Two years ago, Stand for Children launched the Oregon Center for High School Success (CHSS) to help educators develop 9th Grade Success programs (dropout prevention programs focused on keeping students on-track to graduate from their very first class). One of the Center’s first priorities was to bring educators from seven key school districts across Oregon to the University of Chicago, to meet firsthand with the researchers and policy experts who pioneered these programs in Chicago Public Schools. Frank Caropelo, then the assistant superintendent at Reynolds School District, was one of the educators who boarded that flight with me in 2017.
By that time, Frank’s career in education already spanned more than two decades and three states across the country. He had taught in classrooms and led as an administrator. He brought a wealth of knowledge and experience, but what he and I witnessed together clearly left a lasting impression.
We saw how educators in Chicago identify vulnerable students early, and support them before they had the chance to falter. We saw 9th grade teachers rely on real-time data to identify students who are most in-need of support, and meet regularly as a team to figure out the best way to reach them. And Frank saw the next chapter in his already-impressive career begin to take shape.
Fast forward two years, and I’m excited to share that Frank Caropelo is the brand-new Director for the Oregon Center for High School Success. Frank is stepping in as Scott Perry, the acting Director who helped get CHSS on its feet over the past two years, is settling down to enjoy his well-earned retirement. And Frank’s arrival comes at a pivotal time for both 9th Grade Success programs, and the Oregon Center for High School Success.
Data released by the Oregon Department of Education demonstrate how Oregon students who are on-track in 9th grade graduate at a rate of more than 91 percent, compared to just 40 percent for their off-track peers. At the same time, CHSS has never been more in demand. The first trip to Chicago that Frank and I were on supported a total of 35 educators. Since then, the number of people who have trained with CHSS has grown to more than 400.
As CHSS prepares to launch their 2019-20 cohort of educators from across Oregon, I’m excited to welcome Frank to the team, and can’t wait to see everything that he, and his incredible team of 9th Grade Success coaches, achieve for Oregon students!