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State dropout prevention program gets $450K grant

2012-01-12T00:05:00Z State dropout prevention program gets $450K grantBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
January 12, 2012 12:05 am  • 

More communities in Montana will be able to join the Graduation Matters initiative thanks to a six-figure check from a Missoula-based foundation.

State Superintendent Denise Juneau received the first of three installments on the $450,000 grant to help to improve Montana’s graduation rate from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Wednesday.

The check for $150,000 will allow more Montana communities to work to lower school dropout rates.

“This is one area of challenge we really need to address,” Juneau said during a news conference Wednesday.

The word is getting out about the Graduation Matters program, and Juneau says she receives calls from communities around the state weekly asking if they can participate. 

Helena is one of 11 communities involved in the program. The grant money will assist 10 to 15 additional communities each year for three years. Those accepted will be awarded up to $10,000 to replicate successful dropout prevention strategies.

Juneau said key components required for successful applicants include the ability to bring together stakeholders to look at data and formulate a plan. Details of the strategy will look different in each community.

“Montanans continue to respond to the call to lower the dropout rate and improve Montana’s economic future,” Juneau said. “All the stakeholders in these communities understand that graduation matters. The Washington Foundation’s investment in Montana’s students is going to pay off for years to come.”

“Investing in the community-based efforts focused on improving the achievement of all students is the single-most important investment we can make in our children,” said Mike Halligan, executive director of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.  “Developing Graduation Matters programs in school districts across the state sends a message to our children that we care about them and their future.”

Juneau’s Graduation Matters launched in 2010 and aims to cut the dropout rate in half by 2014. That would mean reducing the number of dropouts statewide by about 1,000. There are approximately 10,000 high school graduates in Montana each year.

The initiative was inspired by a similar effort in Missoula led by Superintendent Alex Apostle, which boosted the district’s graduation rate from 80 percent to 87 percent.

 

Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081, alana.listoe@helenair.com or Twitter.com/IR_AlanaListoe


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(3) Comments

  1. DeltaEpsilonKappa
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    DeltaEpsilonKappa - January 12, 2012 12:50 pm
    Sorry fivemsandme of the issues you encountered. But - I am a firm believer the parents are to ensure their kids stay in school. Not the system
  2. fivemsandme
    Report Abuse
    fivemsandme - January 12, 2012 8:31 am
    Really Delta! Although what you say in most cases is true. Let me tell you it is not always the case. I had a child quit school with 4 credits to go. I was always involved in my children's education from elementary on thru high school. The schools knew me and I knew the teachers and it still happened! Thankfully the Access to Success program started and she finished her education there. I know have another child attending this program as well. There is something going on in the schools in Helena and blaming the parents is not going to solve it. I went to the school and begged for help with this child to keep her there and they didn't offer me anything.
  3. DeltaEpsilonKappa
    Report Abuse
    DeltaEpsilonKappa - January 12, 2012 7:48 am
    The biggest influence on a child should be their parents and siblings. If you want to see dropout rates decline, then the parents are going to have to be more involved with their children. You can't send your kids to school and expect the school to do all the work in preparing them for life. Parents play a key role. I applaud the Washington's for wanting to help, but the parents must take on the responsibility for ensuring their children get the proper resources to graduate.

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