 percentage points, and students are sustaining their achievement in Grades 10 through 12 with more students earning college-ready GPAs.

2 RISE Network

As we look ahead to the next year, we are excited to deepen and extend our impact. In our current partner schools, we are scaling our efforts to improve college and career readiness. We are also excited to expand the RISE Network to new high schools and districts in 2019, directly reaching more than 10,000 students across Connecticut. We are grateful for and humbled by educators and students. Our early results prove that every student can thrive and succeed, and educators are a crucial and powerful link in helping students to discover and realize their goals. While we celebrate our early progress, we know that we have a lot of work ahead to deliver the outcomes our students deserve and can achieve. Thank you for your partnership and dedication to Connecticut’s students and public education system. We look forward to another year of meaningful and results-driven learning and collaboration.

Barbara Dalio Co-Founder and Board Chair

Emily Pallin Director


Our Mission The RISE Network empowers educators to achieve breakthrough results, helping all students realize and achieve their full potential.

2018 Annual Report 3

Achieving Breakthrough Results in Connecticut High Schools Through the RISE Network, educators collaborate to ensure Connecticut high school students graduate college and career ready. Connecticut’s youth are joining an economy that demands skilled workers and critical thinkers.

By 2020, more than 70% of Connecticut’s jobs will require education beyond high school.1 As a state, we are not prepared to meet these demands, and persistent opportunity gaps disadvantage low-income students and students of color. While the vast majority of students and their families aspire to a college degree, far too few students achieve their dreams of a higher education. In Connecticut, only three-quarters of low-income students graduate from high school within four years. Only one in five low-income high school graduates in Connecticut will earn a postsecondary degree within six years of graduating from high school, compared to roughly half of their more affluent peers.

Carnevale, Anthony, et al. “Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020.” Center on Education and the Workforce, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, 2013, Accessed 15 January 2019.


4 RISE Network

UNREALIZED POTENTIAL The gaps between student aspirations and attainment often become most striking when students enter high school. In Connecticut’s high-need districts students struggle with:2

Low On-Track Promotion Rates


of freshmen do not earn enough credits to promote on time to sophomore year.

Lack of College- and Career-Ready Coursework

Limited College Readiness


of juniors and seniors do not meet Connecticut’s college-readiness benchmark.


of juniors and seniors do not access college-ready courses during high school.

Data reflect 3-year averages between 2014–15 and 2017–18 on the CSDE’s accountability framework averaged for Connecticut’s 30 Alliance Districts.


2018 Annual Report


CRITICAL MOMENTS Nationally, students become less engaged as they move through elementary school, the middle grades, and high school.3 While the stakes become higher — as credits count toward graduation and students begin to formalize and pursue their college and career plans — students are becoming more and more disconnected from school. We know that high school is a pivotal time for all students, particularly the key moments of transition that have outsized impact on a student’s future. RISE schools work together to help all students successfully navigate the

middle to high school transition and graduate high school ready for postsecondary success. National research shows that Grade 9 on-track achievement (i.e., whether a student earns enough credits to promote on time to sophomore year) is the single best predictor of whether a student will graduate from high school within four years — more so than test scores, family income, or race/ethnicity.4 And college application, enrollment, and persistence rates reveal significant gaps in achievement that affect students’ long-term success.

Calderon, Valerie J. and Yu, Daniela. “Student Enthusiasm Falls as High School Graduation Nears.” Gallup, gallup/211631/student-enthusiasm-falls-high-school-graduation-nears.aspx”. Accessed 15 January 2019. 4 Allensworth, Elaine and Easton, John Q. “What Matters for Staying On-Track.” University of Chicago, files/publications/07%20What%20Matters%20Final.pdf. Accessed 15 January 2019. 3

Early Results

Over the past three years of the RISE partnership, the RISE Network’s focus on key transitions — navigating the middle to high school transition and preparing for postsecondary success — has yielded positive early results.

6 RISE Network

Greater On-Track Achievement Grade 9 on-track rates have improved by nearly 10 percentage points network-wide from roughly 70% to 80% over the past three years.

Success in Closing Opportunity Gaps

Improved College Readiness

Grade 9 on-track improvements are more pronounced for vulnerable subgroups, with English learners and special education students achieving 15+ point gains over the past three years.

College-readiness rates for students in Grades 9 through 12 have improved from 29% of students earning B’s or better (3.0+ unweighted GPA) in 2015–16 to 36% in 2017–18.

2018 Annual Report 7

RISE BY DESIGN What is the RISE Network? The RISE Network is a community built by educators for educators. RISE partners with educators across Connecticut who are deeply committed to improving educational outcomes for low-income high school students. RISE brings together teachers, counselors, and administrators working in different contexts to help ensure that every high school student graduates college and career ready. As a collaborative improvement network, we pursue opportunities for innovation at three levels:




Align personalized supports to critical moments in the high school experience.

Expand access to resources and information to promote educator-led innovation.

Build a cross-district community to advance shared goals and scale results.

8 RISE Network

Our Partners RISE currently represents a partnership between five high schools in four districts across Connecticut.

5,600+ students 500+ educators 5 schools 4 districts

14% English learners 18% special education students 67% low-income students

500+ teachers 45 counselors 19 school administrators East Hartford High School Hartford Public High School Hill Regional Career High School Francis T. Maloney High School Orville H. Platt High School

East Hartford Public Schools Hartford Public Schools New Haven Public Schools Meriden Public Schools

2018 Annual Report 9

Creating a Platform for Collaboration & Innovation RISE is a vibrant learning community where educators come together to share successes, resources, strategies, and challenges. We support one another, and we push one another to improve outcomes for our students. RISE schools convene throughout the year for network-wide professional learning opportunities. These gatherings provide educators with opportunities to learn from and collaborate with peers across schools. We are committed to working together to use data to co-design, test, and implement new and better ways to meet student needs.

Here’s how educators describe the RISE Network in their own words.

“The most valuable opportunity our district has had since I began working here.”

“A blessing. I have described the work as ‘Doing the right work right’.”

“An amazing opportunity to make positive and significant changes for our students.”

“It is motivating to have a group who is investing in me, supporting me, and cheering me on.”

10 RISE Network

SPOTLIGHT ON PEER LEARNING Hartford Public High School (HPHS) Grade 12 teacher Joe Battaglia describes his first RISE Network event as eye-opening:

“ It was clear we could be doing more to promote college and career success. By hearing ideas from educators from different communities, I saw what works and what doesn’t.” Inspired by the ideas shared by educators at other RISE high schools, Mr. Battaglia and his colleagues joined together to design a record-breaking college application campaign for HPHS seniors. “We want to celebrate students setting goals and being trailblazers in their families.”

“Inspirational, empowering. One of the best things that has happened to our school!” “I am privileged to be part of RISE!!” Joe Battaglia, Teacher

Hartford Public High School, Hartford, CT

2018 Annual Report 11

Designing New Ideas, Investing in What Works Upon launching the RISE Network, RISE high schools set out to pilot new ideas to promote student engagement, on-track achievement, and college and career readiness. After two years of exploration and continuous learning, RISE high schools came together to identify the most promising practices and collaboratively commit to five shared strategies to improve student outcomes.

RISE by 5 Strategies



Summer transition programs offer

On-track coaching opportunities

meaningful opportunities to help students navigate transitions to high school and beyond, form strong relationships, and gain confidence and skills to achieve their goals.

engage all students in one-on-one conferences. On-Track and College and Career Coordinators support students through personalized and datadriven coaching for student success.

SPOTLIGHT ON SHARED STRATEGIES When first asked about their school’s priorities and ideas, Maloney High School Principal Jennifer Straub and her team immediately pointed to freshman year as a challenging transition. Mrs. Straub and Meriden educators then collaborated with RISE Network partners to design and pilot a new Grade 9 summer bridge program and On-Track Coordinator positions. After seeing exciting results in the first year, Meriden educators helped establish the network-wide RISE by 5 framework.

12 RISE Network

Mrs. Straub notes, “RISE by 5 motivated us to sit down and look at all of our systems and operations relative to Grade 9 success. Now, we’re tackling on-track work in an entirely different way.” Maloney’s Grade 9 on-track rates have improved by 18 percentage points over the past three years, and Mrs. Straub and her team are now scaling their efforts in Grades 9 through 12.




On-track data teams support

College and career supports

Educator-inspired innovations receive

educators with information, tools, and resources to leverage their expertise to benefit all students. Collaborative team structures help schools meet the holistic needs of every student.

provide sophomores with college visits to build future aspirations, juniors with SAT prep programs to increase postsecondary readiness, and seniors with postsecondary planning support.

support from the RISE Advisory Council and Innovation Fund, empowering educators to pinpoint needs, pilot ideas, and promote promising practices through collaboration.

“ It feels like the RISE Network said, ‘What’s the hardest thing about your job? Here, let us bring all of these people and resources to help you.’”

Jennifer Straub, Principal

Maloney High School, Meriden, CT 2018 Annual Report 13

RISE IN PRACTICE All students deserve an engaging, enriching, and meaningful high school experience.

Across all five partner schools, RISE Network educators bring the RISE by 5 strategies to life by providing students with opportunities to excel. Just as no two students are alike, we understand that every school and every classroom is unique. RISE ensures educators have the tools, resources, and professional learning they need to adapt the RISE by 5 strategies to their school culture and needs. Importantly, our approach reflects an ongoing improvement process and systems solution, more so than a set of static programs or interventions. As partners in the RISE Network, we are always looking for ways to strengthen our efforts to better meet student needs. We connect our work to the critical moments and key transitions that shape students’ high school experiences. The following sections spotlight RISE educators and students who are using network-wide strategies to help all students realize and achieve their full potential.

14 RISE Network

Bridging the Gap between Middle School and High School Summer bridge programs, on-track coaching, and on-track data teams create opportunities for educators to build meaningful relationships with incoming freshmen as they navigate the transition into high school.

Unlocking Opportunities in High School

Promoting Success beyond High School

Beyond freshman year, we invite students and teachers to pursue creative learning experiences that keep students engaged by connecting their passions and interests to their college and career aspirations.

As a network, we provide personalized supports to ensure that all of our students graduate with a plan for success in college, the military, apprenticeships, or the workforce. 2018 Annual Report 15

Bridging the Gap between Middle School and High School After a challenging middle school experience, Elena enrolled in East Hartford High School’s (EHHS) summer bridge program for incoming freshmen to ensure that high school would be a fresh start. “My middle school experience was not the best. I had no motivation. The program I did before freshman year helped me get more comfortable with high school.” EHHS’s Grade 9 team works together to help all students start high school on track, beginning in the summer. Summer Bridge Coordinator Mary Bieler notes, “We look for students who could benefit from a connection to school and a relationship with a caring adult before high school. Summertime is really important for reaching them early so they can meet their teachers and see our building.” The personalized support continues once the school year starts. Antoinette Locke, Elena’s On-Track Coordinator, checked in with her every week throughout her freshman year. Elena recalls, “Ms. Locke would say ‘Let’s see what you’re missing, what you’re doing well, and what you

“I’m in a good place now. Compared to middle school, I’m doing a lot better. I’m a lot more motivated thanks to what I have at home and the adults here.” — Elena

could be doing better.’ The fact that she made that effort to see me each week made me feel like she cared.” Now a sophomore, Elena reflects on the role her teachers played in her success. “Right away, I was more successful than in middle school. Somebody’s always paying attention. They’re watching out for you no matter what.”

From left: Mary Bieler, Teacher, Elena, Grade 10, and Antoinette Locke, On-Track Coordinator School, Hartford, CT

16 RISE Network

East Hartford High

Each year, 1,600+ freshmen benefit from summer bridge programs, on-track coaching, and Grade 9 data teams.


Unlocking Opportunities in High School When Rose Murphy set out to launch the Panther Press, a student-run newspaper at Hill Regional Career High School, she saw an opportunity for her students to be seen as thoughtful, insightful professionals. “I wanted the students to do the majority of the writing. If you can succeed in journalism, it carries over to so many parts of life.” However, she quickly realized that achieving the vision she and her students had for the Panther Press would require more resources than she had available. To secure the materials she needed, Ms. Murphy turned to the RISE Network Educator Innovation Fund. Created through a partnership with and the Dalio Foundation, the RISE Innovation Fund provides educators like Ms. Murphy with the resources they need to try out new, creative ways to help students stay engaged and motivated throughout their high school experiences. Ms. Murphy found her experience using the Innovation Fund empowering and was awed by the support people across the country showed for her students’ vision for the newspaper. For Ms. Murphy’s students, writing for the newspaper is a chance to explore Tyanna, Grade 11 and Rose Murphy, Teacher 18 RISE Network

“It was really amazing for students to see people across the country who were inspired by their stories and really wanted to give them their shot.” — Rose Murphy

topics that are meaningful and relevant to them. Tyanna, a junior who recently wrote an article about what Christmas is like for families in poverty and another on #BlackGirlMagic, was encouraged by the chance to interview her classmates, family members, and other people in her community. “It makes me feel good, like I’m doing something good for my community, so people can hear their voice, as well,” she says. “Half of what we talk about in journalism, we couldn’t talk about anywhere else. We wouldn’t have these conversations.”

Hill Regional Career High School, New Haven, CT

RISE educators have used the Innovation Fund to launch 741 projects, bringing over $475,000 in additional resources to their schools.


Promoting Success Beyond High School Ethan has one word to describe his senior year: stressful. By participating in Platt High School’s college application campaign, he can now also add another: successful. “I take rigorous classes this year, and it’s been a challenge,” he says. “But I’ve been pretty successful with the college application process. So far, I am 1 for 1, and hopefully I can make it 4 for 4 as I hear back from other schools.” College and Career Coordinator Abby Marcantonio and School Counselor Kristin Mona say that the application campaign helped motivate and guide Ethan through a complex process. According to Mrs. Marcantonio, “The campaign organized the process for the kids, and now conversations are happening earlier, which is really the goal.” Mrs. Mona agrees, adding, “The enthusiasm about encouraging kids to apply early was important. Ethan really embodied that.” With his applications in early and acceptances rolling in, Ethan can now focus on scholarships and choosing the school that will best allow him to achieve his goal of being a college athlete on his way to a career in business.

“College and career readiness is really about making sure students are prepared for whichever path they choose.” — Abby Marcantonio

Mrs. Marcantonio credits the RISE Network with pushing her team to be more strategic and data-driven: “RISE has helped us become more intentional with the work that we’re doing to make sure that it has an impact on students. For our college application campaign, I could not wait to go back and compare where we were last year to our data this year. Our goal was to get 50% of seniors who planned to apply to submit their applications by December 15th, and we hit 73%. For us that was a huge success.”

Ethan, Grade 12 and Abby Marcantonio, College and Career Coordinator

20 RISE Network

Platt High School, Meriden, CT

In 2018, RISE educators planned and led college visits for over 800 sophomores, SAT preparation for 600 juniors, and college application campaigns for over 1,300 seniors.


WITH GRATITUDE For Our Partners The RISE Network is driven by the creativity and dedication of hundreds of teachers, counselors, and administrators in our partner schools and districts. We thank our terrific partners for their tireless efforts to improve students outcomes in their districts and across the RISE Network. Together, educators are not only beating the odds, but also changing the odds for thousands of talented and deserving students in Connecticut. Thank you for inspiring us with your fierce determination, relentless optimism, and collaborative spirit.

For the Dalio Foundation Three years ago, the Dalio Foundation co-founded the RISE Network in collaboration with educators across Connecticut. We are deeply grateful for the Dalio Foundation’s continued generosity and visionary leadership as we work together to help all students achieve success. We thank Barbara Dalio and the Dalio Foundation for their unwavering support as we continue to make steady progress toward our shared student outcome goals. Thank you for all that you do to empower educators, elevate students, and support Connecticut’s public schools.

22 RISE Network

2018 Annual Report 23

RISE WITH US READY FOR SUCCESS “ Our students are intelligent, and they’re driven. It’s incredible to watch them grow and go onto bigger and better things. The RISE Network is here to help teachers and to help students become even greater.” — Liz Matthews After a challenging first semester at Hartford Public High School, Elizabeth turned to her teachers, including freshman English teacher Liz Matthews, for support. Once she was back on track in her classes, Elizabeth began to think about other opportunities beyond high school. That’s when Mrs. Matthews connected Elizabeth to RISE. With the RISE Network and Mrs. Matthews supporting her every step of the way, Elizabeth applied, was admitted, and secured financial assistance to attend a summer nursing program at Yale University. Elizabeth’s summer experience at Yale was transformative: “I wanted to see if the medical career path was right for me, if that was my future. It ended up being my future because right now, I’m in college and studying to go into medicine. I go to Eastern Connecticut State University as a Health Science major, and I’m planning to go on to medical school or nursing school to further my education.” The RISE Network has connected Mrs. Matthews to resources and opportunities that she then brought to hundreds of deserving students like Elizabeth: “Seeing students like Elizabeth be successful makes it feel like we are moving in the right direction. And all of this has really been with the help and the support of the RISE Network.”

24 RISE Network

Ambitious goals demand collective action. Join us as we make a difference for thousands of Connecticut youth. Together, we can and will help all students realize their full potential.

Get involved by: • Emailing us at to request additional materials or to schedule a site visit • Supporting RISE educators by making a matched contribution to the Innovation Fund at • Following us on Twitter @ctrisenetwork to stay up to date on our latest news, photos, and videos • Visiting our website at

Elizabeth, Alumna and Liz Matthews, Teacher Hartford Public High School, Hartford, CT

700 State Street New Haven, CT 06511 203.535.0320 ď‚™ @ctrisenetwork

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.