Written by Al Stover
The Wolf Point Junior/Senior High School will host a Graduation Matters/Montana/Wolf Point launch event, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m.
Community leaders, business owners, educators and families are encouraged to attend the event to support students in their journey toward graduation.
Denise Juneau, Montana State Superintendent of Schools, will be the featured keynote speaker at the event. Juneau will share her ideas to ensure that Montana schools are meeting the goals of Graduation Matters/Montana/Wolf Point. Other guests are also scheduled to speak at the event.
The Wolf Point High School Indian Club will provide refreshments.
For more information on the Graduation Matters/Montana/Wolf Point event, contact Joseph Paine, superintendent of Wolf Point School District.
Statistics And Figures
•Dropouts are more likely than high school graduates to be in poor health, living in poverty, on public assistance and single parents to children who also drop out of high school.
•Dropouts are eight times more likely to be in jail or prison than high school graduates.
•Dropouts are four times less likely to volunteer than college graduates, are twice as less likely to vote or participate in community projects and only represent only 3 percent of actively engaged citizens in the United States.
•In addition, workers who did not graduate from high school have an unemployment rate that is likely twice as high as someone who has a high school diploma.
•Nearly 80 percent of male inmates and 75 percent of female inmates at Montana State Prisons are high school dropouts.
•The lost lifetime earnings in Montana from dropouts in 2010 alone total nearly $830 million.
•Montana would save more than $29.8 million in health care costs over the lifetime of each class of dropouts.
•Almost 30 percent of Montana’s high school dropouts meet the federal definition of low-income, which is twice the rate of high school graduates. Montana’s high school graduates on average earn 22 percent more than high school dropouts after controlling for differences in age, gender and race. Those with some college earn 27 percent more and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher earn 66 percent more.
•The average high school dropout is earning $5,868 less per year than if they would have graduated. The total cost to Montana’s economy that results from reduced taxable earnings amounts to $216 million annually.
•Each prevented dropout will result in an estimated $32,402 benefits to the state over that individual’s lifetime. By permanently cutting the dropout rate in half, each class of new high school graduates will yield over $32 million in direct gross economic benefits to the state. By completely eliminating dropouts, the state stands to save $65 million annually.
What students can do to get involved with Graduation Matters/Wolf Point
1. Take the Pledge to graduate and encourage your classmates to join you.
2. Stay on the right track by knowing the graduation requirements for your school, college and career training.
3. Do your homework, study and don’t miss school.
4. Participate in extracurricular activities at school or through a youth organization in your community.
5. Volunteer, get an internship or find a part-time job that gives you skills that will benefit you in the workplace or college.
6. Participate in the I Pledge to Graduate campaign at your school or start one if your school does not have one.
7. Prepare for the future and challenge yourself academically.
8. Talk to your school counselor and family about your goals.
9. Find a mentor who can help you plan your future.
10. Take advantage of college preparation and career readiness resources and opportunities.
11. Make a difference and support your peers to make healthy and safe choices.
12. Participate in service learning projects.
13. Consider tutoring or mentoring a classmate or younger student.
14. Be kind and treat others with respect.
What Families Can Do To Help Students?
1. Create or join a task force for local businesses, parents, caregivers, students and community leaders to focus on graduation.
2. Help your child plan for the future and talk with them about requirements for their high school diploma and plans for graduation.
3. Help your child explore career and college options and collect as much information as possible.
4. Get involved in your child’s education by attending parent-teacher meetings and school events.
5. Get to know your child’s teachers, coaches, mentors and friends.
6. Volunteer at your local after-school program or youth organization.
7. Support other parents and caregivers.
8. Encourage others to make a difference.
What Educators Can Do To Help Students?
1. Identify and engage students at-risk of dropping out.
2. Institute an early warning system using indicators such as attendance ,behavior and credit deficiency to identify students at-risk of dropping out and create a strategy for re-engaging them.
3. Help students understand the financial impact of dropping out.
4. Make sure every student has one caring adult in their life.
5. Create a culture of high expectations.
6. Set the goal of a 100 percent graduation rate.
7. Launch an I Pledge To Graduate campaign in your school.
8. Incorporate college and career planning into classroom curriculum, provide scholarship and loan information and organize college tours and career fairs.
9. Identify and change policies that might prevent students from staying in school.
10. Invite in student voices and engage diverse perspectives on school climate and barriers to reaching graduation.
11. Open your doors to the community.
12. Promote volunteer opportunities that engage families and community partners at your school.
13. Be an advisor to a student group and incorporate service-learning activities into your curriculum.
14. Connect with youth-based organizations.