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ALFA stands for Accelerating Literacy For Adolescents. ALFA is a reading enrichment program for freshman students who enter high school with a reading proficiency that is significantly below grade level standards. ALFA offers opportunities for these students to work in small groups with support to boost their motivation to read, frequency of reading, and reading and writing achievement.


The goal of the GradNation campaign is to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by the Class of 2020 and put millions more young people on the path to adult success.

The GradNation campaign brings focus and energy, research and best practices, national attention and a broad coalition to the graduation challenge. For those working to increase high school graduation rates, GradNation provides data, insight and analysis; information about effective and promising practices; plus opportunities to connect and learn from one another.


Redesigning High Schools to Support their Communities in the 21st Century

The Cross State High School Redesign Collaborative (CSHSC) was established in 2017 and is a joint effort of seven participating states, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio supported by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and Civic Enterprises.

The CSHSC’s goal is to use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to enable struggling high schools in high-needs communities to reinvent themselves and become institutions that propel adolescents to adult success in their communities in the 21st century.

The participating states and partners are co-developing a seven-stage high school redesign process with supportive tools and practices. Plans begin with conducting needs assessment and community input to evidence-based redesign, participating in a network of similar high schools going through redesign, being supported by proven technical assistance providers and capacity builders, and committing to use a common set of on-track school success metrics.

Engaging Families for High School Success

Districts and schools across the country have begun paying attention to the importance of monitoring students’ attendance, behavior, and course performance, particularly during the crucial  9th grade year, so that timely interventions could occur to keep students on-track to high school success.  But they had not paid as much attention to improving schools’ family engagement efforts during the critical high school transition. This project sought to address this key challenge. 

In this project, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (R305H150081), we worked with district and school leaders in Seattle Public Schools in a continuous improvement effort to help schools to increase and improve their family engagement efforts during 8th and 9th grade. The project website houses family engagement resources developed during the project for district leaders, school teams, and families.  The website can be accessed by following this link

Engaging High School Students in Academic Work

The first step in leading students to learn the academic content for which both students and teachers are held accountable is to ENGAGE them in the learning process. This is a real challenge, particularly for adolescents who have not experienced academic success in the past. In this project, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (R305A150449), we worked with high school teachers to create a professional development series that could provide teachers with strategies and tools to more effectively engage their students in learning. 

After two years of development work, we conducted a quasi-experimental pilot study to test the extent to which participation in the PD sessions led to changes in teacher beliefs and attitudes, student perceptions of their classrooms, and student academic performance. 

The project website houses the professional development resources we created: a general 10- session series, a 6-session Mathematics series, and several other PD session modules for other core subject areas (English, History, and Science). Materials also include facilitator guides and associated activity resources for use during the sessions. The website also includes other resources for teachers as they seek to engage students more effectively.  Resources are provided in editable form so that they can be adapted for local contexts.  The website can be accessed by following this link.


The intent of Pathways to Adult Success (PAS) work is to better the future for America’s youth through education, and contribute to a stronger foundation for the American economy and community life. PAS is a system to help schools and communities provide the support middle and high school students need to graduate and then succeed in postsecondary learning of some type toward a bachelor’s or associate degree, industry certification, or other meaningful career training.

The vision of PAS is for schools, their systems and communities to enable all youth, regardless of their needs, circumstances, place of residence, and prior experiences, to obtain the competencies needed to persist and complete secondary schooling and a post-secondary pathway that leads to a family-supporting wage and adult success.