Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oshkosh Area School District Participates in Wisconsin Graduation Summit

MADISON— The Oshkosh Area School District was one of 46 Wisconsin school districts participating in a statewide summit focused on raising high school graduation rates.

The Wisconsin Graduation Summit, a part of the national Dropout Prevention Campaign organized by America’s Promise Alliance, supported State Superintendent Tony Evers’s agenda of ensuring that every child graduates ready for further education and the workforce. The alliance is the educational foundation established by Colin Powell and his wife, Alma. Two additional corporate partners, State Farm Insurance and AT&T of Wisconsin, financially supported the summit.

“For this summit, we invited districts facing a range of challenges regarding graduation rates,” Evers explained. “Though these challenges are undeniably complex, we must surmount them—for the sake of our students and our communities. By learning from the effective strategies of our own schools and from the advice of national experts, we will find ways to make sure every child graduates ready for employment and future education.”

Researchers have been attempting to quantify the long-term impact on wages of the nation’s dropouts had they completed their high school education, as well as the contributions they would have made to their communities. A recent study estimated that dropout rates in the Milwaukee area alone cost the public an average of $7 million in lost tax revenue every year.

The March summit in Pewaukee featured educators, national experts, and youth sharing their experiences with successful strategies for dropout prevention, especially among students of color and students with disabilities. Twelve breakout sessions will be presented by Wisconsin educators, national researchers, and community-based organizations on a range of strategies to increase graduation rates. One of the plenary sessions will have students engaged in a conversation with educators about these issues.

To extend the reach of the presentations, the summit was videotaped and posted on-line for schools statewide. Oshkosh will be working with CESA#6 to plan post-summit activities to further the conversation they started at the summit.

“Dropping out of school not only affects our students and their families but the entire Oshkosh community. It is important that we continued to find alternative ways to ensure that in Oshkosh every student develops to his or her full potential and every student is a graduate” said Dr. Bette Lang, interim superintendent.

“The district is currently studying best practices in other districts and increasing the interventions provided to students as they enter high school. The district is also exploring partnerships with other educational agencies
such Fox Valley Technical College to provide additional educational opportunities for students at-risk for not graduating.”

Other graduation summit events included a welcome address by First Lady Jessica Doyle; an “Every Child a Graduate” call to action delivered by Evers; a business viewpoint on the importance of investing in Wisconsin’s future workers, presented by AT&T of Wisconsin President Scott VanderSanden; a keynote address from Sandra Covington Smith, a national dropout-prevention expert; and a video featuring Colin and Alma Powell.


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