How We ShoulderUp to Help Students Succeed “To and Through” Middle School, High School and College

How We ShoulderUp to Help Students Succeed “To and Through” Middle School, High School and College

Higher education, corporate, philanthropic, and community partners gathered to ShoulderUp for Post-Secondary Success at the Centinel Hill Hall Auditorium of Capital Community College on Thursday, May 23rd. The gathering provided an opportunity for Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, to share the findings of a data analysis of the class of 2016. The district has been involved in this important work throughout this past year, as recipients of a grant awarded by the Barr Foundation based in Boston, MA.

Hartford Public Schools, the All-In Coalition, and the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education are partners in this work.

The objectives of the working meeting were to:

  • Share current learnings of the Hartford Public Schools 2016 Cohort deep data dive toward post-secondary success
  • Map the current Continuum of Supports provided for students in grades 6-16 and share best practices
  • Call to action for higher education, corporate, and philanthropic partners to join ALL IN! Coalition efforts



Dr. Torres-Rodriguez prefaced the presentation by providing a glimpse into what the class of 2016 experienced between 8th to 12th grade, including having had seven superintendents. The results of the data analysis are sobering and the Superintendent acknowledged that the district is approaching this work from a place of vulnerability and transparency. The audience of over 60 partners applauded in support.

Of the class of 2016, 79% of Hartford Public Schools students graduated high school, but only 50% of students enrolled in post-secondary education, and only 32% persisted into their second year at either a two- or four-year institution. Early Warning Indicators, including attendance, behavior, grades and test scores, identify students at risk for being off-track to post-secondary success before 9th grade.

A continuum of supports is necessary for students from grades 6-16, to help them succeed “to and through” middle school, high school and college. Partners contributed to a visual display of existing supports for students including the aspirational supports that will be collaboratively developed to ensure that all students achieve post-secondary success.

“Sharing the data about our student’s experiences with our higher education, corporate, philanthropic and community partners allows us to have a clearer sense of what is working and what needs attention and improvement. We know that our current high school programming is not working for ALL students. I am excited about our work ahead with our partners to support our student’s post-secondary success,” states Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

Charlene Perez Diaz, Assistant Director for Grant Partnerships, who leads the district Barr Team and helped plan the event, said that “sharing the data was the first step in asking our partners for help, because we know this is not something we can solve on our own.” This work is on-going and partners were called to action to support the efforts of the ALL IN! Coalition, with a goal of increasing post-secondary enrollment and completion.


You can explore a selection from the presentation below:

Shoulder Up for PSS_Share


You can see more photos from the meeting here.