United Way for Greater Austin’s Target Graduation Program
By Dr. Robert Peters
United Way for Greater Austin is on a mission to bolster the education system and improve high school graduation rates in a district that features dramatic social stratification and low levels of scholastic achievement. To do this requires an understanding of why some students succeed where others fail, where hurdles are placed, and how to overcome them.
United Way for Greater Austin’s Target Graduation endeavor is contingent on timely and effective intervention at the middle-school level. Under their pilot program, MSM (Middle School Matters), students in three high-need schools, Decker, Mendez, and Webb, will be offered out-of-school help with behavioral management, tutoring, mentoring, case management and parent education. Though similar services have been offered by area organizations before, MSM is confident that their system will build a more cohesive relationship between out-of-class programs and their respective schools.
Effective out-of-school programs are particularly important for students in high-need schools, where many face the disadvantages of low cultural and social capital, poverty, and gatekeepers in both the educational system and the community. The United Way for Greater Austin has drawn up an extensive agenda for the development of their out-of-school action, funding ten organizations to back their plan. They have taken measures to ensure that MSM will be effective and expect to see higher graduation rates for the next generation of high school students. I am proud to take part in this initiative! Find out more here.