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K–12 Initiatives

Learn to Earn Dayton knows that to reach our big goal of a more highly-educated workforce, there are stepping stones along the way that must start early in a child’s academic career.

By aligning efforts with school districts, out-of-school partners, elected officials, and community organizations, we are committed to creating an educational system that provides each student with equitable access to future economic prosperity.


3rd Grade Reading

Literacy affects student success along the entire cradle-to-career continuum, with the crucial attainment at third grade.


Why it Matters: In the early grades, children learn to read. Beginning in fourth grade, the curriculum shifts with an assumption that students are equipped to use reading skills to learn more complex concepts.

Reading at grade level by third grade is one of the strongest predictors of later success in school. Students at or above grade level reading in earlier grades graduate from high school and attend college at higher rates than peers reading below grade level. One longitudinal study found that students who do not read at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers.


8th Grade Math

Eighth grade math is a critical measurement, correlating to high school persistence, academic achievement, college attainment, and general preparedness for the workforce.


Why it Matters: Students completing algebra in eighth grade attend college at higher rates than students who do not; demonstrating math proficiency at this point opens the gateway to completing advanced mathematics courses in high school, which, in turn, is highly valued for admission to many four-year colleges and universities. Students who leave high school without adequate mathematics preparation and skills require postsecondary remediation coursework later on.

HS Grad

High School Graduation

High School graduation is not only a precursor to postsecondary success, it is a significant determinant of earnings throughout adulthood. 


Why it Matters: As education after high school increasingly becomes a necessity for

upward mobility, graduating more students from high school is critical. High school graduation correlates to many social outcomes, including health, mortality, teen childbearing, and crime. Further, increasing the educational attainment of one generation improves the next generation’s academic and social outcomes.


Attendance Matters

National and local data show that a student’s attendance, starting in preschool and continuing through the elementary grades, directly correlates with the student’s academic success. Attendance Works, a national organization dedicated to reducing chronic absenteeism, offers data and tips. 


Why it Matters: Students who are chronically absent (missing 10% of school days or more, just 18 days in a 180-day school year) are at higher risk of dropping out, performing lower academically, and being unprepared for the future. Chronic absenteeism incorporates all absences—excused, unexcused, and exclusionary discipline—and focuses on the academic consequences of lost instructional time. This problem cannot be addressed solely at the school—it is a community concern, affected by poverty, housing, health, and family stability.

Being out just 2 days every month throughout the year can add up to 18 days—leading a child to fall behind. It’s easy to underestimate how much school a child is missing if the days are intermittent.

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