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Grant to Target Ways to Boost Graduation Rates at 5 DeKalb Schools

The grant will help JAG reach more youth at risk of dropping out of school, say DeKalb Schools leaders.

A grant from AT&T will allow programs to mentor, tutor and support at-risk students at five DeKalb County high schools. File|Patch
A grant from AT&T will allow programs to mentor, tutor and support at-risk students at five DeKalb County high schools. File|Patch
From the DeKalb County School District website:

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond recently announced that five DeKalb County high schools will participate in the Jobs for Georgia’s Graduates program.

The five high schools schools are: Cross Keys High School, Clarkston High School, Lithonia High School, Ronald E. McNair High School, and Towers High School.

Jobs for America’s Graduates and AT&T are working together to help raise the high school graduation rate in DeKalb Schools by enhancing academic support for students at risk of dropping out of high school. AT&T has contributed $1 million in an effort to expand the JAG program nationally, and Jobs for Georgia’s Graduates has been a beneficiary of that gift.

JAG programs help underserved students overcome barriers to graduation through mentoring, tutoring, academic support and links to social services. With a high school diploma or General Educational Diploma, students are guided into post-secondary education, entry-level careers or the military.

The DeKalb County School District is the third-largest district in the state serving nearly 100,000 students. Superintendent Thurmond, a former Georgia Commissioner of Labor for three terms, worked closely with the JGG program during his time as labor commissioner.

“I’ve seen the impact of Jobs for Georgia’s Graduates, serving disadvantaged students to help them finish high school and move on to postsecondary education and a career,” said Thurmond. “I want to bring the JGG program to our schools in DeKalb County to share that opportunity for success with our high school students that need it the most.”

“JGG is wonderful program that has helped remove barriers for students and increased graduation rates across Georgia. Superintendent Thurmond should be commended for his dedication to the students of DeKalb County and I’m excited about our continued partnership providing students the tools they need for future success,” said Georgia’s Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler.

The Jobs for Georgia’s Graduates program operates in 22 schools elsewhere in the state. Last year, the program boasted a 96-percent graduation rate and 87-percent successful outcomes, meaning students went on to post-secondary education or employment.

“We are encouraged by the recent news that for the first time we are on a path to reach a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020 , but we also know there is more work to be done,” said Beth Shiroishi, president of AT&T Georgia and former president of the AT&T Foundation. “Bringing to scale programs like JAG that are making a measurable impact on the students that need it most is one of the key ways we can stay on track to meet our graduation goal.”

In 2012, JAG’s network of affiliates reported a 93-percent high school graduation rate, compared to the national graduation rate of 78.2 percent. Currently, the JAG model is offered in nearly 1,000 public high schools, community colleges, and alternative learning centers in 31 states.

David Brown June 12, 2014 at 08:02 PM
I pray that the program will succeed at the five schools.

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