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Juneau holds Graduation Matters summer summit in Bozeman

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Community-based dropout prevention efforts to take center stage

BOZEMAN – On Tuesday, June 18, Supt. Denise Juneau will bring together more than 150 school, community and business leaders from across the state who are focused on increasing the number of Montana students who graduate from high school prepared for college and careers. The morning will feature a TED Talks-esque program highlighting five strategies that are working to improve the graduation rate in Montana.

Tanya Tucker, senior vice president of community engagement for America’s Promise Alliance, will give the keynote address on Tuesday afternoon on why increasing graduation rates requires a community solution and how Montana and other states can work together to meet the goal of a national high school graduation rate of 90 percent by 2020.

“Graduation Matters communities are the driving force behind Montana’s increasing graduation rate,” Juneau said. “This summit is an opportunity for communities to learn from each other, gather new ideas, and be inspired to continue this important work.”

Summit topics include: developing effective school-business-community partnerships; incorporating student voices; developing effective tutoring programs; promoting college- and career-readiness, creating a positive school environment, and using data to support dropout prevention strategies.

The Office of Public Instruction was awarded $450,000 over three years from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to support community-based Graduation Matters initiatives. Currently, 33 communities have signed on as Graduation Matters communities. More than 70 percent of high school students now attend a school where there is a Graduation Matters initiative. Since the launch of Graduation Matters Montana in 2010, the graduation rate has risen from 80.2 percent in 2010 to 83.9 percent in 2012.

America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Through its Grad Nation campaign, America’s Promise mobilizes Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce.

Tanya Tucker serves as senior vice president, community engagement for America’s Promise Alliance, and is responsible for overseeing the community engagement elements of the Alliance’s Grad Nation Campaign, including leading the Grad Nation Community Summits and the Grad Nation Communities Network, a network of over 70 communities around the country working collaboratively to increase high school graduation rates and achieve better outcomes for young people.

School and community leaders from the following communities are attending the Graduation Matters Montana Summer Summit: Anaconda, Belgrade, Billings, Bozeman, Box Elder, Bridger, Browning, Charlo, Columbia Falls, Corvallis, Eureka, Fort Shaw, Great Falls, Hamilton, Hardin, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Lame Deer, Laurel, Lewistown, Lincoln, Livingston, Miles City, Missoula, Polson, St. Ignatius, Shepherd, Stevensville, Townsend and Wolf Point.

Tuesday, June 18, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Montana State University, The SUB, Ballroom A, Bozeman, Mont.

The GRAD Talks Montana program will stream live on the Graduation Matters Website,

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