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Rotarians inspire students to stay in school

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2016 Rotary presentation at Freedom High

A partnership between Albuquerque area Rotary Clubs, Mission: Graduate, and several Albuquerque Public Schools high schools is helping students to understand the value of their educations.

1,475 surveys showed that more than a half of the students recognized the importance of graduating high school after a series of presentations about the value of staying in school. More than a third of the students found the presentations educational, citing that setting a budget and getting the education and job that provides a means to meet financial needs for a lifestyle of their choosing is important.

During the fall 2018 semester, 35 Rotarians spoke with approximately 2,800 students at seven APS high schools about the importance of staying in school. Another 30 Rotarians have been trained or have assisted in coordination.

During Stay-in-School conversations, Rotarians speak with students about the benefits of having a diploma as compared dropping out, setting up a budget based on lifestyle expectations, and share their personal experiences on the way to their current life position.

This partnership is an important step in addressing the problem of low high school graduation rates in our community,” says Skip Cowan, Past President of The Rotary Club of Albuquerque. “We all want our young people to have an opportunity to succeed in life’s endeavors and a high school diploma is an essential element in that quest.”

In 2016, as one of Mission: Graduate’s original councils, The Rotary Club of Albuquerque, with Mission: Graduate’s support, reignited the Stay-in-School curriculum as a demonstration project. The Mission: Graduate team coordinated the logistics and made connections with the schools, while Rotarians provided training and delivered presentations to 1,500 students and in 2017, they spoke with 1,200 students.

After analysis of the demonstration process, a new model emerged whereby individual Rotarians developed a working relationship with a school. In this role the Rotarian managed logistics, volunteer recruitment and training, and presentation delivery. Mission: Graduate continued to support the work by providing data analysis of survey results.

Through a survey, a Del Norte ninth grade student says,

One thing I learned today is that you should not drop out of high school and should graduate because you are going to have better opportunities.”

The Stay-in-School curriculum supports Mission: Graduate’s college and career readiness strategy. Aligned work helps multiple organizations work toward achieving the same goal.

Rotary Stay-in-School presentations are a great example of what it looks like to scale work,” says Teri Wimborne, Mission: Graduate’s director of collective impact. “They developed and piloted the idea, analyzed, made adjustments, then expanded the number of students reached. This type of increase is what we want to see across all our project work.”

Presentations were delivered at Del Norte, Freedom, La Cueva, Rio Grande, West Mesa, Highland, and Valley high schools.

Learn more about the partnership: Just can’t afford to drop out of school

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