Northfield, MN,
00:00 AM

Grad Rates on the Rise

“It takes a village to raise children.” How many times does one hear that phrase in a lifetime? Imagine raising a successful individual without the support of friends, family and acquaintances along the way to offer their advice and expertise. Think about it for a minute. Northfield, Minnesota figured out just how important caring adults can be in the lives of youth, so they set up Northfield Promise, a Healthy Community Initiative (HCI).

Through this effort, the group has pulled together resources to support Americorps Promise Fellows in the schools, coordinate a citywide after-school network, offer scholarships to low-income youth to participate in sports, and provide mini-grants for youth-designed community engagement initiatives. Since 1993, they have been strengths-based in their approach; seeking partners who see possibilities, and are similarly committed to data and outcomes, all of which has resulted in a history of success in securing funding.

And their success shows. Persistence and a positive approach have helped the district improve its graduation rates, and serve as a role model for other areas of the state.

Leslie V. was lucky enough to be a product of this success. Leslie heard about the program from her fifth grade teacher. She had been a part of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and felt her involvement in Northfield’s Promise would help her give back and help others in similar situations.

Leslie shared, “Volunteering with Northfield Promise allows me to broaden my leadership skills by learning from our community leaders. I look up to other members of the Reading Team and have learned so much from them already. Northfield Promise has also given me the opportunity to be a role model for younger kids.”

Northfield is just one area of the state that is working toward increasing high school graduation rates and collaborates closely with Minnesota Alliance with Youth to share best practices and learn how the state and nation as a whole can help more young people complete their high school education. As time goes on, graduation rates for students of all backgrounds and ethnicities has been increasing and a goal of 90% by 2020 has been set.

“In Minnesota, we share a common vision of success for our youth; one in which all youth are highly connected to their communities, have hope for a brighter future, and are able to fulfill their dreams,” shared President/CEO of Minnesota Alliance with Youth Sarah Dixon. “We know that by 2020 74% of all jobs will require a high school diploma or more, and we are committed to ensuring that graduation and employment success is achievable for every youth in our great state!”