Why We Collaborate

Unrealized Potential

Through the RISE Network, teachers, counselors, and administrators collaborate across schools and districts to ensure Connecticut high school 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 low-income students, Black/Latino students, 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.

Critical Moments

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.

Improvement at Scale

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.