Inver Grove Heights Schools was recently accepted to the Lead Higher Initiative, a national effort spearheaded by the non-profit Equal Opportunity Schools, in collaboration with International Baccalaureate and the College Board and in support of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative launched by former President Barack Obama. Lead Higher is also backed by generous contributions from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Tableau, and Google.
As a member of the second Lead Higher cohort, ISD 199’s schools will receive match-funded technical assistance from Equal Opportunity Schools to join the fewer than one percent of diverse schools in the country to close participation gaps in AP and IB programs. Inver Grove Heights Schools joins partners from 26 states across the country who have committed to fully reflect the diversity of their student body in their most rigorous K-12 courses, including New York City Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, Madison Metropolitan School District, and Pasco County Schools.
“ISD 199 is dedicated to its mission: ‘Inspire. Innovate. Excel. A Community Commitment,’ and being accepted into the Lead Higher Initiative will help staff further make the mission a reality for every student,” Inver Grove Heights Schools Superintendent, Dave Bernhardson, said. “Our district focuses on making more opportunities available to challenge all students to prepare them for success in college and career, and this initiative will provide us more support to do so.”
Lead Higher seeks to enable secondary schools to fully reflect their racial and economic diversity at the highest academic levels in K-12 education and to elevate the national conversation about low-income students and students of color beyond achieving proficiency to a focus on academic excellence. To accomplish these goals, Lead Higher and its school partners will transition 100,000 low-income students and students-of-color into a successful Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate experience and, in so doing, enable a fivefold increase in the number of schools nationally reflecting student diversity in those programs by 2019.
Equal Opportunity Schools has partnered with more than 350 high schools across the nation to provide the opportunity for over 33,000 more students to succeed in rigorous high school courses. “By building on their best academic programs and the systems already in place, selected schools will implement what are among the highest impact strategies for boosting college readiness while narrowing the achievement gap,” EOS Founder & CEO, Reid Saaris, said.
Substantial research indicates students receive a number of benefits and significantly boost their chances of completing college if successful in just one AP or IB course in high school.
Out of more than 650 schools considered for Lead Higher, ISD 199’s schools are among the 120 new schools selected for participation in 2017-18. Through a year-long partnership, EOS will support schools by providing field-leading data analysis to measure student- and school-specific causes of participation gaps, develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing those causes, and by fall 2018, transition all of the historically underrepresented students who have been identified as likely to benefit from AP or IB into one of these course opportunities. Once there, students will benefit from plans EOS and the schools develop to ensure their success.
About Equal Opportunity Schools
Equal Opportunity Schools is a national non-profit organization operating in 26 states to provide technical assistance, research, and coaching to school system leaders to help them ensure that students of every background are consistently matched with high school classes that prepare them for college.