News & Research
Grad Nation Summit Focused on Increasing Graduation Rates
Monday, March 26, 2012 - Representatives from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership attended the 2012 Building a Grad Nation Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by America’s Promise Alliance in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University.
This annual event brings together community groups, educators, local and state leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses and youth to discuss the progress being made and remaining challenges in the nation’s efforts to increase high school graduation rates.
MENTOR is a partner with America’s Promise Alliance in its Grad Nation movement to end America’s high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Research shows that youth mentoring is an effective intervention for young people at risk of dropping out of high school; mentored youth have better school attendance, a better chance of going on to higher education and better attitudes toward school.
A 2012 update to the original Grad Nation report — Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic — includes information about the work State and Local Mentoring Partnerships, Big Brothers Big Sisters, City Year, Communities In Schools, Success Mentors of New York City, United Way and others are doing in locations coast to coast. The report references MENTOR’s Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, as well as the growing Quality Mentoring System developed and pioneered by Mass Mentoring Partnership and the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, and promotes the newly-released Mentor in a Box, which global entertainment company Viacom created with MENTOR and innovation Research & Training to help empower companies to understand the process and possibilities of strengthening their communities by engaging in youth mentoring.
Approximately 1,000 people attending the conference learned the latest research on the nation’s graduation rates and participated in workshops on topics such as expanded learning opportunities, the role of technology, post-secondary access and affordability, disconnected youth, early childhood education, education reform, working with minority, rural and military youth populations and the importance of data systems. Speakers included America’s Promise Alliance Founding Chairman General Colin Powell and Chair Alma Powell, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and George Lucas, Star Wars creator and chairman of The George Lucas Educational Foundation.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, the lost lifetime wages for students who did not graduate from high school in 2011 are estimated to be more than $330 billion. “There is economic and human crisis here that must be met with rigor, urgency and ingenuity,” said MENTOR’s Chief Executive Officer David Shapiro. “Because educational achievement stems from healthy development, we must continue to create structures that introduce and support quality relationships into the lives of young people and connect the adults in their various contexts to support them in their development so they can push the bounds of their potential. When this holistic, relationship-centered approach is pursued, as highlighted by Grad Nation, it is possible to make huge gains in educational attainment collectively.”
The Grad Nation Summit was supported by Premier Sponsors State Farm, AT&T, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Target, as well as Signature Sponsors Apollo Group, Casey Family Programs, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ford Foundation, Ford Motor Company, Intel Corporation, Lumina Foundation, National Cable & Telecommunications Association and Pearson Foundation.
For more information about the event, visit www.americaspromise.org/summit. For more information and resources on quality youth mentoring and MENTOR’s network of Mentoring Partnerships, visit www.mentoring.org.
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