Restoring the American Dream: What One High School’s Success Can Teach Us A...

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Ballou High School

3401 4th Street, SE

Washington, DC 20032

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The very promise on which America was founded – equal opportunity for all – is out of reach for too many. Building on our work at the 2016 National Opportunity Summit in September, Opportunity Nation has embarked on a series of events on Restoring the American Dream, highlighting the six Opportunity Millennium Goals laid out in the Our Opportunity Nation plan, which was signed by more than 135 members of the Opportunity Nation Coalition. Together we unite to promote bipartisan, innovative and evidence-based strategies to reinvigorate the American Dream and restore the country’s promise of opportunity for all.



Join Opportunity Nation, America’s Promise Alliance and Urban Alliance for

Restoring the American Dream: What One High School’s Success Can Teach Us About Empowering Students

Thursday, June 15
1 - 3 p.m.
Ballou High School

Featured speaker:
Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, DC

About the event
Nationally, on-time high school graduation rates are rising – an encouraging trend that has contributed to higher Opportunity Scores. But with one million students failing to graduate each year, the U.S. continues to lose too many students along the way. Particularly troubling are communities where just 50 to 60 percent of students graduate each year. In these cases, whole communities are precluded from economic advancement.

This event, the fourth in our series of conversations on Restoring the American Dream, will focus on the goal to achieve a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020 and turnaround all low-performing schools by 2025 -- one of the six Opportunity Millennium Goals posited in “Our Opportunity Nation.”

According to the Opportunity Index, national on-time high school graduation rates increased nine percent since 2011. However, significant challenges remain to reach this goal for all students by 2020, especially for students who are from low-income families and who are minorities, who continue to lag well behind their peers.

Ballou High School led efforts that put more students on the path to success, inspiring an entire community, and the nation.

We will explore what Ballou students have accomplished in the face of systemic challenges and how their perseverance and journeys can inspire other students and schools. We will celebrate Ballou’s success -- 100 percent of their 190 graduating seniors applied for college and 93% were accepted -- through students and school officials' stories of turnaround through success, challenges and goals. We will also discuss what barriers prevent schools from ensuring more students obtain a diploma.

Through these conversations, we will examine what this school community and city are doing to ensure more students stay engaged and graduate from high school and move on to some type of education and training, and what that means for graduation rates.

What you’ll hear

  • A discussion with national leaders and students about barriers to moving beyond high school and how national organizations can help scale up solutions
  • A panel of Ballou students and staff and local city leaders, who will speak about how they are turning around their schools
  • One parent's perspective on the power of caring adults

Confirmed speakers

  • Melanie Anderson, Director of Government and External Affairs, Opportunity Nation
  • Camille Benbow, Ballou High School Class of 2017
  • Kiara Burnett, Class President, Class of 2017
  • Nathaniel Cole, Executive Director, Urban Alliance, Washington, DC
  • Jennifer DePaoli, Senior Research and Policy Advisor, Civic Enterprises
  • John Gomperts, President & CEO, America's Promise Alliance
  • Eugene Pinkard, Jr, Deputy Chief, School Turnaround and Performance, District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Dr. Yetunde Reeves, Principal, Ballou High School
  • Monique Rizer, Executive Director, Opportunity Nation
  • Sharona Robinson, Ballou Alumnus and parent
  • Tatiana Robinson, 10th grader, Ballou High School
  • Shamele Straughter, Assistant Principal, RTI and Class of 2017, Ballou High School
  • Reedy Wade, Managing Director, Network Engagement, NAF
  • Trayon White, Sr., Ward 8 Councilmember


Getting there

Ballou High School is located at 3401 4th Street SE, Washington, DC.

The event will take place in the auditorium. Use the main entrance by the parking lot and allow a few extra minutes to go through security upon entering the building.

By Car
We recommend ride-sharing, as parking is limited in the school’s parking lot and on the street.

By Public Transportation
Take Metro’s Green Line to the Congress Heights Station.

From there it will be about a mile walk to the school (15-20 minutes). You can also take the W1 Fort Drum bus to the school from here. Check wmata.com for schedules and updates.

Join the conversation with #OurOppNation



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Date and Time

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Ballou High School

3401 4th Street, SE

Washington, DC 20032

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