School and community initiatives
Here’s how some area Graduation Matters Montana initiatives plan to build student success:
- In Billings, United Way of Yellowstone County will use a $10,000 grant to decrease the number of students with credit deficiencies by 50 percent and to decrease the dropout rate by 7 percent by June 2015. Graduation Matters Billings will continue to improve their district-wide credit recovery program, support students with severe credit deficiencies in achieving a high school equivalency diploma (HiSET), build programs with demonstrated success in student engagement such as Jobs for Montana Graduates and Upward Bound, and continue to build and engage their school-community leadership team. The team will also work on a district strategy to address issues of attendance and implement an Early Warning System to keep students on track, focusing on kindergarten through eighth grade.
- In Bozeman, the school district will use an $8,000 grant to meet goals of reducing the dropout rate to 3 percent or below and decreasing the number of students who are credit deficient by 30 percent. Bozeman will increase community and business partnerships, continue to improve their Early Warning System and support students’ efforts to reduce credit deficiencies through the Montana Digital Academy, further develop a Student Support Center, and hire a Graduation Matters team leader to engage students and community leaders and coordinate efforts at the high school and middle schools.
- United Way of Gallatin County will use a $5,000 grant toward goals to increase the number of community and business partnerships by 25 percent, increase student leadership in their efforts and expand the team to include additional rural schools in the region. Graduation Matters Gallatin County will use its Challenge Fund grant to provide staff support to coordinate county-wide efforts.
- Graduation Matters Dawson County will use a $3,500 grant to help meet goals of decreasing the dropout rate by 2.5 percent and decreasing the number of credit deficient students by 2 percent by 2015. An increase in the number of students moving in and out of the community has resulted in an increase in the number of students with credit deficiencies. The team will address the credit deficiencies of all students by evaluating student data, implementing personalized education plans and offering credit recovery through the Montana Digital Academy. The team will implement a freshmen orientation to welcome new students to high school and create a welcoming high school environment. They will develop career and college readiness programs with the local Chamber of Commerce and Dawson Community College.
- Graduation Matters Hardin has set goals to reduce the dropout rate from 10.7 percent to 7.8 percent, reduce the number of students who are credit deficient to 50 students, and decrease the number of freshmen who do not earn enough credits to become sophomores by 50 percent. Hardin will start a Freshmen Academy, continue to offer credit recovery, tutoring and summer school opportunities, provide “Bulldog Buddy” mentoring to middle school students and continue to gather student feedback about school climate.
- Graduation Matters Laurel has a $5,000 grant to help with a a goal of reducing the dropout rate to 1 percent by 2018. Laurel will establish a “LINK Crew” mentoring program for freshmen to assist with their transition into high school, continue to offer credit recovery opportunities and the HiSet Options program, and increase business and community engagement.
- Graduation Matters Lewistown will use its $3,000 grant to help achieve goals of reducing the dropout rate below 2 percent by 2015, to work with 21 students on credit recovery, and to reduce the percentage of students who miss 10 or more days in one or more class each semester. Lewistown will provide college visit opportunities to nine of Montana’s college campuses.
- Graduation Matters Livingston, with a $10,000 grant, has set a goal to increase the graduation rate to 86 percent and decrease the percentage of students with credit deficiencies to 10 percent by 2015. Livingston will promote attendance and parent/community engagement in the elementary schools, provide mentoring activities and freshmen transition programs, expand the home visiting program, address school climate issues, convene the school-community “Rally Team” and to continue to work on a plan to redesign Livingston Public Schools.
- Lockwood received an $8,000 grant, becoming the first K-8 district awarded a Graduation Matters Montana grant. Lockwood has a goal to reduce the dropout rate of Lockwood students who drop out from Billings’ high schools by 10 percent, reduce the number of students who are credit deficient by 15 percent and increase community and business partnerships. Lockwood will institute the evidence-based “Check and Connect” program which centers around increasing student engagement through relationship building, monitoring educational progress, individualized interventions, encouraging participation in extracurricular activities and increasing family engagement.
- Graduation Matters Miles City received a $10,000 grant. It has a goal to reduce the dropout rate to 1 percent and cut the number of students with credit deficiencies in half by the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Miles City will continue their successful peer tutoring program, hire a Graduation Matters coach, support Career Clusters student groups, and continue the recently launched “Freshman Academy” on the first day of school.
For more information about Graduation Matters Montana, go to: