In 1986 a Coalition was Formed to Reduce the North High School Dropout Rate
Over the Years, Many Projects Were Delivered
The Coalition Becomes a Non-Profit in 1989 to Facilitate Funding
The North Star Cross-Age Tutoring Program is Born in 1990
The Northwest Coalition for Better Schools was initiated in 1986 at North High School by community
leaders who were dismayed by the large dropout rate in their neighborhoods. They approached Lino
Gonzales, the new principal of North High, who agreed and asked, How can you help? Together,
they established this organization with the full participation of the administration and the high school's
Parents, principals, students, teachers, churches and businesses each formed their own Action
Groups, coordinated by a Steering Committee. NWCBS is community-focused on improving student
Efforts to improve graduation rates have been the impetus for the following projects during 20+ years
of existence: articulation between schools, ninth grade retention activities, community forums, conflict
resolution training, joint teacher/staff in-services, mobility and attendance projects.
Adapting to changing needs and budgetary constraints, NWCBS became its own non-profit
organization in 1989, governed by an independent board responsible for funding all projects.
Housed within the Denver Public Schools (DPS), the partnership exchanges in-kind support for
cooperative work on behalf of the at-promise children.
The Teacher Action Group initiated the Coalitions direct service program for reading
improvement in 1989. Their goal was to better prepare students to have the skills to graduate.
Students reading on grade level by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high
school! This gave rise to the cross-age tutoring program named the North Star After-School
Tutor/Mentor Program. Helping all children achieve this continues to be the over-arching goal
of the Coalition.
The North Star After-School Tutor/Mentor Program has been active since 1990. Designed
with the help of United Way to prevent early student deficits, older peer tutors are trained to
work directly with elementary children on reading skills and help them with homework to
reinforce the concepts taught during the day. Older students are supervised by classroom
teachers at elementary sites after school, meeting twice a week during the school year.
North Star has helped thousands of younger students and stimulated the maturity of
hundreds of middle and high school students as tutor/mentors. The tutors as well as the
tutored reap benefits.
Our current program focus is on increasing the training of the teachers and tutors on study
skills and barriers to learning, retaining the tutors for multiple years and further developing
their responsibility level and leadership skills.Today the Coalition is a well-established
organization with programs that have made a difference in student achievement.
Increased Literacy and Maturity for Thousands of Children