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Post Secondary

Goal: Every student graduates from high school prepared for post-secondary education or career training.


SMART Targets:
Increase high school graduation at Muscatine County Schools within the Free and Reduced Lunch category from 79.9% in 2018 to 84.9% (21 students) by 2023.

Increase postsecondary enrollment within one year after high school of students of color from 60.1%* (92) to 70.1% (15 additional students) and students on FRL from 58.7%* (105) to 68.7% (18 additional students) by the class of 2023.

 Click HERE for Post Secondary Data.


Summer Melt
Aligned Impact Muscatine County believes that every kid deserves equal access to post-secondary education. We are committed to assisting in closing educational gaps. We do this by tackling multiple educational gaps with different strategies.

Each year many high school seniors who intend to go on to post-secondary education, (e.g. community college, university, or trade school), don’t attend in the fall for various reasons. Some of these reasons have been identified as a result of insufficient financial aid, missed administrative deadlines, lack of post-secondary knowledge and career exploration, or lack of support from family and friends. This phenomenon is referred to as summer melt.

As a result, Aligned Impact Muscatine County has worked together with multiple community organizations such as Muscatine Community School District, West Liberty Community School District, Eastern Iowa Community College, and Iowa State Extension and Outreach Muscatine County to bring this resource to the students and the community for a third year.

The program began June 1st and will continue through the summer. The services offered by the mentors are financial aid assistance, college enrollment, career building and exploration, and post-secondary mentorship. These services are offered online and in person. The students can set up appointments with mentors through text, calendar bookings, email, etc.

This year, we were awarded a grant from StriveTogether that made it possible for us to add extra mentors to the program. Our mentors are bilingual in English and Spanish and are able to accommodate the student’s schedules and meet with them at public places that are easily accessible to the students. Students that participated in the program last year highly benefited from financial aid assistance, post-secondary mentorship, and scholarship aid. Last year we were able to help 18 students and after all the efforts, we were able to access more than twenty-eight thousand dollars via scholarships for students to use for their education. We are on track to serve the same number of people again this year.

Course To College
One of our strategies this year was to bring back our post secondary workshop for a second year. This workshop incorporates data, student voices, and conversations with the hope to supply Muscatine High School and West Liberty high school staff and leaders with information regarding the efforts done in the schools to improve enrollment, graduation rates, educational programs, etc.

This information is presented to the staff to help them get a closer look of what has succeeded and what we can continue working on. Aside from data, we included student testimonials about their experience enrolling in institutions and what supported them throughout the process and what they felt could be useful for other students as well. After all the information was distributed, the workshop offered a space for conversations. These conversations led to goals that were shared amongst all groups that the participants were committing to follow through.

This workshop also was enriched by data learned at Post-Secondary + Workforce Convening in Baltimore provided by StriveTogether. Members from our postsecondary group were able to attend the convening and learn about adaptive challenges, how to develop plans for next steps, identify new opportunities to accelerate progress and more. One of the strategies that we are working on implementing is our civic influencers. A group of youth leaders that connect with fellow classmates and support their post secondary transition.

To keep supporting students through their secondary transitions, Aligned Impact Muscatine County was able to get a grant through the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine that helps provide students with Course to College events. Course to College is a program that supports high schools in creating a college-going culture across the state of Iowa through five steps: prepare, apply, finance, decide, and go.

Post Secondary Community Partnerships:
Eastern Iowa Community College
Iowa State Extension and Outreach Muscatine County
Muscatine Community School District
Upward Bound
West Liberty High School

Youth Boards
This year, Aligned Impact Muscatine County wanted to increase community involvement by uplifting youth voices. For that reason, AIM partnered up with community organizations in West Liberty to create a pilot for a youth advisory board. This pilot offered organizations the opportunity to gain a youth perspective while nurturing future community leaders. The community organizations have served as positive role models and motivate youth to become leaders and role models for others. This opportunity has created and benefited future contributing members of society by providing them with professional career experience and the opportunity to make a positive impact on the community. The pilot took place at the West Liberty High School, where 17 students were interviewed and then selected by one of the organizations of their choice.

We are also working on getting this program established in Muscatine schools. We have gathered a big response and interest from multiple organizations. We are also planning on pairing with the Muscatine Community College Silver/Blue Cord program to provide those students with the opportunity to provide youth voices to the community.

West Liberty Youth Board Community Partnerships:
Muscatine County Fair
UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Public Health
West Liberty Chamber of Commerce
West Liberty Public Library