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Leading Boldly with School is Cool

Progressive Programming From Grantees

Second quarter data from 16 Community Foundation pilot programs in local schools shows a huge improvement in math and reading comprehension of struggling middle school students. On average, more than 51% of the targeted “D” and “F” students improved their performance in math and 62% improved their reading skills compared to first quarter results.   

The alternative learning programs are part of the Foundation’s School is Cool Initiative, which seeks to raise high school graduation rates to 90% through middle school success. The data was released at a recent grantee meeting at the Foundation. The meetings are designed to share what principals and their nonprofit pilot partners are learning. Presenters outlined School is Cool program innovations that incorporate:
  • Data-driven decision-making STEM projects
  • Tailored mentorship programs
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Inspirational tours of colleges
  • Real-world experiences, such as shark-tagging adventures
  • Parent involvement dinners and events
Progressive elements such as these helped School is Cool programs achieve a 96% retention rate among the 1,261 actively enrolled youths in the programs.  Between the first and second Quarter, 39% students improved their grade or maintained a “B” or higher in math, and 49% in reading.

Sheri Brown, Foundation VP of Grants and Initiatives, said results like these show the promise of trailblazing partnerships between nonprofits and schools that can start as trials and then be scaled up through reproduction. 

“It is not about serving 200 or 300 kids, it’s about targeting kids to apply those School is Cool principles,” explains Brown, “if I do this with one student, will I get a good result?  And if yes, I need to replicate it.”
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Broward County Inspiring Philanthropy over 25 years