State Superintendent Denise Juneau announced the award of 21 grants to 22 Montana schools to increase the number of Montana students who graduate from high school prepared for college and careers, for a total of $150,000 to support Graduation Matters initiatives across the state. Stevensville Public Schools is being awarded $9,500 to launch Graduation Matters Stevensville. The Office of Public Instruction was awarded $450,000 over three years from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to support community-based Graduation Matters initiatives.
Superintendent Juneau stated, “Stevensville is one of twelve new communities to launch a Graduation Matters initiative this year. The Stevensville School District is reaching out to a broad section of the community to put a team together to increase their graduation rate and raise expectations for all students. This is the kind of support that students need to be successfully prepared for college and the 21st century workforce.”
The Stevensville School District has set a goal to decrease its dropout rate from 5.7% to 3% by the end of the 2013 school year. Graduation Matters Stevensville is going to use its Challenge Fund grant to build school and community partnerships, increase parent engagement, provide additional opportunities to students through its advisory program, after-school tutoring program and Freshman Orientation, develop a community-based dropout prevention plan, support “I Pledge to Graduate” activities and raise the profile of Graduation Matters Stevensville. An AmeriCorps position will assist in implementing their plan.
In 2010, Juneau launched a statewide initiative, Graduation Matters Montana, to address the state’s dropout rate and to ensure that Montana students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, the lost lifetime earnings in Montana from dropouts this year alone total nearly $830 million. The economy of Montana would see a combination of crime-related savings and additional revenue of about $19.6 million each year if the male high school graduation rate would increase by just 5 percent.
2011 Graduation and Dropout Data for Stevensville Public Schools
For additional information about Graduation Matters Montana, dropout and graduation reports and other communities receiving Challenge Fund grants, go to: http://graduationmatters.mt.gov/press.