Students use their power to raise grad rates

Graduation rates rise; students make a difference

We received an early present this year! Graduation rates are up again! We are thrilled to have partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools to increase the number of students who are graduating. According to new information released from the Florida Department of Education, Hillsborough County Public Schools’ graduation rate rose 3 points over last year.

Since 2013, the Alliance has facilitated Student Alliance for Public Schools programs in Hillsborough high schools. Schools have been added yearly for a current total of 12 high schools that participate in the program. The Student Alliance for Public Schools engages high school students in conversations around graduation and empowers them to identify and remove barriers to diplomas for themselves and their peers.

Our students review school data and surveys of their peers to identify issues that prevent students from being successful. Then, they design programs to help remove those barriers to success. They work with administration and faculty to facilitate change and/or add supports on their campuses. Once these students are entrusted to unleash their creativity and problem solving skills, wonderful things happen!

“We are so proud to be part of the successful effort to raise graduation rates in Hillsborough County Public Schools. The biggest gains were realized by schools where students are empowered to be part of the solution,” said Melissa Erickson, Executive Director of Alliance for Public Schools.

Many schools with Student Alliance groups made significant gains including Armwood, Lennard and Middleton High Schools. These schools share the Alliance’s philosophy that elevating student voice when designing and creating school policies fosters success.

“Even though we’re not adults, we try our best to make sure kids are on the path to success so they can graduate,” said Michael Ortega, who participated in the Student Alliance and graduated from Blake High School in June.

We encourage the public to join this effort to raise graduation rates. We invite you to save the date for the 2017 GradNation Community Summit on March 2nd. This will be our third annual GradNation Community Summit. Student Alliance members will join school officials, teachers and community members to continue the work to guarantee diplomas for all. We hope to see you there!

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