Connecticut RISE Network 2023 Annual Report

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A Letter from the Co-Founders Dear Friends and Partners, Eight years ago, the RISE Network began with a question: What would it look like to build a network of educators working together across schools and districts to dramatically improve student outcomes? As we look back, we are tremendously proud of and inspired by the growing number of schools, districts, and educators working together with RISE to promote on-track achievement and postsecondary success for all young people. Now, in our ninth year of collaboration, we continue to gain momentum in our work together toward excellent and equitable outcomes for all students. RISE schools are actively working together to learn, grow, and improve. There is a powerful domino effect that occurs when one school’s successes inspire another’s improvement journey, or when one team’s progress one year fuels even stronger actions and results in future years. Through our work with educators to use data to pinpoint needs, pursue new innovations, and spread promising practice, we are building momentum in our approach. For example, in our early years we successfully pursued new strategies to promote Grade 9 on-track achievement, and this then compelled us to focus on students’ next big transition toward postsecondary success. We use the momentum and traction we are gaining to push toward a next level of impact. And through our cross-school and cross-district partnerships, we are gaining momentum across a growing network as energy transfers from one school to the next. In 2023, we were privileged to partner with over 40 schools from across four states. A growing number of schools are recognizing the importance of on-track achievement and postsecondary access, and are now working together to amplify one another’s success. We encourage you to read our 2023 annual report to learn how schools and educators are working together to build momentum to continue our forward progress in service of our wonderful students and communities.


Barbara Dalio

Emily Pallin

Co-Founder and Board Chair

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Mission Statement Our mission is to ensure all RISE high school students graduate with a plan and the skills and confidence to achieve college and career success. We partner with public high schools to lead statewide networks where school communities work together to use data to learn and improve.

Table of Contents Introducing the RISE Network ........................................................................................... 4 Navigating the Transition to High School ......................................................................... 10 Staying On-Track in Grade 9 ............................................................................................ 12 Working Toward Postsecondary Goals ............................................................................ 14 Achieving Milestones in Grade 12 and Beyond ................................................................ 16 Supporting Educators through Collaborative Learning ................................................... 18 Expressing Gratitude for our Supporters ......................................................................... 20 Turning Resources into Results ....................................................................................... 21 Hearing Directly from Students ....................................................................................... 22


Unmet Needs and Opportunities 78%



of students from low-income backgrounds complete high school within four years nationwide.

of low income students attain a college degree within six years after high school.

of jobs require some form of higher education and most require at least a high school diploma.1

By addressing gaps in our education system, RISE is working to increase access and opportunity for all students.

Opportunity Gaps

The transitions to, through, and beyond high school present significant challenges for far too many students, particularly those from historically marginalized communities. The research is clear: Grade 9 on-track achievement is the best predictor of on-time graduation, and myriad data speak to the value and importance of higher education. Yet opportunity gaps disproportionately affect students of color, multilingual learners, special education students, and those from low-income backgrounds during these key transitions.

Information Gaps

Schools depend on up to a dozen disparate data systems, which force educators to navigate multiple platforms while accessing information necessary to support student success. Too often, educators invest precious time in extracting data, merging data sets, and visualizing information. Schools and districts routinely experience inefficient and disconnected data systems, an overabundance of data without a clear plan on how to use it, and aggregate level access to data which is built mostly for compliance and lets individual students fall through the cracks. Ultimately, this results in persistent gaps and stagnant outcomes for students.

Structural Gaps

Connecticut, like many states, is hyperlocalized, presenting barriers to learning and collaboration across schools and districts. With just over 500,000 students spread across almost 200 districts, 83 of which serve fewer than 1,000 students each, schools and districts find themselves competing for limited resources and talent rather than working together to achieve common objectives. It is commonplace for innovation and proven practices to stay restricted within the invisible walls of district boundaries, thus preventing widespread adoption and learning that can impact students statewide. 1 Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Recovery. NSC Research Center, High School Benchmarks.



Our Approach

In response to these opportunity areas, RISE partners with schools and districts to: •

Invest in key student transitions;

Empower educators with the information and tools they need; and,

Facilitate network improvement communities to scale impact and learnings across schools and districts.

Promising Practices

Over the past eight years, RISE has partnered with diverse high schools to study the challenges students experience as they navigate transitions to and beyond high school. Through a continuous improvement process, schools examine their data, pinpoint needs, and pursue innovations. This has resulted in a number of promising practices to support on-track achievement and postsecondary success. Strategies such as on-track coaches, Grade 9 summer bridge programs, FAFSA task forces, on-track student conferences, summer melt texting campaigns, and more are now supporting thousands of students across dozens of schools.

Data Tools

To address common data challenges and promote equitable practice, RISE supports educators with secure, user-friendly, and action-oriented data tools. The RISE Data Hub, for example, provides educators with real-time data, allowing them to pursue personalized support for students. Working in partnership with teachers, counselors, and administrators, RISE has designed and refined a series of data tools that support and streamline educator workflow. We work to merge accessible and high-quality data with educators’ expertise and qualitative experiences to ensure students’ holistic strengths and needs are fully addressed.

Networked Improvement Communities

In addition to data and a focus on key student transitions, we believe we can amplify our individual and collective impact by working together to address shared challenges and goals. RISE facilitates networked improvement communities to build momentum around promising practices and data-driven approaches. RISE creates a platform for teachers, counselors, and administrators to come together across schools and districts to share learnings and harness the wisdom of educators doing similar work in different contexts. Through cross-school professional learning experiences and our open-source resources portal, we work to replicate and adapt what’s working in new places.



Introducing the RISE Data Hub We believe data access is imperative to advance our student impact and equity goals. Six years ago, RISE released Tableau-based data dashboards, providing educators with secure and real-time data to support their work with students. These tools generated new insights and visibility and supported a data-driven culture among RISE partners. Building on this momentum, educators began asking for new features and data tools. For example, educators wanted to be able to download lists and input notes or interventions. These needs prompted the RISE Data Team to pursue the next generation of custom-built data tools, and we launched the RISE Data Hub in fall 2022.

The Hub currently serves over 1,800 educators in 15 schools across eight districts.

Similar to past data tools, the Hub was envisioned and developed in close collaboration with educators. Grade 9 teams now use the Hub to identify students who might need additional support in specific areas to stay on-track toward graduation. Counselors access the Hub to understand students’ postsecondary plans and support their completion of key access milestones like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and applications. This powerful new data platform allows educators to: • Manage lists, tables, and charts across aggregate, classroom, and student levels • View integrated data from the SIS, Naviance, College Board, student surveys, and more • Leverage a pre-designed strategic data calendar to guide analysis and response • Download student profiles to guide on-track conferences and other interventions Use of the Hub and related strategies empowers educators to drive results, promoting on-track achievement and postsecondary success for all students. In just the past year, we have already seen record student success with double-digit gains in on-track and graduation rates!



The Hub just makes my job easier.

” What Educators are Saying “We used to work in spreadsheets and everyone had their own, and now everyone is in the Hub every day... It’s changed conversations with students.”

“Having access to the Hub just allows me to have more time to engage with the student and less time pulling the data. That’s valuable because every second counts.”

“Seeing our percentages go up this year — I think it’s just a testament to the tool.” “I was going to many different locations and then trying to bring all of that information together sometimes was cumbersome. It’s been very streamlined to use the Hub; it does make our work very effective and data-driven, which is very great.”

“Whether we’re looking at our Grade 9 students and their on-track status, our upperclassmen and their preparation for their postsecondary planning, the Hub has everything there. It helps us with not only tracking data and looking at the progress and the success of our students… It helps us to be proactive.”

Data shown is synthetic to protect student privacy.



RISE Network Partnerships: Strong and Growing During the 2015-16 school year, teachers, counselors, and administrators across Connecticut came together with Dalio Education to launch the RISE Network. Sharing the belief that we can do more to help all students achieve their full potential, RISE’s founding partners aspired to create a community built by educators, for educators to advance shared goals to improve students’ college, career, and life outcomes. Today, RISE’s core and most comprehensive network represents a collaboration between nine high schools and eight public school districts, reaching over 13,000 students. The majority of RISE high school students are students of color and/or from low-income backgrounds. Through our core network, we have piloted and scaled promising practices that have led to improved student outcomes. But the work doesn’t stop there! As we continue to strive for deeper impact in our core partner schools, we are also building on the momentum of our core network by scaling this approach in new communities. In recent years, we have expanded our existing partnerships in districts such as Hartford, Meriden, and Norwalk; partnered with the State on the Connecticut FAFSA Challenge; hosted our second annual Grade 9 Symposium with new partners from 36 schools and 19 districts; and launched a Freshman Focus Network to promote Grade 9 strategies beyond the core network.




CORE NETWORK Our core network of 9 high schools and 8 districts reaches over 13,000 students and serves as our most comprehensive and high-touch partnership model. These schools also serve as our innovation lab and demonstration sites.



SCALE PARTNERSHIPS During the 2022-23 school year, RISE engaged in various consulting partnerships with 40+ additional high schools. Through our scale partnerships, we work to expand our model and results in new communities

New Freshman Focus Network Yields Tangible Results The core network demonstrates the power of bringing educators together to scale our impact. We built on this momentum during the 2022-23 school year by launching the Freshman Focus Network (FFN), inviting new schools to partner with RISE and one another to strengthen the middle to high school transition. This past year, nine schools participated in the FFN. Rooted in RISE’s Grade 9 Conditions for Success, partners identified priority areas, engaged in monthly coaching, and participated in monthly cross-school collaboratives. New school partners benefited from the momentum underway in the core network. For example, participants visited Platt H.S. in Meriden, CT to learn about the Grade 9 structures that have supported double-digit gains across multiple indicators over the past seven years. Schools also engaged in cross-school learning through monthly sessions and the year-end summit. Pamela Otunnu, Director of Secondary Academic Access and Outcomes, Portland Public Schools in Portland, ME said the visit was “Amazing! Folks came out of it with real things to start trying right away.” As a result of Portland’s partnership in the FFN, they are planning to implement summer bridge programming, on-track meetings, and hire a Grade 9 counselor. “When district and school priorities are aligned, it moves things along,” said Otunnu. “Through the Network we have developed a shared understanding of the importance of Grade 9.”



Navigating the Transition to High School Recognizing that the middle to high school transition can generate new stressors, RISE core partners invite rising Grade 9 students to participate in free summer bridge programs at their schools. Bridge programs build excitement around the high school transition, positive connections between students and staff, and an awareness of the importance of on-track achievement. In alignment with our equity goals, educators use the RISE Data Hub to identify students who would most benefit from the transition support based on their middle school grades, attendance, and behavior. For example, at Brien McMahon H.S. (BMHS) in Norwalk, administrators use the Hub to identify vulnerable students and reach out with program materials, providing them with early access to this critical intervention before opening the summer bridge program up to the remainder of the incoming class. “We work closely with our two feeder middle schools to be very intentional in our summer bridge recruitment,” said Sharina Jimenez, RISE Senior On-Track Coach for BMHS. “We share the list of students who are considered the most vulnerable with school counselors to facilitate conversations with families and students about participating in our program. We are confident that the students who will benefit the most from the summer bridge experience will have access to it before it fills up.” Once enrolled, summer bridge programs help incoming students get excited about high school by giving them the opportunity to build critical relationships, sharpen skills, and familiarize themselves with routines and expectations. “The transition to the freshman year is one of the biggest transitions these kids will go through,” said Peter Rinaldi, Grade 9 assistant principal at RISE partner Westhill High School in Stamford. He explained that the two-week program aims to remove students’ anxieties about starting high school. “If we take that piece away and make them more comfortable, then the academics can take the forefront,” he said.


Scaling Proven Practices Across Networks As RISE strategies are proving to have a positive impact on our core network of schools, we are excited to continue this momentum as we scale such practices in more schools and districts. For example, RISE has expanded upon its existing partnership with Maloney and Platt high schools in Meriden to its three middle schools: Washington, Lincoln, and Edison. These schools are now pursuing datadriven strategies at the middle school level, particularly targeting students who need additional support, preparing them for success as they enter high school. RISE provides quarterly professional learning communities, monthly coaching, team lead training, school-based professional development sessions, and school visits to observe on-track conferences and provide feedback. By expanding the partnership to the middle school level, students are learning about the importance of on-track before they arrive at high school. “I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with RISE and promote the outstanding on-track culture initiatives that we both are passionate about,” says Pete Civitello, Supervisor of Data Integration and Postsecondary Planning for Meriden Public Schools. “Through this new initiative, we have the opportunity to establish an on-track and postsecondary mindset with our middle school students, which we feel will have a positive effect when they enter high school.”

I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with RISE and promote the outstanding on-track culture initiatives that we both are passionate about.



Staying On-Track in Grade 9 The journey toward graduation begins in Grade 9, and with this foundation, we support all students in continuing their forward momentum to stay on-track in Grades 10 through 12. One tried-and-true strategy for doing so is through quarterly on-track student conferences. During these conferences, students meet with a caring adult — which may be a teacher, administrator, or another staff member — to discuss their goals, strengths, and growth areas. Conversations are guided by questions and a summary of student data, including behavior, attendance, and grades, in each student’s RISE on-track report. Though concrete figures like grades and number of absences are reviewed during conferences, they also serve as an opportunity for adults to check in on students’ social and emotional well-being. “On-track conferences allow us to do a light touch wellness check on the students,” says Jamie Meurer, RISE Senior On-Track Coach for Hartford Public H.S. “Information gathered from certain students may lead to follow-up with their educators on a deeper level.”








Conferences serve as a checkpoint during each marking period, giving students a voice and helping them generate a plan of action. Following conferences, Grade 9 teams allocate time to review student responses to identify themes and make plans for the marking period ahead. On-track conferences began as a Grade 9 strategy, but the momentum quickly brought this structure to Grades 10 through 12 and to additional schools such as Weaver H.S., Bulkeley H.S., and Kinsella Magnet School in Hartford. Weaver’s Grade 9 team has incorporated conference questions soliciting student feedback, then developed a protocol to review student responses, identify themes, and consider implications based on these insights, such as finding more ways to recognize and celebrate students in the classroom.



At RISE, we embrace change ideas as a way to push for continuous improvement. Rather than simply replicating strategies year-over-year, we also study the data to identify improvement opportunities. RISE has developed our change protocol into four steps: Review, Identify, Spark, and Expand. change by pursuing a specific hypothesis and new innovation a specific problem and understand user experiences data and research to pinpoint high-leverage growth areas



student outcomes by refining and scaling promising practices



Change Ideas in Action: Extended Day Programming Extended Day Programming (EDP) offers additional support to students outside of regular class times, whether that be during lunch, study halls, after school, or on Saturdays. EDP has emerged as a high-impact program on a national level as it reaches many students and has been shown to positively improve student success outcomes and academic performance in meaningful ways.1,2 Given its importance and promise, RISE’s Freshman Success Team (FST) implemented network-wide EDP this past year as their key change idea, with the primary goals of capacity building and student engagement. To achieve these, our FST sought to establish extended day programs that meet at least once quarterly in each of our core network schools, with 50% or more of the invited students participating consistently. One particular success story is at Manchester H.S. (MHS), where the entire freshman class was invited to participate in EDP and nearly 50% attended one or more sessions. Language Arts teacher Kaitlyn Kennedy, who coordinates EDP at MHS, says that she and her team “are thoughtful about pausing after a session and reflecting on what went well and what we would do differently. This shows in our results, as we not only have a wide variety of kids participating, but also, many are coming back.”


The Value of Out of School Time Programs, the Rand Corporation.


Closing the Gap through Extended Learning Opportunities, National Education Association.




Working Toward Postsecondary Goals In core partner schools, RISE summer college and career readiness academies support students as they begin their senior year and prepare for the transition to college, career, and beyond. Through these programs, counselors provide students with one-on-one support in completing milestones, such as the Common App, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and financial planning so that students have a head start on the postsecondary planning process and can continue this momentum into their senior year. At Middletown H.S., attendance in this program has grown steadily and has shifted to focus on first-generation students who may benefit from differentiated support. RISE has coached educators on strategies including setting an enrollment goal of 20% of each senior class attending and ensuring that at least five specific postsecondary planning milestones have been achieved by each student upon completion of the program.

They gave me advice on what to do, and also how to do it. They walked us through the steps and made sure we knew they were there to help us.

Bobbi-Jo Wathen, College and Career Counselor at Middletown H.S., embraced these goals when designing their Summer Bootcamp. Instead of just five milestones, she challenged her counselors and students to work together to achieve eight. She also employed four English teachers to help students workshop their essays and added mini-sessions focusing on specific aspects of the Common App. In describing her Summer Bootcamp experience, Hannah, a rising Middletown H.S. senior, said, “The thing I was the happiest we did was going through all the Common App questions. At first, it was overwhelming and then they slowed it down, and then I saw that it was not too hard, just a lot of information.” Nick, a fellow senior, said that his Middletown Summer Bootcamp counselors helped him greatly. “They gave me advice on what to do, and also how to do it,” he said. “They walked us through the steps and made sure we knew they were there to help us.”


Using Data to Prepare

RISE partners work to begin the postsecondary planning process long before senior year. That way, students are motivated by their long-term goals and can spread out the overwhelming demands that are too often concentrated during senior year. For example, RISE partners now begin collecting students’ postsecondary plans in Grade 11. Starting in December of junior year, RISE administers student surveys, and data are added to the Hub. This information is used to guide Grade 11 data team meetings, during which counselors review student plans and develop spring programming, and summer academy coordinators target students who indicated their interest in enrolling in the program. Students also begin meeting with counselors to discuss their postsecondary plans and related requirements. Immediate access to data allows staff to be proactive in supporting students’ postsecondary goals and milestone completion. Strong survey completion is key in facilitating postsecondary supports across RISE high schools. RISE schools have increased the junior survey response rate from 68% in 2022 to 79% in 2023. RISE partner East Hartford H.S. (EHHS) achieved an impressive 98% junior survey completion rate this past year. According to EHHS Principal Matt Ryan, “Analyzing student voice results through RISE surveys is essential in improving the structures and systems of our post-secondary efforts to meet all student and family needs.” During the summer of 2023, all nine RISE core high schools hosted summer academies. To prepare, all summer academy coordinators came together at RISE this spring for cross-network learning and support. Using junior survey data and strategy boards, school teams reflected on postsecondary strategies and year-to-date postsecondary tracker data from the Hub, and set goals for how to support this year’s summer academies for rising Seniors.



Achieving Milestones in Grade 12 and Beyond The postsecondary planning process is daunting for most students. Not only are students making major decisions about their future, they also have to complete numerous postsecondary planning milestones on top of their coursework during senior year. This includes everything from applications to essays to the FAFSA to letters of recommendation to assessments. Prior to the RISE Data Hub, counselors lacked a way to track students’ postsecondary plans and the milestones necessary to pursue those plans. For example, students planning to enlist in the military need to meet with an enlistment office and take the ASVAB exam. Students planning to enter the workforce must prepare a resume and identify potential job opportunities. The Hub now provides counselors with data to provide personalized coaching for all of the students on their caseloads, and Grade 11 and 12 Data Teams use the data to monitor progress toward school goals. At Platt H.S. in Meriden, Principal Dan Corsetti and his team meet biweekly to review student data in the Hub. The team identifies next steps to ensure students in all pathways are completing their milestones to reach their postsecondary goals. This process begins with plan identification and includes several supporting milestones for each pathway. “As the Principal, I am always telling students and families that my job is to make sure they graduate with two things — a diploma and a solid plan for life after high school,” said Corsetti. “Grade 12 data meetings, with the assistance of the Data Hub, allow my team to remain focused on this goal. Our meetings provide a level of structure to enable actions that open doors of success for all of our students, regardless of their life goals.” An important milestone for many seniors is completing and submitting their applications for higher education. RISE works in partnership with schools on application campaigns, which encourage all students to apply to at least one college or program, providing them with guidance and clear and actionable steps to do so. Application campaigns aim to maximize the number of students who submit strong applications and access future opportunities. At the end of Grade 12, these campaigns culminate in Senior Signing Day events that celebrate students pursuing a diverse array of postsecondary pathways.


FAFSA Task Forces: From Change Idea to Changed Outcomes This past year, the RISE Postsecondary Success Team (PST) prioritized FAFSA completion as a focus area. Trends in our data had shown that far fewer students were completing the FAFSA to unlock resources making higher education more affordable and accessible, than those who had originally planned to do so. As an improvement network, PST leaned into this opportunity area and pursued the change idea of launching FAFSA task forces in all core network high schools. FAFSA task forces are teams of educators, counselors, and administrators who each take responsibility for a small caseload of seniors who have not yet completed the FAFSA. Task force members work with students and families to complete the application, and meet on a regular basis to review data, share practices, and troubleshoot challenges. By the end of the 2022-23 school year, because there was strong momentum among the few schools piloting this strategy, this change idea grew into a highly successful endeavor network-wide. The FAFSA completion rate among core network schools increased 7.6 points from 58% in July 2022 to 66% in July 2023. In fact, Maloney H.S. in Meriden achieved its highest end-of-school completion rate ever, with 74% of seniors completing the FAFSA before graduation!

80 2021-2022 Completion 2022-2023 Completion











44% 40










36% 32%

28% 25%

20 14%


8% 0











Supporting Educators through Collaborative Learning

RISE’s network-building activities are guided by the belief that we amplify our impact when we work together to address shared goals. Among our core network, RISE holds bi-annual convenings to spotlight accomplishments, evaluate the success of our efforts, and build upon this momentum to prepare commitments supporting students with their on-track and postsecondary goals. Our fall 2022 convening pushed participants to “level up” their practice, including through insights from a student panel. At our spring 2023 convening, the word of the day was “inspiration,” which came in many forms, including an impactful presentation by keynote speaker Dr. Manny Scott, videos of students speaking about influential educators at their schools, and hopeful student outcome data. Reaching beyond our core network schools, RISE creates a platform for educators to come together across districts and states to pursue shared goals and continuous improvement. This June, over 120 attendees from 36 schools across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York gathered for our second Grade 9 Summer Symposium. The Symposium focused on how schools can invest in Grade 9 on-track achievement as a key lever to improve high school graduation rates and postsecondary success. Highlights of this year’s event included an introduction to RISE’s Grade 9 Conditions for Success, an in-depth exploration into on-track data team meetings, and an educator panel followed by breakout sessions focusing on the various elements of a comprehensive Grade 9 strategy.


RISE on the National Stage As our cross-school collaborations continue to support meaningful learning and new innovations, we endeavor to share learnings and resources with educators locally and nationwide engaged in similar work in different contexts. This past year, RISE joined The GRAD Partnership to present a webinar focused on student success systems to a community of practice across the country. “The session with RISE was a master course in designing a high-quality network that does all of the things we want networked improvement to do – create environments where educators feel a sense of agency and move the needle for students,” says Kelly McMahon, Senior Associate, Evidence & Analytics for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. “I am grateful for RISE’s generosity in helping the field learn to get better together.” Later, RISE connected with a national community at the Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education to give a presentation on “Using Data to Pinpoint Inequities and Drive Improvements.” RISE has also shared learnings through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s national Network for School Improvement (NSI), leading an immersive session with NSI partners around strategies to facilitate equitable and data-driven networks. Finally, RISE partnered with the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN) — a branch of the Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research — to launch postsecondary planning strategies in the rural school districts with which NCRERN collaborates. This experience culminated with RISE presenting two professional learning experiences for districts in rural New York and Ohio. “Our RISE partners have been amazing to work with,” says Kellie Solowski, Senior Research Program Manager for NCRERN. “The training facilitated by RISE provided guidance to our program team and helped shape the support our districts received and will receive over the course of the school year.”




We are deeply grateful for our philanthropic supporters’ generosity and partnership as we work together to help all students achieve success. We appreciate their leadership and all that they do in service of Connecticut communities, students, and educators. The Andrews Family Foundation

Per & Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation


Lone Pine Foundation

The Connecticut Project

Sam Martin

Dalio Education

The Ritter Family Foundation

Andrew Ferguson

Town Fair Tire Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Member of RISE’s Funder’s Collaborative

With gratitude, we recognize the contributions of the current RISE Board of Directors, whose stewardship and steadfast commitment to student success guide us as we work collectively to advance our mission. BARBARA DALIO, CHAIR










Turning Resources into Results FY23 Support and Revenue

FY23 Operating Expenses














$91,280 $6,599,409



Investing in the Future We can do more for young people when we work as a team. Join us as we make a difference for thousands of students. Together, we can and will help all students realize and achieve their full potential.

Get involved: DONATE to RISE at, helping us increase our impact in support of students, educators, and public high schools in Connecticut and beyond.

EXPLORE our resource portal at, where you can access actionable ideas and tools for improving student engagement, on-track achievement, and postsecondary outcomes.

CONNECT with us by signing up for our quarterly newsletter at and by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter @ctrisenetwork to stay up to date on our latest news, photos, and videos.


[My On-Track Coach] helps me with my grades, she builds me up and gets me back on track. She supports me through my hardest periods. — MICHELLE, GRADE 9, EAST HARTFORD H.S.

Hearing Directly from Students At the very heart of the RISE Network, driving all of the work that we do, is our strong commitment to excellent and equitable student experiences. Our strategies are meant to empower students, giving them the tools and confidence they need to chart a path for success. RISE students inspire us every day with their determination to achieve their goals, and their resolve and enthusiasm only make our community stronger. Looking back on the past year, our students reflect on their experiences and the connections made through the RISE Network.

I will be attending UCONN in the Fall, majoring in Chemistry, and following the Pre-med pathway. To help form my postsecondary plan, I took advantage of many activities, including Summer Academy, FAFSA workshops, Why Apply Day, and Senior Signing Day. — EDRIK, GRADE 12 PLATT H.S., 2023 VALEDICTORIAN



“ “

[At Senior Signing Day] we really finalize our plans; once you say it and share it with your peers you really start to put it into action. I’m so excited for graduation and look forward to starting the next chapter. — ANISHA, GRADE 12 MIDDLETOWN H.S.

The advice I would give an incoming ninth grader is to use the resources around you. Every year gets more challenging, but I feel like if I keep using my resources and my On-Track Coach to help me, then I’ll be fine.


The jumpstart [summer bridge] program helped me become more familiar with high school so that when I came back in September, I wasn’t as nervous as I was before. — ALENIZ, GRADE 9 MANCHESTER H.S.

I will be attending Yale University in the Fall and I am interested in Engineering and Computer Science. I attended Summer College Prep Academy, which was very helpful as a first-generation college student. It was great to get a head start before the school year started. — PEIQI (MAGGIE), GRADE 12 MALONEY H.S.







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