United Way coordinates the effort between key community members and partners who can positively affect the graduation rate. Raising our graduation rates is an issue that everyone in the community has a role in achieving. Each network consists of people who represent partners in our community that already work in these areas.
Being ready for kindergarten sets our children up for success all the way through school. There are so many ways a parent can work on getting their student ready; reading every day, playing games, practicing shapes, and storytelling are just a few of the ways. Kindergarten Readiness is measured by the Alaska Development profile which looks at 13 indicators in five measures of learning. But currently, only 42% of our kids entering Kindergarten are ‘Kindergarten ready’.
This network has been working to improve the quality and quantity of parent and child interactions for families with children that are five and under. We have targeted the neighborhoods of Fairview, Williwaw, Mountain View and Tyson elementary schools with the goal of increasing the number of children who are kindergarten ready. Families in those neighborhoods are receiving books from Imagination Library, information about family engagement events like Countdown to Kindergarten, and increased outreach efforts.
Click here for our 2016 Kindergarten Readiness Report
8th Grade Math
This network aims to increase school attendance and help children in academic areas by providing enriching afterschool programming and supportive relationships to children. The partners are focusing on student groups that data shows are most vulnerable to falling behind in school. They are also instituting a common program quality assessment so that the most effective program practices are shared and expanded.
They will be leading a campaign called ‘I Use Math’ to help students see the importance of math in their future careers. According to the Anchorage School District data dashboard, students receive F’s in math more than any other class. Community members like you can get involved by making short videos about how you use math in your job. We want students to know that math will always be important to learn no matter what they decide to do with their future.
If students fall behind and aren’t getting the credits they need in their 9th grade year, they are much more likely to drop out in the following years. By measuring a student’s current credits, GPA, and attendance, we can determine if a student is on track for graduation. In 2015, only 60% of all Anchorage high school freshman were considered on track.
Youth Task Force
The 90% by 2020 Graduation Youth Task Force is a group of dedicated high school students from East High School, West High School and Bartlett High School who are working towards raising the graduation rate in Anchorage. They have focused on the importance of attendance and have created a video for parents that features other parents in the community, many of whom are speaking in their native language. In addition, they created and gave presentations to their peers about why it is important for them to be in school, and to their teachers about why it is important to have solid teacher/student relationships.