GRAD Partnership Names North State Together a Spotlight Intermediary

Network of Northern California Cradle-to-Career Organizations Helps Schools in the Region Adopt Student Success Systems

February 16, 2024 |

PRESS CONTACT: Patricia Balana,, 240-888-6259

February 14, 2024 –The GRAD Partnership for Student Success is pleased to announce its first Spotlight Intermediary, North State Together. The network of Northern California cradle-to-career organizations was chosen for its efforts to help schools across the region implement student success systems to better support the academic progress, college and career transitions, and well-being of all students.

Northern California’s rural communities, like many across the nation, face particular challenges to educational access and success – from high transportation costs to funding gaps. North State Together – a regional hub of theRural Schools Collaborative – convenes K-12, higher education, and employment-focused organizations across the region to address those challenges. The network joined the GRAD Partnership as an official Intermediary in June 2022.

“As a community-driven organization with a history of bringing in resources, models, and support to schools, North State Together is a perfect fit for a GRAD Partnership Intermediary,” said Patricia Balana, managing director of the GRAD Partnership. “Schools know them, trust them, and can easily share data with them.”

Real-time, actionable data is critical for helping schools make informed decisions about student needs, but many rural schools don’t have the capacity to regularly gather and monitor data. To address this challenge, North State Together developed a shared measurement system that gives all schools and districts within the region access to the data they need to set their students up for success. Individualized dashboards help each school collect, analyze, and use data on student achievement from kindergarten readiness to employment in their continuous improvement efforts. North State Together provides technical assistance and staff capacity to partners who need ongoing support with data collection and monitoring.

Susan Schroth, Director of GRAD Partnership and Operations Manager for North State Together.

“We want our students to succeed, we want our families to be healthy and vibrant, and we want to learn from each other,” said Susan Schroth, GRAD Partnership Intermediary project facilitator for North State Together. “We can do so much more working together than we can separately, and our role as a GRAD Partnership Intermediary has increased our collective impact.”

As a GRAD Partnership Intermediary, North State Together convenes a cohort of ten schools in the region committed to implementing student success systems. Though some schools are hundreds of miles apart, the cohort model fosters a close-knit virtual learning community to share ideas and navigate challenges unique to their rural communities. Student success systems are an effective strategy for rural communities because they offer a framework for continuous improvement that is adaptable to each school’s individual context and needs, while emphasizing a holistic approach that brings all members of a school community together, the network’s leaders say.

“Student success systems emphasize shared ownership,” said Billy Miller, dean of extended education at North State Together. “Student success is not just one person’s responsibility. It takes the student, it takes the parent, it takes the teacher, it takes the basketball coach. We all need to work together to ensure a successful future for our youth."
GRAD Partnership Spotlights are national examples of how to implement and sustain one or more of the components of student success systems: strong, supportive relationships; real-time, actionable, holistic data; strategic improvement actions; and student-centered mindsets. Spotlight Intermediaries are recognized for exceptional commitment to serving their communities through scaling student success systems.

About The GRAD Partnership The GRAD Partnership for Student Success is a collaborative, national effort partnering with communities to use high-quality student success systems so that schools are empowered to graduate all students ready for the future. The Partnership is a joint effort between nine organizations and institutions: Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, American Institutes for Research, BARR Center, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Network for College Success at the University of Chicago, Rural Schools Collaborative, Schott Foundation for Public Education, and Talent Development Secondary. Learn more at

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