Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Winner


November 2013


November has been a busy and exciting month for Diplomas Now schools and leaders. 


New York City Finds Success in Cutting Chronic Absenteeism in School  


Mentors, wake-up calls to students, incentives and weekly "student success" meetings led by principals helped New York City significantly cut chronic absenteeism in schools, according to a new report by the Everyone Graduates Center at The Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Diplomas Now employs some of the same strategies, especially mentors.


The report, "Meeting the Challenge of Combating Chronic Absenteeism," examines the impact of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's task force on truancy, chronic absenteeism and school engagement, a program that spanned 2010 to 2013 and reached more than 60,000 students.


The study of the task force's efforts in 100 New York City public schools by Johns Hopkins researchers Robert Balfanz and Vaughan Byrnes found students who missed at least 20 days of school per year, the definition of chronic absenteeism, had lower grades and were more likely to drop out than students with better attendance. Yet, the researchers also found these effects of absenteeism are reversible.


Read more on our website.



Diplomas Now Earning Kudos


In New York City, John Ericsson Middle School 126 recently received an A ranking in the New York City accountability system.


In Washington, D.C., the public school system is modeling its ninth-grade academies in high schools across the city largely on the Diplomas Now model.



Policymakers Learn about Diplomas Now


The leadership of the Miami-Dade school district and Miami field manager Scott Crumpler recently presented to the Florida House of Representatives on early warning indicators systems.


Bob Balfanz and Diplomas Now principals and school-based staff recently featured Diplomas Now at a Bush Institute convening on early warning indicators and intervention systems. 


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio recently visited Booker T. Washington High School, a Diplomas Now school in Miami, where he saw firsthand the value of national service. 



Top U.S. Department of Education Official Visits Diplomas Now School 


Capitol Middle School - a Diplomas Now school in East Baton Rouge - got a special visitor last week: Acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton shadowed Principal Viola Jackson as part of the U.S. Department of Education's "ED Goes Back to School Principal Shadow Week." Diplomas Now won a competitive $30 million federal i3 grant in 2010 from the Department of Education. The president of Southern University, Ron Mason, also visited the school that day. Shelton asked Jackson if the school could continue what it was doing without the Diplomas Now program next year, and she said,"No way, we need the resources that Diplomas Now provides to keep doing what we are doing!" Congrats to the staff and Diplomas Now team at Capitol Middle for such a successful visit!




Diplomas Now in the News!


The Seattle Times recently featured Diplomas Now in a major way - an article, video, Q&A with a City Year mentor and an op-ed by Diplomas Now co-founder Bob Balfanz. The paper also held a live chat with readers and Balfanz, City Year's Becka Gross and Denny Middle Principal Jeff Clark.


         2 Seattle middle schools focus on attendance, see scores climb 

         Video: Near peers drum up enthusiasm at Denny Middle School 

         Five questions with Denny Middle School's City Year mentor 

·         Guest: Communities should work together to keep kids in class  


The Wall Street Journal covered Bob Balfanz's new study on successful strategies to reduce absenteeism in New York City schools. Read the story here. featured South High School in Columbus' work to raise graduation rates.


The Rivard Report, an online news outlet, featured Burbank High School's work to keep kids from dropping out.


The Tulsa World featured Clinton Middle School and the school's focus on attendance, behavior and course performance. Read the story here.






Stay Connected 


Diplomas Now  |

Like us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter