Over half of rural high school graduates in Washington State do not pursue any type of postsecondary education in the year following graduation, greatly reducing future career opportunities.
In an effort to change the trajectory and create better outcomes for those graduates, Innovia launched a two-year initiative to strengthen school-community connections in five rural school districts: Dayton, St. John Endicott, Lind-Ritzville, Riverside and Inchelium.
Funded by a grant from College Spark Foundation, Innovia is engaging with local stakeholders to lay out the type of supports they believe are needed in their community to help students be successful. A series of virtual forums were held in spring 2020. In fall 2021, Innovia hosted a series of ‘data walk’ sessions where participants could learn and share more about their community challenges and student goals for college and career.
At the data walks, colorful posterboards illustrated the connection between local education trends, such as high school graduation rates, with demographic data from the five local school districts. The data walks offered each community fresh insight into the unique challenges and opportunities for their students.
“Data opens eyes,” says Meg Lindsay, Director of Education Programs at Innovia. “It helps a community discover places where they can engage to provide students with a full range of supports to encourage their success.”
"Data opens eyes," says Meg Lindsay, Director of Education Programs at Innovia.
The third forum taking place in spring 2022 will serve as a kick-off event to bolster community and school district engagement around a community driven and supported promise scholarship program.