During the TCCC Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting on June 15, 2016, the following update on the High School Graduation Network was provided by Brian Derreberry, President & CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. (The Chamber serves as Convening Partner for the HSGN.)
GOAL: Increase high school graduation of career and college ready students
APPROACH: To align all public high school stakeholder groups around increasing the region’s high school graduation rate
- The Network and Guiding Team have been up and running for 15 months with their primary focus being to gain a greater understanding of the factors that are leading to students in regional high schools dropping out.
- John Read/Mary Graham have assessed progress to date and agreed to “hit the re-set” button in moving to specific strategies and actions to improve the graduation and readiness rates.
- Mary Graham will meet one-on-one with members of the Guiding Team, over the next two to three weeks, to ask for their continued commitment and get input into where they think the Network should focus its strategies and targeted program efforts.
- Guiding Team meetings will be held in July and August of 2016 with the full Network meeting in September. The Guiding Team will work to identify goals and objectives to present to the Network for discussion, agreement and subsequent implementation during the upcoming school year.
- We will complete the research already underway of “collecting voices” from students.
- We will complete the best practices of efforts within high schools in the region to help at risk students successfully graduate.
- We will be distributing a teacher survey to gain their input and will distribute through the teachers involved in the Career Academies as one means of distribution.
- Our plan is to take the five areas identified at the October 2015 Network meeting and ensure we are building upon that work and identify and implement projects/strategies around the five areas. (Five areas include: (1) Ensuring students have caring, compassionate adult support; (2) developing and providing mental health resources and support; (3) advocacy for Graduation rate options; (4) creating effective community partnerships; and (5) special needs students’ support).
- Current projects underway that were identified at the April Network meeting will continue:
- Researching and developing a robust mentoring system
- Inventorying non-profits within the Network already involved in area high schools and talk to them about the needs/gaps they see within the schools
- The Chamber’s Advocacy team will convene a group of educators, Trident United Way and others this summer to outline a legislative agenda around education. The plan will be both near-term and long-term legislative objectives.