Arizona: WestEd

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WestEd logoDespite numerous attempts at state education reform, little progress has been made in moving the needle on high school graduation rates in Arizona. One in five young people in Arizona has not completed high school, and a similarly large proportion of young people in the state are disconnected from education and employment. The data is clear: Arizona is failing to ensure that all of its young people are adequately prepared for adult success. With support from the GradNation State Activation initiative, WestEd—a nonprofit research, development, and service agency that works to promote excellence, equity and improved outcomes for children, youth and adults is the sponsor and project manager of the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable. WestEd will work with the Mayors Education Roundtable to increase graduation rates in 16 Arizona cities.

With the mayors’ leadership, each of the 16 communities will create their own specific targets and strategies to increase high school graduation rates. WestEd will provide convening support to form 16 cross-sector partnerships among mayors, school boards, superintendents and community-based organizations. They will provide technical assistance and strategic advice to these communities to create specific targets and action plans for increasing high school graduation rates. They’ll also provide opportunities for these communities to work together and share best practices through regional and state summits.

More News from Arizona

A new report from the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable projects that high school non-completion and disconnected youth will cost the state upwards of $100 billion. Here’s how three Arizona communities are keeping young people on track towards completion, connection, and prosperity.
The headlines go all the way back to 2006, when NBC News reported that adults in Houston were knocking on the doors of young people who had dropped out and encouraging them to return. Since then, similar approaches have taken root all across the country, and while the local media always covers the community’s hard work and dedication, their success rates don’t always make headlines.
One day last month some young people who had dropped out of school in Tucson, Arizona, received a true wake-up call. They answered the door to find the school superintendent, the mayor or another local big shot standing there, urging them to re-enroll.
America’s Promise Alliance officially launched the Dropout Prevention Campaign on April 1, 2008. The goals of the Dropout Prevention Summits are to raise awareness of the high school dropout crisis and to bring together partners from multiple sectors, including education, state and local government, and business, to address the issue. In total, the Alliance will sponsor 103 summits: one in each of the 50 states and 53 additional summits in local communities. The Alliance is getting off to a running start in 2010 with eight summits scheduled to take place in January.