Diplomas Now: Findings from the First Decade and What's Next
How an evidence-based, collaborative, whole-school improvement model, leveraging AmeriCorps members and early warning systems, can accelerate student and school success in the highest-need schools.
Diplomas Now developed an evidence-based school improvement model that supported high-need secondary schools. Diplomas Now is based on the insight that the middle and high schools where most of the nation’s dropouts fall off track to graduation are neither designed nor resourced to address the volume or intensity of the student challenges they encounter. Diplomas Now responded by creating a comprehensive whole-school model that increases school capacities to both improve teacher practice to ensure students graduate with the academic and social-emotional skills required for college, career, and life success and also address the scale and intensity of student need. It recognizes the importance of providing each student with a caring relationship with an adult at school. It takes an asset-based approach to instruction that recognizes individual students’ developmental needs and creates a school and classroom culture and climate that is conducive to students not only acquiring critical competencies, but also identifying with their school experience, understanding its relevance to their future pursuits, and becoming empowered to affect change in their community.