Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Celebrate: Norwood named one of 100 Best Communities for Young People again!

Competition Recognizes Norwood’s Efforts to Reduce High School Dropout Rates

Norwood has achieved national recognition for the second year in a row as one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING for its initiatives to help young people. The competition recognizes communities across the country that focus on reducing high school dropout rates and providing service and support to their youth.

Norwood, a two-time 100 Best winner, continues to make young people a priority by developing initiatives to reduce the dropout rate, support youth activism and offer a range of educational programs. Over the past decade, the community has increased its graduation rate by 13 percent and has focused students on post-graduate goals by filling the high school walls with college banners, photos of alumni who went to college and posters about post-secondary studies and careers.

Norwood schools are also committed to offering a range of services to students of all ages including a Freshman Academy to help ninth graders with the difficult transition to high school. Local schools are using a 21st Century Learning Grant to expand services—including 70 different clubs—to elementary, middle and high school students. The community also engages students to prevent bullying and teach tolerance. This year, students from the high schools Gay/Straight Alliance sponsored a Stop Hate marketing campaign.

“We are proud of Norwood for being named one of the America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best,” said Deb Robison, Family and Children First Coordinator. “This award recognizes the hard work of many community members that have dedicated their time to making a difference in the lives of our young people.”

“In a nation where 7,000 students drop out of high school every day, we hope Norwood’s initiatives inspire other communities across the nation to take action to solve the challenges facing their young people,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO. “Norwood is especially deserving of this recognition due to their efforts to ensure that their young people graduate high school and go on to lead healthy, productive lives. Norwood refuses to let the challenges they face determine the future for their young people. Instead, they are helping their youth prosper and become contributing members of society.”

Today at noon EST, Kondracke will join America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and ING Foundation President Rhonda Mims at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to officially announce the 100 winning communities in a live webcast.

Norwood will receive a $2,500 grant, signage identifying the community as one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People, and access to America’s Promise Alliance’s community development resources.

First held in 2005, the 100 Best competition is one of the Alliance’s signature initiatives and is part of its Grad Nation campaign, which is a 10-year initiative to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. The 100 Best honors communities large and small, rural and urban, that are making progress to help young people achieve their potential, which includes earning a high school diploma, securing a good job, and playing an active, productive role in America’s economic vitality.

All communities entering the 100 Best competition completed a rigorous application where they provided details on how their existing programs and initiatives help deliver the Five Promises—resources identified by the Alliance as being critical to the development of healthy, successful children: caring adults; safe places; healthy start; effective education; and opportunities to help others. Applicants were also asked to describe how different sectors of their community work together to help children and families overcome challenges. Most importantly, communities were judged on the strength and innovation of their efforts and programs to help young people graduate from high school prepared for college and the 21st century workforce.

9/13/11 ADDENDUM: Click here for the Business Journal’s article about Norwood, and click here for Fox 19’s story.