Westerville City Schools was recently accepted to the Lead Higher Initiative, a national effort spearheaded by the non-profit Equal Opportunity Schools, with support from the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the U.S. Department of Education, International Baccalaureate and the College Board. Lead Higher is also backed by generous contributions from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Tableau, and Google.
As a member of the first Lead Higher cohort, Westerville City Schools will receive match-funded technical assistance from Equal Opportunity Schools to close its participation and success gaps in AP and IB courses by Fall 2017. “We’re pleased to be one of a very select few school districts given this opportunity,” said Superintendent Dr. John Kellogg. “The additional resources and expertise this will bring to our high schools will have a tremendous impact on our ability to meet the diverse academic needs of our students and families.”
Lead Higher seeks to enable secondary schools to fully reflect their racial and economic diversity at the highest academic levels in K-12 education; and to elevate the national conversation about low-income students and students of color beyond achieving proficiency to a focus on academic excellence. To accomplish these goals, Lead Higher and its school partners will, over the next three years, transition 100,000 low-income students and students-of-color into a successful Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate experience and in so doing enable 600 high schools to represent their student diversity in those courses.
Equal Opportunity Schools has partnered with more than 250 high schools across the nation to ensure nearly 20,000 new students of every background have the chance to succeed in these rigorous courses. “By building on their best academic programs and the systems already in place, selected schools will implement what are among the highest impact strategies for boosting college readiness while closing the achievement gap,” said EOS founder & CEO, Reid Saaris. Substantial research indicates students receive a number of benefits and dramatically boost their chances of completing college if successful in just one AP or IB course in high school.
Out of several hundred schools considered for Lead Higher, Westerville’s schools are among the 117 selected for participation next year. Through a year-long partnership, EOS will support schools by providing field-leading data analysis to measure student- and school-specific causes of participation gaps, develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing those causes, and by Fall 2017 transition all of the historically underrepresented students who have been identified as being overlooked for AP/IB into one of these course opportunities. Once there, students will benefit from plans EOS the schools develop to ensure their success.