United Way continues toward 90 percent graduation rate goal
The goal was a 90 percent graduation rate in the Anchorage School District by the year 2020. When United Way of Anchorage set that mark in 2006, ASD's graduation rate was around 60 percent. Currently, that rate is 80.7 percent.
The United Way calls the program, "a community collaboration to increase and sustain Anchorage graduation rates."
In pursuit of the 90 percent graduation goal, the 90 by 2020 program has unveiled a new marketing campaign that encourages the community to look beyond labels often assigned to youth.
Cassandra Stalzer of United Way of Anchorage says there can be a misconception that a child is bad, when they are really in a bad situation.
"We know there are some students who experience out-of-school barriers that prevent them from being successful in school," Stalzer said. "These are usually students who experience poverty or instability, or enter kindergarten not ready to learn. 90 by 2020 is focused on those kids and providing out-of-school interventions to help those kids be successful."
United Way says the new campaign allows students to tell their stories, including one student working two jobs while attending school to help support their family.
Stalzer says the program is working. She also said ASD can use as much community support to rally around Anchorage students as possible.
"[In partnering with] Covenant House and the Anchorage School District, we've graduated 161 students [in the past 18 months] who would otherwise have dropped out," Stalzer said. "That's about 5 percent of your average graduating class in Anchorage... so that's real success."
People who want to get involved or learn more can visit 90by2020.org.
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