Jan 11, 2012 1:41 PM by David Sherman

Graduation Matters Montana gets $450K boost

The Montana Office of Public Instruction has been awarded $450,000 to support community-driven efforts to increase the number of Montana students who graduate from high school.

The grant is from the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation and will be awarded over a three-year period.

In a press release, MT Superintendent Denise Juneau stated, "Montanans continue to respond to the call to lower the dropout rate and improve Montana's economic future. All the stakeholders in these communities understand that Graduation Matters. The Washington Foundation's investment in Montana's students is going to pay off for years to come. 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."

The grant will allow the Office of Public Instruction to start the Graduation Matters Montana Challenge Fund, assisting 10 to 15 new Graduation Matters communities each year for three years.

As many as 45 new communities will be added over the three-year timeframe, with each community awarded up to $10,000 to replicate successful dropout prevention strategies.

Mike Halligan, executive director of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, said, "Investing in community-based efforts focused on improving the achievement of all students is the single-most important investment we can make in our children. Developing Graduation Matters programs in school districts across the state sends a message to our children that we care about them and their future."

Graduation Matters Montana was launched in 2010 and aims to cut Montana's dropout rate in half by 2014.

Communities currently involved in a Graduation Matters Montana initiative are Billings, Bozeman, Belgrade, Butte, Great Falls, Hamilton, Helena, Kalispell, Livingston, Missoula, and Townsend.

Learn more at the Graduation Matters website.

Photo above from the Graduation Matters Twitter feed.


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