Posted: Jan 16, 2013 12:36 PM by Angela Douglas - MTN News
HELENA - Montana's high school graduation rate continues to improve, as the number of students dropping out of school is on the decline.
Superintendent Denise Juneau released the 2012 Graduation and Dropout Report Wednesday morning. In the 2011-2012 school year, the number of dropouts decreased by more than 130 students and the graduation rate increased nearly 2% to about 84%.
Back in the 2008-2009 school year, nearly 2,500 Montana students dropped out of high school. Four years later, that number dropped to just over 1,800 students in the 2011-2012 school year.
"Making dropout prevention a statewide priority is paying off for Montana students and communities." said Juneau in a Wednesday press released. "Every student we are able to keep from dropping out of school or who is inspired to continue their education after high school benefits not only that individual, but the entire state."
Superintendent Juneau also announced Wednesday the availability of $150,000 in grants from the Graduation Matters Challenge Fund to support new and existing Graduation Matters initiatives. Each grantee will be awarded up to $10,000 to replicate successful dropout prevention strategies.
Juneau launched the Graduation Matters effort in the spring of 2010 to ensure Montana's public schools graduate more students prepared for college and careers. The program was based on a Missoula initiative that has helped to bring down dropout rates.
Missoula high school's now have the lowest dropout rates of any of the Class AA schools in the state.
The grant application deadline for this year is February 26.
There are now 28 communities involved in a Graduation Matters Montana initiative: Anaconda, Belgrade, Billings, Box Elder, Bozeman, Browning, Butte, Corvallis, Great Falls, Hamilton, Hardin, Havre, Heart Butte, Helena, Kalispell, Lame Deer, Laurel, Lewistown, Libby, Livingston, Miles City, Missoula, Polson, St. Ignatius, Stevensville, Thompson Falls, Townsend and Wolf Point.