Report: Continued Improvement in Graduation Rates in Florida

By: Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email

By: Lanetra Bennett
May 14, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - 'Communities in Schools of Florida' says every 26 seconds, a young person in America drops out of school.

The organization released a new report that highlights reasons why kids drop out. Those reasons include: hunger, lack of medical care, homelessness, or lack of clean clothes.

Leon County administrators say initiatives--such as District Graduation Coaches--have helped with the .2 percent decrease in the district's dropout rate last year, which brought the rate to .7 percent.

Leon County Schools Administrator Michelle Gayle, Ph.D. says the District Graduation Coaches help monitor progress. She says, "We're looking at those early warning systems so that we can put some things into place to ensure that our graduation rate, which of course increased last year, continues to rise; and our dropout rate, we want to keep that going down."

Dr. Gayle says keeping the arts, sports, and programs that keep students involved, also help keep students in school. She says Leon County also provides mentors for every student, not just at-risk students.

Press Release: Communities in Schools of Florida

Communities In Schools of Florida Announces Continued Improvement in Graduation Rates in New Report Released Today

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Leading Reasons Why Kids Drop Out, Including

Hunger, Homelessness, Lack of Medical Care

As kids around the country are graduating, the Communities In Schools of Florida network– part of the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life – today released a report demonstrating the organization’s impact on dropout rates, highlighted by local success stories. This report, released on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Brown vs Board of Education, looks at unexpected – and often under the radar – reasons why kids drop out, such as hunger, lack of medical care, homelessness, or lack of clean clothes and is part of a national public awareness campaign featuring young people from around the country who have graduated from high school as a result of their involvement with Communities In Schools. While we have come a long way, still, the 20% who didn’t make it to graduation last year are disproportionately students of color, and need continued support to reach the goal of equal access to education. These are the typical students that CIS serves.

Download the full report and infographics here:

“The kid whose teeth are decaying and can’t concentrate; the student who is failing because they can’t see the board; the child who does not have appropriate clothing to wear to school – these are typical CIS students,” said Lois Gracey, State Director of Communities In Schools of Florida, in the new report, entitled Changing the Picture of Education in Florida. “When you identify the most at-risk children and provide them with a customized range of services, these students can be successful.” “

Every 26 seconds, a young person in America drops out of school. When students drop out, they are more likely to end up in poverty, suffer poor health, be dependent on social services, enter the criminal justice system and cost the U.S. billions of dollars each year in lost revenue and increased spending on government assistance programs. To change the picture in Florida, the Communities In Schools network is collecting serving approximately 47,000 students on 75 campuses this year, working hand in hand with schools, communities, partner organizations and families to surround students with a strong network of support.

According to the new report, the Communities In Schools of Florida network achieved the following during the 2012-13 school year:

· 19 elementary schools, 21 middle schools and 23 high schools were served, as well as 9 non-traditional schools and 3 combined schools.

· Approximately 47,000 students were served by Communities In Schools of Florida; 41,212 of those students received Level One supports (school-wide prevention services) and 5,885 of those students received Level Two supports (targeted and sustained interventions).

· 99 percent of seniors receiving targeted and sustained interventions (and for whom data were available) graduated.

· 95 percent of the students in grades K-11 who received targeted and sustained interventions (and for whom data were available) were promoted to the next grade.

The report also features interviews with: Lois Gracey, State Director/President of Communities In Schools of Florida, who conveys the effectiveness of Communities In Schools in meeting the basic needs of students. Amy Pipkin, Site Coordinator in Nassau County, shares how she helps her students succeed by building and maintaining strong relationships with the students and their families. One of her students, Tia Grant, a graduating senior, also discusses the impact of Communities In Schools on empowering her and preparing her for the ‘real’ world.

“What Communities In Schools demonstrates is that children need an adult who’s constantly in their lives at the school level to help them through the pitfalls of being an adolescent……..At the end of the day, it’s about a great principal, a great teacher and wraparound services to fill in the gaps for kids who don’t have it at home.”

Nikolai Vitti

Superintendent, Duval County Schools

Jacksonville, FL

To raise awareness about Communities In Schools, a public awareness campaign is running nationwide, featuring short videos by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris and photos by renowned photographer David Harriman. These videos and images are online at

Communities In Schools of Florida is part of the national Communities In Schools network, which operates in more than 2,200 schools in the most challenged communities of 26 states and the District of Columbia. Working closely with school districts and partner organizations, Communities In Schools serves 1.3 million young people and their families each year. Based directly inside schools throughout the country, Communities In Schools connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources, tailored to each student’s specific needs. Learn more about Communities In Schools of Florida at

Changing the Picture of Education in Florida is one of more than two dozen Communities In Schools reports being released around the country today in time for graduations.

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