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  • The Narrative Project

RISE Network Receives Carnegie Foundation Spotlight on Quality


November 23, 2020 Mercy A. Quaye



The honor recognizes exceptional progress in disrupting long-time, multigenerational opportunity gaps


New Haven, CT - The Connecticut RISE Network, a statewide non-profit organization co-founded by Dalio Philanthropies, today announced it is the recipient of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 4th Annual Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement. The RISE Network partners with public high schools to support on-track achievement and college and career readiness, access, and success. The Carnegie Foundation launched the Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement program in 2017 to elevate clear and compelling examples of how the rigorous application of improvement principles, methods, and tools can solve educational problems. Selected from a large and diverse group of applicants, the two Spotlight honorees for 2020, the RISE Network and UChicago Network for College Success, were identified through a rigorous process of independent review and judgment as demonstrating quality in their application of continuous improvement in addressing significant education problems of practice. "Receiving the Carnegie Spotlight recognition cements our achievements as a network and I'm proud of the growth and impact we've made over the years,” said Nathan D. Quesnel, Superintendent, East Hartford Public Schools, a partner in the RISE Network. “Improvement science is all about coming together to learn, collaborate and drive results, and as educators, we know that the results that matter are the increased opportunities for students to achieve success and pursue their goals. As we navigate this challenging time and look ahead, these improvement science principles keep us focused on our purpose and the RISE Network keeps us optimistic about what we can achieve when we work together in support of student success." The RISE Network represents a partnership between Connecticut teachers, counselors, and administrators in 10 high schools across nine public school districts. Together, RISE educators pursue improvement strategies to help all students realize and achieve their full potential. National research shows that Grade 9 on-track achievement (i.e., whether a student earns enough credits to promote on time to sophomore year) is a better predictor of whether a student will graduate from high school within four years than test scores, family income, or race/ethnicity. In RISE’s five founding partner schools, these efforts generated demonstrable improvement of 9th-grade on-track achievement and four-year graduation rates for students of color and those from low-income families. These founding partner schools have demonstrated a 20-percentage point increase of 9th-grade on-track rates from 64% in 2015 to 84% in 2020, and the average graduation rate increased from 78% in 2016 to 87% in 2019 while statewide graduation rates remained constant. "Five years ago, the Carnegie Foundation served as a source of inspiration as we launched the RISE Network in partnership with Connecticut public high schools and districts. We are humbled and excited by this honor, joining a national community of educators who are committed to closing opportunity gaps through results-driven collaboration,” offered Emily Pallin, Executive Director of the RISE Network. “We share this recognition with RISE educators who work tirelessly every day to help all students succeed in and beyond high school. Together, we are changing the narrative around what's possible when students receive excellent and equitable opportunities. This spotlight serves as further motivation as we work to ensure all Connecticut students realize and achieve their full potential." “I am pleased to announce Connecticut RISE Network as a Carnegie Foundation 2020 Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement honoree. Their improvement efforts have demonstrated msignificant improvement in grade 9 on-track achievement and four-year graduation rates for marginalized students in their state,” said Anthony Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation. “The first year of high school is a critical transition point for students and a valuable predictor of students’ success in high school, so by focusing their improvement work on 9th grade, the CT RISE Network is disrupting long time multigenerational opportunity gaps.” The two education organizations will present their work in February during individual web-based events and in sessions at the Carnegie Foundation’s Summit on Improvement in Education scheduled for April 25–28, 2021. For more information, visit

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About The RISE Network

The RISE Network (RISE) is a Connecticut-based non-profit organization with a mission to empower educators to achieve breakthrough results, helping all students realize and achieve their full potential. Leveraging its innovative partnership model, RISE facilitates networks for school improvement by bringing together exceptional educators working in different contexts to advance shared goals. By empowering school communities to improve, we invest in a cycle of lasting and scalable impact. RISE districts and schools commit to sharing resources and expertise, pursuing innovative solutions, strengthening school and district systems, and empowering educators and leaders through continuous improvement. Currently, RISE represents a multi-year partnership between nine school districts across Connecticut, serving 14,000 students across ten high schools to support educators striving to ensure every RISE high school student graduates college and career ready. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to solving long-standing inequities in educational outcomes. The foundation addresses problems that impact large numbers of students, tests innovations on the ground, understands what works and why in what contexts, and shares what it learns for use by others. In so doing, Carnegie integrates the discipline of improvement science and the use of structured improvement networks to build the education field’s capacity to improve.

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