Community Priorities and Recommendations

PRIORITY: Creation of early warning and intervention systems, development of a centralized resource and referral intermediary, and data sharing among community stakeholders.

Community recommendations

  1. Create an early-warning system with a process to provide interventions for potential dropouts in a coordinated manner.
  2. Complete an inventory of existing learning support services available to young adults, parents and service providers—with that inventory to be coordinated by and made available through a recognized, single source; updated at least annually and provided to the public via multiple venues (My Space, Facebook, 211, etc.).
  3. Ensure development of a data system that is relational and aligned, to include agreed-upon definitions and measurement so that data are valid, reliable and useful for making strategic decisions regarding the effectiveness of intervention and prevention efforts for youth and young adults. Data will be collected annually, or more often as circumstances warrant.

PRIORITY: Community involvement in development of multiple pathways to high school graduation—to include youth, business and youth-serving organizations.

Community recommendations

  1. Explore and promote educational pathways that provide smaller—and more welcoming—learning environments and career education, with multiple entry points (elementary, middle and high school options). Examples: Twilight school options, "schools of choice," accelerated credit recovery centers.
  2. Create a regional reengagement strategy for youth who have disengaged—to include outreach, assessments and data to make recommendations and coordinate support services that encourage high school graduation or GED completion.
  3. Utilize technology to offer online and correspondence courses, as well as competency testing to expand opportunities for students to earn credits toward graduation.
    4. Develop comprehensive infrastructure of after-school and extended-day programs at every school, particularly focusing on transition grades 6 and 9.

PRIORITY: Coordinate efforts to align education (K-16) and community service providers with Central Iowa Works.

Community recommendations

  1. Develop memos of understanding with local businesses and the Greater Des Moines Partnership in order to provide job shadowing, mentoring and employment opportunities for youth—and for youth providers to reciprocate by communicating the perspective and needs of regional employers.
  2. Highlight "best practices" for the business community to learn about local, state and national models of education and business partnerships.
  3. Update the "Work-Based Learning Guide" for employers and promote it to increase work-based learning opportunities for youth.

PRIORITY: Create public awareness of the dropout crisis and the need for intervention.

Community recommendation
Create a public awareness/marketing plan that includes priorities, messages, timeline and budget.

PRIORITY: Involve school and community leadership with policy and reform that promotes and develops multiple pathways to high school graduation for our young people.

Community recommendations
Advocate for and articulate messages to include:

  • targeted funding to address the need for supportive services, including youth employment
  • help with immigration issues
  • coordination of services among local, state and federal initiatives
  • engaging the business community in education reform and pathway development
  • sustained involvement of leadership group to use a "scorecard" that measures progress with the goals and priorities of this Blueprint for Success