West Burlington Jr./Sr. High School in Iowa has made significant gains since implementing The Corners program, which uses the Investigations into Economic Class in America curriculum. The Corners is part of the larger southeast Iowa Bridges Out of Poverty initiative.

The Iowa Association of School boards reports that the school experienced a 30% increase in students receiving free and reduced lunch between 2000 and 2013, and that graduation rates were also declining. With the help of aha! Process constructs, the graduation rate climbed from 88.3% to 98% in just four years.

Vern Reed, one of the champions of Bridges in southeast Iowa, provided the following updates:

  • Currently we are in discussions with our public library and a leading manufacturer to provide a “real life” training ground for our teens. It looks like our teens will learn the ropes as good employees and receive elective credits through our school. After working for a semester, with pay, they would have a job waiting for them with one of our business partners. Students must be graduates of or currently enrolled in Investigations into Economic Class in America. Our goal is to open this up to other schools as well.
  • We have had two meetings with our local junior college. My school is proposing that we partner to create a “Bridges Academy” for under-resourced students. In this alternative school with a purpose, we will use our Bridges learning and adverse childhood experiences learning to drive the school. Our goal is for students to graduate with a diploma and one semester of credits at the community college.

We’re proud of all the work users of aha! Process strategies and solutions are doing for individuals, institutions, and communities. If you’re interested in getting involved, consider joining us in Minneapolis to become a certified trainer of A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Bridges Out of Poverty, College Achievement Alliance, or Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World.