Juneau Promotes Community-Based Efforts to Reduce the Dropout Rate

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
By Allyson Hagen

Juneau Promotes Community-Based Efforts to Reduce the Dropout Rate:
Superintendent's Office Providing On-Line Resources, Planning and Material Support

Helena, MT – Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau has taken her initiative to graduate more students ready for college and careers on the road this summer, and her efforts to support community-based strategies to reduce the dropout rate have resulted in local Graduation Matters initiatives starting up across the state. 

"Montana's educators, parents, businesses and community leaders are responding to the challenge of improving the dropout rate and graduating students prepared for college and careers. In every community I visit, the support for our public schools and Montana students is clear. Montanans understand that the economic success and future of our state is directly tied to student success."

Superintendent Juneau focused her summer efforts to launch Graduation Matters initiatives in Montana's seven largest school districts and is currently working to expand the initiatives into smaller communities. Planning for the launch of Graduation Matters initiatives is currently underway in Billings, Bozeman, Belgrade, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell and Townsend. Missoula is in its second year of Graduation Matters Missoula.

Starting this fall, half of the high school students in Montana will have Graduation Matters initiatives in their communities.

In order to support schools in their efforts, the Office of Public Instruction launched its Graduation Matters Montana website and social networking sites and released the "Starting a Graduation Matters Initiative in Your Town" toolkit. Under Superintendent Juneau's direction, the Office of Public Instruction is engaging in an unprecedented effort to engage students online.

"As the agency that serves more than 141,000 students in grades K-12, it is one of my priorities to make sure we are including student voices in our advocacy and policy efforts. This generation spends a significant amount of their time online, and we have to reach students where they are and bring their voices into the debate."

As part of Graduation Matters Montana, Superintendent Juneau started the first-ever State Superintendent's Student Advisory Board. Forty students from thirty-one communities came together in the Fall and Spring to discuss dropout prevention and school climate issues. As a result of a recommendation of the Student Advisory Board, Superintendent Juneau is launching an "I Pledge to Graduate" campaign where students will make a pledge to themselves and a witness that they will graduate from high school.

Graduation Matters Montana website: graduationmatters.mt.gov
Download the "Starting a Graduation Matters Initiative in Your Town" toolkit.
Like Graduation Matters Montana on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.


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