October 14, 2013 – Graduation Matters

Graduation Matters.   This notion of Graduation Matters is important to all of us:  OUR KIDS, OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR FUTURE.  The District is committed to sending students out into the world ready for college, career and citizenship.  The only way that we can say “mission accomplished” is to ensure every student has a high school diploma.  That is why the District has partnered with United Way and other groups to establish and deploy Graduation Matters Great Falls.

Graduation does matter.  Did you know that dropouts aren’t eligible for 90% of the jobs in the USA?  That 75% of the crimes are committed by dropouts?  That dropouts are 8 times more likely to be incarcerated than those with a diploma?  These are dead end statistics.  On the other hand, we know that a diploma opens doors for college, good paying jobs and careers.  Graduation matters.

We were happy to announce last week that last year’s dropout rate was a 10-year low and that since 2010 we have more than cut the rate in half:  from 6.4% or 210 students to 2.47% or 112 students.  Yes we are celebrating, but in my mind, 112 former students are too many!  One is too many!  Our goal:  100% of our students graduating with a high school diploma.

Relationships are vital in keeping students engaged and attending school.  Every staff member, whether working in preschool, elementary school, middle school or high school, can have positive and empowering relationships with students.  Every staff member can pay attention to warning signs shown by a student veering off the path to graduation and can take action:  talk to the student, visit with the parents, notify the student’s counselor, etc.  The message:  stay in school; we will support you.

Every staff member can incorporate “Graduation Matters” thinking every school day of the year, not just during these beautiful crisp days of October.  Our kids, our community and our futures depend on it.


Tammy Lacey


P.S.  Have you made your contribution to United Way yet?  If yes, thanks.  If not yet, please take a moment to consider it.  We all win when we live united.