Tagged “Motivation”

Strong Policy and Community Collaboration Speak Volumes

Grand Forks, N.Dak.

A four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, Grand Forks, N.Dak., strives to evoke positive action through strong policies and community collaboration.

Practices like the Grand Forks Youth Commission, composed of students from middle and high schools who express their voice about community issues; the PASS and Interventions programs, which use innovative approaches to assist in responding to student challenges; and the Grand Forks Helping Hands Summer Camp, which helps young people understand the importance of volunteerism as they provide opportunities for a wide range of children, are all positive change agents that will continue to promote leadership and service among all generations.

Enriching Young People From Elementary Through College

Kalamazoo, Mich.

Kalamazoo, Mich., is an exemplary community hub for young people and a two-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

Focused on providing resources for youth in elementary school through college, the community has created enriching opportunities that will continue to foster youths' academic and nonacademic potential. The dedication is shown through community-wide programs, like the Kalamazoo Youth Development Network that has linked 82 agencies together to ensure that a wide variety of services are available to youth. For every graduate of the Kalamazoo Public Schools, the Kalamazoo Promise guarantees free college tuition at public colleges and universities in Michigan (if requirements are met). Over $17 million has been invested by donors to provide more than 1,500 students with post-secondary education.

Putting Youth Dialogue Front and Center

Barnstable County, Mass.

Barnstable County, Mass., a four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, has set the stage for youth dialogue in its community.

A variety of innovative partnerships have helped promote this dialogue, thanks to the Barnstable County Council for Children, Youth, and Families. These include

  • The Cape and Islands Youth Congress, a diverse group of high school students who encourage their peers to step up to challenges and be positive agents of change.
  • The Cape Youth Force, which enables youth participants to become involved in the grant-making process.
  • The Cape and Islands Gay-Straight Youth Alliance, a youth-led group that networks with fellow youth organizations across Cape Cod.

Barnstable County is definitely doing its part in promoting the value of youth engagement.

Promoting Community Engagement through Youth Involvment

Honolulu, Hawaii

Ranked as one of the best places to live, Honolulu, Hawaii, is fully committed to serving its youth population. The city hosts programs such as YouthBuild Honolulu, a project aimed at motivating young and expectant parents to become self-sufficient, and 21st Century Ahupua'a Ambassadors Program, an initiative that encourages students to learn and be proactive about creating a sustainable environment.

The city provides local government support for the Keiki (Child) Caucus, a partnership focused on identifying and recommending legislation about issues that affect youth and their families. These programs are specific examples of inspiring practices Honolulu is using to spread the importance of community engagement among a wide range of individuals and speaks to why the city is a three-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

Reflective Learning Creates Mecca for Success

Robert M. Finley Middle School, Glen Cove, N.Y.

Robert M. Finley Middle School has become the spotlight of Glen Cove, N.Y., culminating in recognition as a 2011 Breakthrough School by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

At Finley Middle School, Principal Anael Alston has helped transform the once poor environment into a center for success. Determined to celebrate diversity and increase achievement through building community, Finley Middle School is committed to investing in the human capital already in the building: its students. The reflective learning initiative, standardized schoolwide notebook system, and project-based learning practices have helped foster among the students a love for learning and drive to succeed.

Priority School Makes Comeback as Breakthrough School

North Brunswick High School, Leland, N.C.

Deemed a "priority school" by the state four years ago, North Brunswick High School in Leland, N.C., has made incredible strides in breaking the cycle of low student performance, culminating in the receipt of a 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Principal Sheila Grady has helped promote the expansion of instructional leadership, the creation of professional learning communities, and the use of formative assessments and bridge courses to close the achievement gap at the school. Success has come through the school's inspiring dedication to leadership—more than half of the teachers at the high school serve in leadership roles. In 2010, the school's proficiency rate increased to 85 percent from 48 percent, a true testament to the dedication to student achievement at North Brunswick High School.

Motivation Is Key

Smokey Road Middle School, Newnan, Ga.

Motivation is key at Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan, Ga., a recipient of the 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

After previous instability, Principal Laurie Barron stepped in and placed a priority on finding a common mission, collaborative leadership, and a continued focus on academic improvement. Committed to making the school a place where students could flourish both in and out of the classroom, the school also partners with local businesses to recognize and reward students and celebrate their academic and nonacademic talents. For the last five years, Smokey Road Middle School has met its adequate yearly progress goals to qualify as a Title I Distinguished School.

Breaking Ranks in the Middle Tenets Inspire Foundation of Georgia School

Haymon-Morris Middle School, Winder, Ga.

When Principal Sheila Kahrs, named a 2010 National Middle Level Principal of the Year by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, opened Haymon-Morris Middle School in Winder, Ga., she knew that the foundation of the school would be built on three tenets of Breaking Ranks in the Middle: collaborative leadership, curriculum instruction and assessment, and personalized learning environments for students and teachers.

Since the school's opening, the staff has worked with these tenets to help students succeed at all costs, and it's paying off. Across 6th through 8th grades, 95 percent of students meet or exceed the state's standards in English and language arts, while 80 percent do the same in math. Founded on the vision, "Where caring, patience, and consistency inspire excellence," this 2011 Breakthrough School, as named by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, will continue to inspire.

Collaborative Atmosphere Encourages Student Success

M. O. Ramay Junior High School, Fayetteville, Ark.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T is what M. O. Ramay Junior High School in Fayetteville, Ark., is all about. Focused on academic growth, Principal Matt Saferite heavily prioritizes creating a collaborative atmosphere where teachers and students feel safe, appreciated, and valued. With more than 50 percent of the students coming from low-income homes, Ramay Junior High School understands that it's important to cater not only to the students' academic needs, but also to their basic needs.

After failing to make adequate yearly progress in 2006, Ramay Junior High School is proud to have met its goals for the past four years, and the achievement gap is continuing to close. Awarded the 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, it's clear that compassion truly breeds success at Ramay Junior High School.

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