NOTICE: This website is no longer updated, as the Decade of Difference initiative has reached its sunset date. Relevant information has been transferred to the main HCOE site.

Vision & Goals

The future health of North Coast families and communities is being threatened by the lack of a well educated and prepared citizenry to meet the challenges in the global economy. The economic safety net that was here for generations for workers without a strong educational foundation is gone. We need to roll up our sleeves and solve this problem ourselves without relying on the State or Federal government.

Completing high school and having at least some education and training beyond high school is absolutely necessary to survive, thrive and be a contributing member in our society. We must set high expectations for our youth and provide them with challenging coursework and engaging activities.

The percentage of our Kindergarten through 4th grade students who are proficient in reading and math is less than 50%. This is unacceptable. Although better than the state average, our high school drop-out rate of over 15% is unacceptable. For those who do complete high school, less than half continue their education. This is also unacceptable.

The solution is clear. We must commit to a long term focused set of strategies to increase achievement rates, increase high school completion rates and increase the continuing education rates of our youth to reverse these sobering trends and prepare our youth to be competitive in the global marketplace. We have that focus and we have momentum. The 10 year Decade of Difference Community Initiative is tackling this problem head on.

Vision Statement

The community will unite and engage in long term strategies to prepare our youth to be successful contributing members in our community.


  • 100% of 4th grade students will demonstrate grade level mastery in Reading and Math
  • 95% of entering high school freshmen will graduate with a high school diploma; and,
  • 90% of high school graduates will continue their education and enroll in a post-secondary educational program.


As a result of achieving these goals, we will have a ready, willing and capable workforce for local employers. There will be increased opportunities for young adults to engage in viable employment and small business opportunities. Entrepreneurship will become a part of the culture for our youth. We will see an improved standard of living in our region evidenced by decreased reliance on social services, decreased youth and young adult criminal activity and decreased poverty rates. Most importantly, there will be a culture where parents, schools, businesses and the broader community are working together to set high standards and expectations for our youth.


  • We will ensure early success for children 0-8 years of age;
  • We will prepare students for success in college and careers;
  • We will promote financial literacy and savings;
  • We will engage our parents, businesses, schools and community members in the Initiative;
  • We will involve our youth in activities promoting creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship; and,
  • We will support our current and aspiring teachers in high-quality professional development and teacher training.
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