April 13, 2013 Press Release
Helena, MT - Superintendent Denise Juneau announced the award of 25 grants to Montana schools to increase the number of Montana students who graduate from high school prepared for college and careers, for a total of $165,000 to support local Graduation Matters initiatives across the state. The Office of Public Instruction was awarded $450,000 over three years from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to support community-based Graduation Matters initiatives. In addition, State Farm Insurance granted the OPI $15,000 to add to the GMM Challenge Fund Grants this year.
Superintendent Juneau stated, "These grants have helped jumpstart Graduation Matters initiatives across the state and are now supporting successful strategies that were implemented during the first year of the grant program. The statewide graduation rate is moving in the right direction due to the hard work happening at the local level across Montana."
Montana's graduation rate has improved from 80.2 percent in 2010 to 83.9 percent in 2012. In the 2011-2012 school year, the number of dropouts decreased by more than 130 students, and the graduation rate increased by 1.7 percent to 83.9 percent.
Stated Mike Halligan, Executive Director of the Washington Foundation, “As a major employer in Montana, Washington Corporation knows that an educated workforce starts with every student graduating from high school. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is pleased to be partnering with OPI, State Farm Insurance and communities across the state to develop effective, innovative strategies to increase our state’s graduation rate.”
In the first year of the Challenge Fund grant, Graduation Matters communities have focused on identifying students most at risk of dropping out, developing new dropout prevention strategies and interventions, building community support, and offering students college and career exploration opportunities. Graduation Matters communities have partnered with 250 local businesses and community organizations and reduced the credit deficiencies of more than 1,000 high school students.
Mike Miller, local agent for State Farm Insurance said, “State Farm is honored to support OPI’s efforts to engage schools, communities and local businesses in the effort to raise graduation rates in Montana. As State Farm’s CEO Edward B. Rust says, ‘We believe the success of the future lies in the youth of today.’”
For more information about Graduation Matters Montana, go to: http://gmm.mt.gov.
2013 GRADUATION MATTERS CHALLENGE FUND AWARDS
Box Elder, $5,000
Columbia Falls, $8,295
Great Falls, $10,000
Miles City, $10,000
St. Ignatius, $5,000
Thompson Falls, $5,000