Ninth Grade Counts Update
Do you remember the summer before you started high school? What interests, questions or anxieties filled your mind? A collaborative effort of dozens of partners worked this summer to help answer those questions and get students ready for high school success. The initiative, called Ninth Grade Counts is part of the All Hands Raised Partnership, a local effort to improve educational outcomes for all children and youth living in Multnomah County. Now in its 7th summer, Ninth Grade Counts is one of five Collaborative Action Teams of the All Hands Raised Partnership and has the explicit goal of raising graduation rates among students who are most likely to drop out.
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 the 2015 Ninth Grade Counts partner programs and Oregon Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA service members gathered at the Native American Youth and Family Center to celebrate the successes of the summer and reflect on areas of potential improvement. Since 2009, Ninth Grade Counts partners have collectively leveraged and shared $2.5M worth of in-kind resources in their programs, including TriMet passes; Schoolhouse Supplies Free Store for Teachers supplies; AmeriCorps VISTA service members through Oregon Campus Compact; Marylhurst Master of Arts in Teaching student volunteers. In addition, many other partners provide key in-kind workshops and day trips, including OMSI, the Multnomah County Library, Set Up Skate and the Oregon Alliance of Private Colleges.
During the Ninth Grade Counts Celebration and Debrief, this Team of non-profit organizations, schools and other community partners reflected the value of collective impact by sharing their successes this summer:
- Programs improved student retention through bilingual staff, outreach methods like letters and phone calls home and through collaboration between counselors, outside agencies and district representatives.
- The requirements to gain 0.5 elective credit are standardized across school districts and will benefit the student participants by giving them a head start in high school.
- Programs enjoyed taking their students on field trips like a trip to an indoor soccer field, a visit to the Sellwood Bridge construction sight, OMSI, the Zoo, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, Set Up Skate workshops, swimming classes and Next Adventure kayaking.
- AmeriCorps members built strong relationships with students and added capacity to the programs they served.
Next steps towards improving Ninth Grade Counts and its impact on students include further streamlining the credit process as well as the developing ways to further prepare AmeriCorps VISTA service members for their term. In order to embrace the significance of continuous improvement around data, data provided from partner programs to All Hands Raised will be analyzed through a generous donation from Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) and the University of Portland (UP). Over the next few months these data partners will help bring to light the outcomes of Ninth Grade Counts participants. Results from this data analysis will be published this fall.
All Hands Raised would like to thank sponsors AT&T and US Bank for helping make our role in Ninth Grade Counts possible.
For more information, see our Ninth Grade Counts page here or check out an overview of the summer through the eyes of social media here. Contact Helen Scalise at 503-234-5404 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or get involved.