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Donna Rodrigues

program director, Early College Initiative, Jobs for the Future

Donna Rodrigues is a Program Director for the Early College Initiative at Jobs for the Future in Boston, Massachusetts. For 35 years prior to this position, she was an outstanding and well-recognized leader in public education. Her success as the founding principal of University Park Campus School (UPCS), a public school collaboration with Clark University, has been well documented by CNN, and featured in the *New York and LA Times*, and *the Christian Science Monito*r. Recently named the highest performing high school in Massachusetts, and ranked number 68 in the top 100 high schools in the country in Newsweek, UPCS is existence proof that the achievement gap for students of color, students living in poverty, and students who are English Language Learners can be challenged and defied. The schools population, students from the most economically challenged part of the city, enters the seventh grade with skills 3 to 4 years behind grade level. These same students have scored advanced or proficient on the states graduation required exam (MCAS), and have been accepted to, and are attending college. The accomplishment is outstanding and exemplary of what can happen. Donna speaks across the country about the challenges and outcomes of a prep school education for all.