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May 02, 2014

Calgary ahead of curve on high school completion

A young woman poses after receiving her high school diplomaThe Alberta government’s latest school completion rates show progress for the province – and Calgary is already ahead of the curve with companies, school boards, governments and social agencies all collaborating to help kids graduate on time, says Lucy Miller, President & CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area.

“In recent years, school completion rates in Calgary have been slightly higher than the province as a whole,” says Miller. “Even so, in 2012, one in four Calgary students didn’t complete high school on time – approximately 3,000 kids. In a prosperous city where we are desperate for an educated workforce, this is unacceptable.”

“Calgarians have taken the initiative to address this issue head on. Working together, we’re making progress on the solution,” she adds.

In June 2013, working with partners throughout the city, United Way launched All In for Youth, a citywide initiative of people, companies and organizations focused on boosting school completion rates. All In for Youth aims to reduce high school dropouts in Calgary by 50% by connecting youth with the supports they need to achieve success.

On the ground, this means Calgary students are receiving tutoring through YMCA and Renert Centre, mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters and success coaches through Boys and Girls Clubs so they can successfully complete school. Nine Calgary schools and multiple community organizations are running All In for Youth programs.

United Way will continue supporting the Alberta government to boost school completion rates. “What we’re learning can help inform practice across the province,” says Miller. “For example, we’ve learned that connecting youth to positive adults is crucial to their success.”

To learn more, check out the latest All In for Youth stakeholder update, which includes results of the initiative so far.