Spotlight on Connecticut RISE Network: Improving Outcomes for Historically Underserved High School Students


Connecticut’s youth are joining an economy that demands highly skilled workers and critical thinkers. However, only 20% of Connecticut’s high school graduates from low-income households will earn a postsecondary degree within six years of graduating from high school, compared with 54% of their more affluent peers. National research shows that Grade 9 on track achievement is the single best indicator of whether a student will graduate from high school within four years, more than test scores, family income, or race/ethnicity.

In this Spotlight on Quality webinar, Improving Outcomes for Historically Underserved High School Students, leaders of the Connecticut RISE Network—which serves 6,000 students, including 82% of whom are Black or Latinx—discussed how they improved outcomes for their students by disrupting these historic patterns, the Connecticut Rise Network demonstrated a 20 percentage point increase of its students’ on-track rates from 64% in 2015 to 84% in 2020. Extending its analytic focus as the cohort schools moved from grade 9 to grade 12, the average graduation rate increased from 78% in 2016 to 87% in 2019, while the statewide graduation rates during the same time period remained constant.

Learn what the RISE Network did and how they did it, including:

  • Applying improvement analytics to pinpoint needs, diagnose root causes, form and test hypotheses, measure impact, and continuously improve
  • Co-designing data tools and dashboards with teachers, counselors, and school administrators to track attendance, behavior, and grades
  • Adopting a networkwide commitment to increase on-track achievement through five high-leveraged strategies—on-track data teams, on-track coaching, summer transition programs, college and career supports, and educator-inspired innovations

Presenters and Panelists

  • Emily Pallin, Executive Director, Connecticut RISE Network
  • Sam Purdy, Network Learning Manager, Connecticut RISE Network
  • Nathan Quesnel, Superintendent, East Hartford Public Schools
  • Vacianna Farquharson, Grade 9 Assistant Principal, Hartford Public Highs School, Hartford Public Schools
  • Ash Vasudeva, Vice President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching



February 11, 2021