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Businesses Can Help Raise Colorado Graduation Rates

Colorado is one of the most desirable states to live and work, but there is ground to make up if it wants to be a leader in education as well. According to a recently published report from the educational alliance, Building A Grad Nation, Colorado is 43rd in the nation in graduation rates. The graduation rate in Colorado dropped to 77.3 percent, while the national average rose overall, to 83.2 percent. That puts Colorado seven percent lower than the national average.

Building a Grad Nation is composed of four major educational organizations devoted to raising graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020. Unfortunately, Colorado’s recent decline is creating an uphill climb for reaching that lofty goal, particularly among diverse and lower socio-economic populations. Despite an overall uptick in graduation rates, a gap between the graduation rates of white students and minority students is only widening in Colorado and elsewhere. According to the report, 82.6 percent of white Colorado students graduated, compared to 69.9 percent for black/African American students, and just 67.6 percent for Hispanic/Latino students. Even greater is the gap between income levels, with students being labeled as “low income” graduating at a rate of 53.8 percent, while students of ”non-low income” status graduate at a 33 percent higher rate.

Though these statistics are not the best news, there are a number of states who might offer a case study on how to reverse the trend in Colorado. For instance, California has seen its graduation rate increase seven years in a row. An initiative that California has introduced includes focusing support to diverse learners, who are all graduating at a higher rate than they are in Colorado and in keeping better pace with changing demographics.

There are a number of reasons why the graduation rate is of importance. However, the bottom line is that having more high school graduates and introducing programs that support graduation are an economic boon to states, towns, and communities. According to a 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time workers age 25 and older without a high school diploma earned $9620 less in median earnings than those who had one.

Building strong academic communities takes, as they say, a village. Teachers, parents, and the local community all play a role. Business, too, create an important partnership, fostering much-needed opportunities for funding. In return, businesses gain important brand recognition. There are several examples that highlight this win-win proposition for all involved. One of my favorites from the article is the simple task of a local business providing a school its awards for student achievement, taking less off the teacher’s plate so they can focus on teaching.

The fact is, the School Communications Agency takes it a step further. You can support future graduates by working with The School Communications Agency, which gives 50 percent of its revenue right back to schools. We partner with family friendly, community oriented businesses who want to improve parent/school communication, reduce school staff workload and help raise money. Our schools cover a diverse demographic spectrum, including districts with high median household incomes as well as schools with historically lower incomes. Your business’ sponsorship in the form of an advertisement in the schools’ monthly newsletters reaches an ideal demographic of parents of K-12 students while providing the schools with much needed funding. Remember, while 100% of your investment helps improve parent/school communication, a full fifty percent goes directly to schools in the form of a cash donation. Be part of the solution and join our select group of family friendly businesses today.

About The Author

Chris Coomey is a teacher, writer, and community engagement specialist. When not working with students or writing about education, you can find him on his bike, on the basketball court, or out on a long hike on the incredible Colorado trails.