The High School Graduation Blueprint Project is the new approach by United Way to invest community resources intended to make long term, tangible and sustainable change.
The goal is a higher on-time high school graduation rate.
Education, especially high school graduation, is a community-wide concern. In the vast majority of cases, high school dropouts are more likely to earn less than graduates over a lifetime, more likely to go to prison and more likely to receive public assistance.
Through multidimensional strategies designed to bolster graduation rates initially in Glynn County and later in McIntosh, United Way will strengthen Education, Income, and Health (the pillars of a good life). Strategic partnerships, community vision and addressing gaps in public services will help meet this community goal.
United Way will improve the high school graduation rate through early identification of students at risk of dropping out, engaging students in learning, supporting education within the family, leveraging community supports and connecting teachers, students and families with resources. These strategies, coupled with community collaboration, will support teens graduating from high school on time.
ABOUT THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION BLUEPRINT PROCESS
United Way of Coastal Georgia is working to advance the common good by making measurable change in our community. Our mission is to magnify and focus the power of community resources to address our most pressing social needs. The blueprint process represents a new approach for how we will invest the resources that support our work on behalf of the community with the intent of making long-term, sustainable change.
The process of developing this blueprint began with a community needs survey conducted by the University of Georgia in which they asked the community what mattered most. The results were clear: educating our youth was the most important human care issue facing coastal Georgia.
Once we knew the issue, we set about developing the plan.
The process will be rigorous, but also inclusive and transparent. Community leaders will work with scores of professional human service providers and topic experts to develop the Blueprint. And we are committed to ensuring that the voices of those we serve are a part of the process as well. We will focus on approaches that are proven to work and evidence based.
In November, 2012 we will present the work of the Blueprint Commission to the full community and begin the exciting and challenging process of significantly improving high school graduation rates. And more importantly, together we will significantly improve the quality of life for Coastal Georgia’s youth and the future economic success of our region.
High School Graduation: A Call to Action
According to the Georgia Family Connections Partnership, 27.5% of Glynn County students failed to graduate high school on time in 2010 (252). Additionally, between years 2005-2009, 11.6% of teens aged 16-19 were not in school and not working.
Furthermore, the “Kids Count” Report for Glynn County shows that in 2010 more than 8% of school-aged children were absent from school 15 days or more.
The Alliance for Excellence in Education reports that most dropouts are already on the path to failure in the middle grades and engage in behaviors that strongly correlate to dropping out in high school. Various researchers have identified specific risk factors, such as low attendance or a failing grade, which can identify future dropouts—in some cases as early as sixth grade.
Academic success in ninth grade course work is highly predictive of eventual graduation; it is even more telling than demographic characteristics or prior academic achievement. Unfortunately, many students are not given the extra support they need to successfully make the transition to high school. As a result, over one third of all dropouts are lost in ninth grade.
Both academic and social engagement is integral for successfully navigating the education pipeline. Research shows that a lack of student engagement is predictive of dropping out, even after controlling for academic achievement and student background.
So what is the cost of failure?
According to Georgia Southern University, the direct county-wide loss of income, as measured by the difference between the annual earnings of a person with a high school education and a person without a high school education, is an estimated $120,544 per year.
The total lifetime loss of revenue potential for these Glynn County youth is estimated at $65,520,000.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, a five percent (5%) increase in male graduation rates could save Glynn County:
· $1,173,000 in crime related spending each year,
· $3,170,000 in health care costs.