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Community/family partnerships

Salt River Schools, Scottsdale, Arizona

Challenge: Salt River Schools—a small system operating on a rural Native American reservation of 11,000 people—faced high turnover, including churning through four superintendents in four years and more than 10 principals in a decade. The instability created uncertainty and led to a decline in enrollment.

White Bear Lake Area Schools, White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Challenge: The water level of White Bear Lake was at a record low in 2013, affecting recreational use and sapping the underlying aquifer that supplies water to the community.

Owsley County School District, Booneville, Kentucky

Challenge: Owsley County Schools, located in the nation’s third-poorest county, has struggled with declines in income, population and employment. Just 17 percent of county residents age 25 and over have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Residents also rank in the bottom 25 percent nationally for lifespan.

Brea Olinda USD, Brea, California

Challenge: Interest in the magnet school had waned after a period of declining enrollment. Accessing the community’s intellectual capital to invigorate learning became a priority in shifting the school’s focus to career readiness.

Mariemont City Schools, Mariemont, Ohio

Challenge: Administrators sought to provide more experiential learning opportunities because graduates were declaring college majors with no experience within the associated career fields. “Discovering what you don’t like is just as important as discovering what you do like,” says Brent Wise, director of technology and strategic initiatives.

Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, Kansas

Challenge: Topeka Public Schools has a high rate of at-risk students, with more than 70 percent receiving free- or reduced-price lunch. Statewide funding cuts have limited resources for food, clothing and mental health care.

School District of Turtle Lake, Turtle Lake, Wisconsin

Challenge: The School District of Turtle Lake had a shop class where students worked with wood, small engines and welding machines, but it suffered from low enrollment. District officials realized grant funds and new community business partners would improve participation.

Pass and Go! AP Encouragement

When Clarksville-Montgomery County schools’ AP enrollment was declining and exam pass rates were stagnant, district leaders reached out to community members to create a program that would encourage and reward students who enrolled in AP courses and passed the final test.

Hoover Helps

Many households in Hoover City Schools are “food-insecure,” which means children don’t have enough food to eat, especially on weekends.

Two-Generation Engagement

A two-generational program at Hayward USD encouraged parents to engage more in their children’s education.