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Education & Youth

There is an unacceptable educational opportunity and achievement gap in our community. Hundreds of preschool children and more than 1,600 school-age kids are not achieving educational benchmarks that set them on the path to success in school and in life. Closing that gap will take the whole village.

Great Expectations, a new school and community initiative, is designed to bring effective programs and strategies to scale and heighten community-wide investment in the educational success of all kids from cradle to career.

Its goals are clearly stated:

  • Every child is prepared for school
  • Every child is nurtured at home, in school and by the community
  • Every young person succeeds academically and attains life skills
  • Every young person has the opportunity for post-high school education or training
  • Every young person pursues a future of choice

The collective efforts of Wayzata and Orono school districts, Interfaith Outreach and caring volunteers, staff and community are having an impact. Young learners are being helped to build the academic and social/emotional skills needed to succeed. As foundational programs of Great Expectations, our littlest learners and their parents are supported by Caring for Kids while school-aged children and youth are supported year-round in the Neighborhood Program* through Homework Clubs, summer camps and so much more. We are on our way.

To volunteer to help youth succeed in school and community and life, contact Liz Erstad-Hicks at lerstad-hicks@iocp.org.

*Formerly CONECT (Community Organizations Networking Compassionately Together), the Neighborhood Program serves individuals, families and children living at nine affordable apartment neighborhood communities.