Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

Strengthening Hawaii's Communities
Guiding Middle School Success

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Of the 37,000 Hawaii students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades, over 6,000 will not graduate from high school on time if there is no intervention. Connecting for Success (CFS) is a program that identifies, tracks and provides services to cohorts of struggling middle school students to increase their connection to school and to improve their attendance and academic performance. CFS's goal is to increase the likelihood that middle school students will transition to and complete 9th grade, putting them on path to graduate from high school and preparing them for success in college, a career and in the community.

Research shows that when students are more connected to their school, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and more likely to improve their attendance and academic performance. Connecting for Success is a program that identifies, tracks and provides services to struggling middle school students to increase their connection to school and improve their attendance and academic performance.

The Hawaii Community Foundation and 14 funders and donors joined together to award grants to 10 public middle schools and their community partners. Grantees have developed practices that increase students’ connections to school, reaching approximately 1,500 high-need middle school students. Connecting for Success grantees use real-time data from the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) Early Warning System to identify struggling students based on their attendance, behavior and course grades.

Through a Community of Learners model, participating schools and their community partners regularly share lessons learned, promising practices, progress, challenges, and achievements. Additionally, grantees have funded opportunities to participate in webinars, seminars and conferences. Strategies identified through this process will be evaluated for replication across the DOE’s statewide school system.

Eary Results Include:

  • For English, Ds dropped from 32% to 22%, and As and Bs rose from 26% to 40%.
  • For Math, Ds and Fs dropped from 44% to 30%, and As and Bs rose from 21% to 35%.
  • In Fall 2015, 99% of CFS cohort students started 9th grade on time and 93% started 10th grade on time (this is better than the Hawai‘i Department of Education's overall 9th and 10th grade promotion rates for the same year).

 More results data will be shared as it becomes available in early 2018.

As part of our efforts to guide middle school success, HCF has partnered with the Hawaii Department of Education and the Association of Middle Level Education (AMLE) to bring the AMLE Middle Grades Summit to Hawaii February 2-3, 2018. More information can be found at amle.org

Connecting for Success is part of HCF’s Pathways to Resilient Communities Initiative. This initiative builds on the successful model of a previous funders collaborative, Hawaii Community Stabilization Initiative, which leveraged $4 million from 12 funders to help families and individuals access more than $23 million in services and benefits during the Great Recession in 2008. Pathways to Resilient Communities is a $12 million initiative supported by 15 funders focused on helping vulnerable populations in three areas – helping kupuna in need, families facing homelessness and high-need middle school students.