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Transformational Organization Spotlight: College Success Coalition

  The College Success Coalition (CSC), is a network of organizations powered by the American Student Achievement Institute that combine to improve student performance across the state of Indiana. This statewide network implements activities that are designed to prepare young people to take the necessary steps for college entrance and success. Within only the first three years of this program, seventy-two counties joined the CSC. The remaining twenty counties are expected to join by the end of 2015. The two main goals of CSC are to: increase percentage of students who enter college the Fall after high-school graduation; and increase percentage of students who earn a college degree within the first four years of postsecondary schooling. Member organizations of the

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Federal Program Spotlight: Every Kid in a Park

The Every Kid in a Park initiative, launched by President Obama, was created with the hope that all children get the opportunity to visit and explore the outdoors. Beginning in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive an “Every Kid in a Park,” pass that is good for a free family-admission pass to every national park for one full year. With children spending less and less time outside, and more time indoors in front of a television screen, the Every Kid in a Park initiative was designed to help get kids out and moving while experiencing the natural beauty of America. The program will help families and schools arrange field trips and cover transportation costs. To help pay for

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Bringing TEDx to an Afterschool Program

  Randy Wallock, a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, stumbled upon TEDx when trying to replace his school’s previous afterschool enrichment program. Inspired by TEDx and with an idea to enhance the afterschool program, Wallock applied for and received a license in the fall of 2012 to include a TEDx program in the afterschool program. Wallock recruited teachers from various disciplines, such as special education, forensics, and technology to help coach the students. Once a week for two or more hours, the TEDx group met to discuss projects and brainstorm more ideas. At the end of the school year each student got up and delivered a 10-minute presentation, without the use of notes, in front of a 100 peers. Wallock

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Federal Program Spotlight: Amber Alert

  This post is part of Transform Consulting Group’s blog series highlighting federal programs that provide education opportunities and/or youth development services in communities. The U.S. Department of Justice AMBER Alert program was instituted in 1996 as an early warning system designed to help find and return abducted children. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children under 18 were reported missing in 1999. Fifteen years later in 2014, there were 466,949 missing children in the FBI’s National Crime information Center (NCIC). As of March 2015, the AMBER Alert program has recovered 745 children, and hopes to continue reuniting US families. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize an entire community to assist in

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New Preschool in America Report Released

  The U.S. Department of Education released a new report, A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America, which highlights the current state of early childhood education programs in America and the parity gaps for specific populations. Some of the key highlights in the report include the following: Six out of every ten children are not enrolled in a publicly funded preschool programs. Despite the fact that Latinos are the fastest growing minority group in the United States, having nearly a quarter of 3-4-year olds, they have the lowest preschool participation rate of 40%. In comparison, 50% of African American children are participating in preschool programs, and 53% of white children. Socioeconomically, children from low-income families are participating in preschool programs

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Preschool for All

  The expansion of preschool has been a hot topic over the past year as debates on quality education heat up and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is being reauthorized. Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education, announced on the 50th anniversary of ESEA that there should be new laws to ensure strong opportunities for all students including children ages 0-5.  The latest version of the ESEA was the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Secretary Duncan’s vision for the new ESEA includes aligning preschool to K-12 and advocating for strong preschool programs across the nation, know as the “Preschool for All” plan. “By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool. That

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English Learner Guidance

The U.S. Departments of Education (DOE) and Justice (DOJ) recently released guidance documents reaffirming the obligation under federal law that public schools must ensure English learner students have equal access to high-quality education. This comes on the 40th anniversary of the landmark case Lau v. Nichols that gave rise to the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) which prohibits discrimination in schools so all students have the opportunity to succeed. The goal is for all students, regardless of their language background or English proficiency, to have the opportunity to reach their full academic potential. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the EEOA, public schools must ensure that English learner students can participate equally in educational programs.

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Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps Funding Available

  The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have partnered to create the Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps funding opportunity. AmeriCorps grants are awarded to eligible organizations to recruit, train, and manage AmeriCorps members during a defined term of service. This AmeriCorps funding opportunity provides grants to programs that help youth who have been adjudicated in the juvenile justice system, convicted in the criminal justice system, or identified as “at-risk” for incarceration, to serve as AmeriCorps members. Youth will have the chance to participate in a national service program and receive meaningful mentoring while they serve. Public or private nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, local or state governments, veterans’ service

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National Volunteer Week is Next Week!

  April 12-18th is National Volunteer Week, a week dedicated to encouraging individuals to find creative ways to give back to their communities. By uniting to serve the community, participants demonstrate that working together can accomplish goals and challenges, and encourage a culture of philanthropy. National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 as a program of Points of Light, an organization dedicated to volunteer service that helps to mobilize millions of people to solve problems, increase impact, and create a philanthropic culture. Potential volunteers can connect with opportunities in their area, or even find an opportunity abroad through many different projects. Visit Points of Light Hands On Action center, to connect with over 250 Volunteer Action Centers and pick an

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Investing in Innovation Fund

  The U.S. Department of Education has released the latest information regarding the 2015 Innovative Fund (i3) Development Grants. The Investing in Innovation Fund was established in 2009 with the goal of supporting local educational agencies and nonprofit organizations in partnership with educational agencies. All programs applying for the grants must have the goal of improving student achievement and attainment, including expanding practices that improve student growth and achievement. Programs must have a demonstrated impact on closing achievement gaps, increasing high school graduation rates, increasing college enrollment and completion rates, and decreasing drop out rates. For this year’s i3 Grants competition, organizations have the option to submit a pre-application prior to April 29, 2015. Each pre-application will be reviewed and scored

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