SUCCESS Program Wins Crystal Star Award

The SUCCESS Program of the Des Moines Public Schools recently received the prestigious 2009 National Dropout Prevention Center/Network’s Crystal Star Program Award of Excellence in Dropout Recovery, Intervention, and Prevention.

Annually, the NDPC/N recognizes three programs from across the country with a Crystal Star Award of Excellence for significant contributions to the advancement of the mission of the NDPC/N. Programs must have been in existence for at least three years, have an evaluation component showing clear evidence of accomplishments contributing to effective dropout prevention strategies and work, and have implemented at least five of the 15 effective strategies of the NDPC/N.

“Strategies implemented by the SUCCESS Program include school-community collaboration, safe learning environments, family engagement, early literacy development, mentoring/tutoring, and after school and summer opportunities,” said Margaret Jensen Connet, SUCCESS Program manager, “but the panel of judges was most impressed with our family engagement and year-round programming, and the outcomes the program has achieved.”


The SUCCESS Program is a school-based youth services program offered year-round in 30 schools for families with children prenatal through age 20. Research-based services include intensive case management, drug and violence prevention, parenting education, and after school and summer programs. Forty-two case managers provide support for children and families in the areas of education, employment, mental health, health, substance abuse, mentoring, basic needs and recreation. The program’s goal is to prepare children to enter school ready to learn, succeed in school, and graduate. Most recently, 95 percent of high school students served by the program stayed in school. The SUCCESS Program was instrumental in the Des Moines Public Schools’ Reach Out to Dropouts re-engagement effort that brought back to school more than 150 students who had dropped out of school the prior year.

About NDPC/N

Located at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, the mission of the NDPC/N is to increase high school graduation rates through research and evidenced-based solutions.