Area Schools and Youth Serving Organization Seek Volunteer Mentors as Graduation Rate Improvement Initiative Moves to Second Phase

Ashwaubenon School District joins second round, scope expands to 17 schools for beta test

Seventeen area schools from four districts are collaborating on the second phase of an initiative to improve graduation rates in Brown County.

This second phase, or beta test, builds on the first-phase experiences of the 2018/2019 school year, where four schools in three districts piloted an innovative mentorship initiative that served 53 students between January and May.

That mentorship initiative combined the resources of Denmark School District, Green Bay Area Public School District and Howard-Suamico School District with the support of mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin, Family Services of Brown County, and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay.

Available data from 39 of the mentored students in that pilot show about half of them improved their grades (48%) and attendance (51%), and a few of them (10%) showed improved school behavior. 

The initiative is heading into the next phase of testing this fall and adding Ashwaubenon School District to the list of participating schools, so organizers are seeking 100 additional adult volunteers to begin working with middle school students in September. They are recruiting now to ensure mentors are screened and trained before school begins.

“Because it takes several weeks to assess potential mentors, including a background check, we would like potential Six-Twelve mentors to start the process now,“ said Katie Hess, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin. “This will ensure that we can match them as early in the school year as possible, and then we can have nearly a full school year to measure outcomes.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin is managing the application and matching process and supporting mentors during the match. Those relationships begin in middle school and early high school and, organizers hope, will extend through a student’s high school graduation.

Volunteers from Big Brothers Big Sisters will be matched with middle school students in the agency’s Six-Twelve Mentoring program.

Continuing alongside Big Brothers Big Sisters into the beta test is the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay and its BE GREAT: Graduate program. These agencies share goals to increase academic performance, improve attendance rates and increase graduation rates.

Area schools that were part of the pilot initiative will also continue into the beta test. They include Bay Port High School, Denmark Middle School, Edison Middle School and Preble High School.

“Our pilot test showed us that our collective actions have potential and we are on the right track,” said Spencer Bonnie, interim executive director for Achieve Brown County. His agency is facilitating the mentorship initiative. “We also learned that we benefit from more lead time to recruit volunteer mentors.”

Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a mentor for this initiative should go online to Volunteers may also register for a no-obligation information session led by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin at or call (920) 498-2227.

About Achieve Brown County

Achieve Brown County is a collaborative, community-led, collective impact organization focused on leveraging the combined power of a shared community vision, evidence-based decision-making, and collaborative action to advance positive, cradle-to-career outcomes for all young people. Online at

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin is a donor- and volunteer-supported non-profit organization that has been professionally matching area youth with volunteers since 1972. Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite and power and promise of youth. Online at

Updated Community Outcomes Dashboard

Updated Community Outcomes Dashboard Shows
Brown County Youth Improve in Areas Related to Future Success

Five-year collaborative effort positively affecting young people from “cradle to career”


Results of a five-year effort involving dozens of Brown County organizations show significant improvements in five areas deemed to have critical impact on the future success of area young people.


“These results affirm what we hoped when we started this effort in 2014,” said Mark Kaiser, President/CEO of Lindquist Machine Corporation and chair of Achieve Brown County’s Community Leadership Council. “The schools, health care systems, youth-service providers and other community organizations that have come together to focus on these outcomes are seeing the fruits of their labor. This is very encouraging for those of us involved with Achieve and for the future of these students.”


There are about 80,000 young people under the age of 25 in Brown County. Achieve Brown County’s 2018 Outcomes Dashboard, which reflects information available on more than 90 percent of them at important milestones in their lives, reveals the following: 


  1. 83% of 5-year-olds entering public and private schools met the benchmark for literacy, an indicator of readiness for Kindergarten. This is up one point from the 2017 study.
  2. 91% of students who entered high school four years ago completed their education and graduated. This is up one point from the 2017 study.
  3. 61% of students continue their education after high school or enter military service. This is up three points from the 2017 study.
  4. 45% of young adults complete college within six years or less. This is up 5 points from the 2017 study.
  5. 41% of 22- to 24-year-olds working in Brown County earn at least $26,128 annually (200% of federal poverty level), an indication that wages are improving. This is up 1 point from the 2017 study.


“Although improvements within each area may seem small,” said Kaiser, “hundreds of young people have shown measurable gains compared to last year at these specific milestones. This indicates improvement for all kids within every age group, which is our goal. We’re on the right path.”


While Achieve Brown County has played a supportive role in stewarding the collective impact model behind this effort, it is the community organizations themselves that have done “the heavy lifting,” according to Spencer Bonnie, Interim Executive Director.


“When you look everything that has been accomplished over the past five years, it’s clear that our community partners are driving the impacts we see in the data,” said Bonnie. “We facilitate the processes that bring everyone together to create a shared vision for impact, collect and analyze the data, and then develop collaborative solutions that make the biggest difference in the lives of young people. But our partners implement those solutions, and it’s ultimately their actions that produce the results.”


Achieve and its community partners, through their ongoing collaborative efforts, are continuing to focus on affecting positive change in each of these five outcome areas, as well as a sixth: engaging children, youth and young adults as community volunteers.


Data for this report were drawn from several sources. These included: Brown County Schools, Green Bay Area Catholic Education Network, Oneida Tribal Schools, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, U.S. Department of Education, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and the National Student Clearinghouse. The full dashboard and underlying data are online on our website. 

Achieve Brown County of Green Bay, WI, Receives $150,000 for One Year Through StriveTogether Grant Program to Improve Results at Major Milestones for Kids

Brown County, an
initiative committed to supporting the age-appropriate cognitive,
social-emotional, and physical growth and development of all children in Brown
County, has received up to $150,000 for one year from
StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to bring communities together
around data to make decisions and improve results for kids. Achieve Brown County will use its grant award to drive
system change in Brown County.

grant award is part of StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Community Challenge,
which seeks to create local change to enable economic mobility. The program’s
goal is to strengthen and align the many systems, such as education,
employment, health and housing, that shape opportunity for children and
families in America.

excited to have been selected from so many worthy applicants and look forward
to the prospect of using technology to do more for the children of Brown
County,” said Adam Hardy, executive director of Achieve Brown County.

Brown County has been awarded a grant from the Community Challenge’s Promising
Practices Fund
, whichis intended to find local projects applying
bold strategies that can be spread across StriveTogether’s national network.
These projects will focus on deeper community engagement and align education
with other sectors such as health, housing and transportation. Eleven
community-based organizations were awarded grants of up to $150,000 for one

Promising Practices Fund will support Achieve Brown County’s work with
community partners as they strive to align around a shared vision of helping
children achieve their full potential in Brown County. This contribution to Achieve Brown
County’s collective impact initiative will continue to drive positive change in
the community.

Through the Community
Challenge, up to $7 million over the next three years will fund projects across
the country that advance equity and spread bold strategies to help students
progress from kindergarten to postsecondary completion and a job. During this
round of grants, 10 communities also were selected for the Accelerator Fund.
Communities in the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network were eligible to
apply for the Community Challenge.

launched the Cradle to Career Community Challenge because we refuse to settle
for a world in which a child’s ability to thrive is dictated by factors like
race or income,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “From
partners across the country, we know the urgency of this work and the value of
creating lasting change in communities. We are proud to start this year
supporting 21 cradle-to-career partnerships to get real results for youth and

The Need for Checkups and Effects of Labels

Article by Jared Boon

It is interesting how strong a label, or being designated a certain way, can affect a child’s future. Whether it be at a young age or later in life, it can cause a child to enact the self-fulfilling prophecy and do the actions expected with their new “role/label.” Such as labeling a very young child who is hyperactive as “naughty,” while they are acting such as what they are, a child. Once they are prescribed this label it can create a new pathway where they are expected to act this way, or when they do not it would be considered strange by those supervising. It is human nature to try to maintain our role, but at times some individuals have the perseverance to deviate from how they are viewed.

The following article is an example of one of these individuals (who himself even questioned doubting authority), where he was thought to be a “slow learner” and rather had a disorder that caused a believed disadvantage compared to his classmates. When given the time to fully complete his test and assignments the child was able to go from averaging C’s in classes to almost all A’s. One struggle with our current system is that it is like the toddler’s toy of fitting shapes into holes, but there is only one hole and belief that all children are just one shape. Children come in a wide array of “shapes” that need new holes to be created for success to be a reality. We need to possibly reshape the way our education system works, but more importantly, figure out ways that students with deficiencies/delays are correctly identified.

One of the goals of Achieve Brown County, in the present, is to work with local healthcare providers to make sure that children aged 0 to 5 are receiving check ups for detecting physical, socio-emotional and cognitive deficiencies. This is important because initial data indicated the possibility that over 50% of children ages 0-3 who are identified as having potential developmental delays do not receive services. Having a service system set in place will allow for the detection of different deficiencies and prevent them from being labeling thus leading to a negative pathway for their educational life.

Schwartz, Katrina. 2016. “Rethinking Intelligence: How Does Imagination Measure Up?”

The Benefits of Play

Article by Marco Delbecchi

In a recent journal, Pediatrics called on pediatricians to encourage the families they serve to bring back play time for children. Not only is this increase in play necessary for physical wellness the journal states, it also is important for the child’s social, emotional, and cognitive well-being (1). The call comes as a response to growing fear that most children are not enjoying enough play time, or time playfully learning, in their day. The articles cites, “a recent report found that 98 percent of children under 8 years old now have access to a mobile device at home, and the average time children spend on mobile devices tripled between 2013 and 2017, from 15 to 48 minutes per day” (1). These statistics represent one major factor in a child’s life that takes away from their ability to spend time playing or playfully learning and gaining the physical and mental benefits of these activities.

Beyond the basic benefits that play and playful learning exhibit, other benefits discussed in the article that children experience from these acts include play aiding in “brain building,” play increasing executive functioning skills, and play helping in development of social competencies.

The article also argues for the inclusion of guided play, in which a child acts on their own in a setting initiated by an adult. This type of play, as opposed to that of free play, is said to benefit the child in “learning to learn” skills such as academic and language skills (1). One avenue for children in Brown County that promotes spending more time engaged and being socially interactive through guided play is community-based mentoring, made possible by many of Achieve Brown County’s community partner organizations. The fulfilling relationship that is allowed through a community-based mentoring match ensures the existence of play time for the child aiding in their overall healthy development and wellness.



Achieve Brown County Receives $50,000 Donation from Wisconsin Public Service Foundation

Achieve Brown County is thrilled to announce that we have received a $50,000 donation made possible by a gift from Wisconsin Public Service Foundation. Wisconsin Public Service Foundation was a key initial investor in Achieve Brown County, and this gift demonstrates their continued commitment to the mission of Achieve Brown County. We are grateful for this donation, as it will support our collective impact efforts moving forward. 

Thanks to the donations received from our community partners, Achieve Brown County can help ALL children grow into healthy, successful adults. By aligning and supporting vital community organizations, together we provide valuable data, common measurements, and shared goals. We bring the community together to work hand-in-hand to support children from cradle to career. 



Schreiber Foods Supports Achieve Brown County with Proceeds of $110,000 from Golf Classic

Achieve Brown County was selected as a beneficiary for the 2018 Schreiber Charity Golf Classic, which was held on July 30th at Oneida Golf & Country Club, 207 Country Club Rd. Schreiber Foods supported Achieve Brown County with proceeds of $110,000. As players teed off, they helped children achieve their full potential through the support of Achieve Brown County in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The organization plans to use the funds from this event to support their work moving forward. 


“We are truly humbled to have been selected as a beneficiary, as there were so many worthy organizations,” said Adam Hardy, Executive Director of Achieve Brown County.  “Schreiber has been a driving force in Achieve Brown County and we continue to be so thankful for their support.”


Achieve Brown County helps all children grow into healthy, successful adults by aligning and supporting vital community organizations. They provide valuable data, common measurements, and shared goals, bringing the community together to support children from cradle to career. This contribution to Achieve Brown County’s collective impact effort will continue to drive positive change in the community.

The StriveTogether Wisconsin Partnership Receives Nearly $350,000 Grant

The Wisconsin Partnership, which includes Achieve Brown County, Building Our Future, Higher Expectations for Racine County and Milwaukee Succeeds, has received nearly $350,000 from StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to bring communities together around data to make decisions and improve results for kids. The partnership will use its grant award to test, learn and spread strategies focused on advancing policy change within Wisconsin.

The grant award is part of StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Community Challenge, which seeks to create local change to enable economic mobility. The program’s goal is to strengthen and align the many systems, such as education, employment, health and housing, that shape opportunity for children and families in America.

“We’re excited to have been selected from so many worthy applicants and look forward to continuing the work with our partners across the state,” said Adam Hardy, executive director of Achieve Brown County.

The Wisconsin Partnership will focus on addressing mobilization of systems-level barriers that prevent families from accessing high-quality early care and education through community engagement.

Through the Community Challenge, more than $20 million over the next three years will fund projects across the country that aim to shift public policy and engage the systems needed to help students progress from kindergarten to postsecondary completion and finding a job.

The Wisconsin Partnership’s grant is part of the Community Challenge’s Strategic Initiatives Fund, which supports projects working to advance policy change for children by engaging policy leaders, leading grassroots advocacy and coordinating efforts within state and local coalitions. The Wisconsin Partnership has one of seven policy-focused projects being awarded grants of up to $350,000 per year for three years.

About StriveTogether

StriveTogether leads a national movement of 70 communities to get better results in every child’s life. We coach and connect partners across the country to close gaps by using local data, especially for children of color and low-income children. Communities using our proven approach have seen measurable gains in kindergarten readiness, academic achievement and postsecondary success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 10.4 million students, involves 10,800 organizations and has partners in 30 states and Washington, D.C. Visit

Teacher Diversity

Article written by Charlie Schroeder, Continuous Improvement Coordinator

There is a growing body of research that suggests that minority students could benefit from assignment to teachers of their own race/ethnicity. However, minority teachers are typically underrepresented in the public-school system. This underrepresentation of minority teachers could be one of the many contributing factors to the student achievement gap.

There are a number of theories in existence that attempt to explain the mechanisms through which the assignment to a same-race teacher might influence a student’s achievement. [1] For years, research has documented the racial disparities in a variety of measures, including kindergarten readiness, early grade reading, early grade math, and high school graduation rates. [2] Many studies and reports have argued that increasing the diversity of teachers to better match the population of students they are teaching is a vital component to tackling the student achievement gap. [2][3]

One potential reason that students of color benefit more from having same race teachers is because teachers often act as role models for career success and academic engagement. [2] In addition, studies have also documented the notion that teachers of color tend to have higher expectations for their students of color than white teachers. [4] The interactions between students and teachers influence how the students perceives their own academic abilities, so having a teacher that does not seem to hold a student to a very high expectation could lead to decreased academic engagement and perpetuate a stereotype threat.

Following national trends, student diversity in Brown County is significantly different from teacher diversity. During the 2015-16 school year, 96.9% of county teachers were white, compared to 68.67% of students. This gap is widening over time. There is a much greater percentage of students identifying racially as Hispanic (10.4% -> 14.8%), two or more races (0% -> 4.1%), and black (4.7% -> 5.2%). [5] Alongside of individuals who identify as white, Asian and American Indians as a percent of total are dropping. Data projections show a considerable increase of Hispanic and African American students in Brown County’s public school system. The projections to 2019 show that as the Non-Hispanic White population decreases, Hispanic and African American populations will increase. [6] The growing diversity of the student body and lack of diversity among teachers in Brown County will be an important thing to keep in our minds as we research student achievement going forward.





[1] Holt, S. B., & Gershenson, S. (2015). The Impact of Teacher Demographic Representation on Student Attendance and Suspensions. Institute of Labor Economics.

[2] Ahmad, F. Z., & Boser, U. (2014). America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color: Getting More Teachers of Color into the Classroom (Rep.). Washington D.C: Center for American Progress.

[3] Dilworth, M. E., & Coleman, M. J. (2014). Time for a Change: Diversity in Teaching Revisited (Rep.). National Education Association.

[4] Papageorge, N. W., Gershenson, S., & Kang, K. (2016). Teacher Expectations Matter. Institute of Labor Economics.

[5] ABC analysis of data; retrieved from (WISEdash Enrollment CURRENT) and (WI DPI’s Salary, Position, & Demographic Reports)


Achieve Brown County selected as beneficiary of the 2018 Schreiber Charity Golf Classic

Achieve Brown County is incredibly excited and thankful to announce that we have been selected as a beneficiary of the 2018 Schreiber Charity Golf Classic! The funds from this event will be used to support our work moving forward. Our community is very resource-rich, with hundreds of organizations doing great work to support the kids, youth, and young adults in Brown County. Achieve Brown County provides a common framework for working together and together we will work to amplify the impact of these existing organizations.

Together, we can make a big difference in our community. Thank you, Schreiber Foods!