Why We Collaborate

Opportunity Gaps

Through the RISE Network, teachers, counselors, and administrators collaborate across schools and districts to ensure students graduate college and career ready.

Connecticut’s youth are joining an economy that demands skilled workers and critical thinkers. By 2025, 70% of jobs in Connecticut will require education beyond high school.

As a state, we are not prepared to meet these demands, and persistent opportunity gaps disadvantage Black and Latine students, multilingual learners, students from low-income backgrounds, and students with special needs.

While the vast majority of students and their families aspire to a college degree, far too few students achieve their dreams of a higher education. In Connecticut, 25% of low-income students do not graduate from high school within four years. Only one in four low-income high school graduates in Connecticut will earn a post-secondary degree within six years of graduating from high school, compared to more than half of their more affluent peers.

We know that high school is a pivotal time for all students, particularly the key moments of transition that have outsized impact on a student’s future.

The gaps between student aspirations and attainment often become most striking when students enter freshman year and prepare to transition beyond high school. In Connecticut’s high-need districts students struggle with:

  • Low freshman on-track promotion rates:
    23% of freshmen do not earn enough credits to promote on time to sophomore year.
  • Lack of college- and career-ready coursework:
    42% of juniors and seniors do not access college-ready courses during high school.
  • Limited college readiness:
    80% of juniors and seniors do not meet Connecticut’s college-readiness benchmark.

RISE schools work together to help all students successfully navigate the middle to high school transition and graduate from high school ready for post-secondary success. Learn more about our approach to address these opportunity gaps.

Structural Gaps

Connecticut is a relatively small state with just over 500,000 students; however, our schools are spread across 200+ districts. This fractured public education landscape creates resource constraints and barriers to much-needed collaboration and idea sharing. Though schools and districts are wrestling with very similar questions and complex challenges, we often lack a vehicle for results-driven and purposeful collaboration.

Top-down mandates and policy shifts are unlikely to create the outcomes we seek for all students; we must invest in school communities to create lasting improvements.

RISE is committed to facilitating an impactful learning community across schools and districts, allowing network partners to amplify their individual and collective impact on behalf of students. We believe that those closest to the work and challenges—students, educators, and families—are also closest to the solutions. By empowering school communities to improve, we invest in a cycle of lasting and scalable impact. Learn more about our approach to address these structural gaps.

Information Gaps

Data can serve as a powerful tool to understand unique student strengths and needs, promoting equitable support and improved student outcomes. However, too often, data are used exclusively for compliance and high-stakes accountability as opposed to learning and improvement. While educators are asked to differentiate their practice to meet individual student needs, they often lack actionable and timely data necessary to advance student achievement.  

In many communities, districts rely on up to a dozen different and disconnected information systems, requiring educators to log into multiple platforms to access holistic information about student and school performance. Educators must then engage in time-consuming processes to clean data, join data sets, and visualize information. Schools need better information systems to empower educators with high-quality and secure data to support student success. Learn more about our approach to address these information gaps.