Great Falls Public Schools is continuing to work with Cascade County United Way to ensure high school students earn their diplomas.
The Graduation Matters program was created in 2010, because over 200 students were dropping out yearly in Cascade County. Since its creation, those numbers have been cut in half.
The program has also increased their on-time graduation rate by 8.5 percent, meaning students are graduating with the class they started with.
Community Impact Coordinator Lacey Spencer says the students they deal with aren’t always stereotypical dropouts, but students who face tough situations and every case is different.
“What is that kid actually experiencing on a regular basis? Are they getting fed in the morning, are there parents working multiple jobs? There are all different types of things that could be impacting a student’s life,” Spencer said.
She said the Great Falls Public Schools have been an integral partner , adding they’ve aligned their school policies with the goals Graduation Matters has.
She also said not every community that runs the program has had the same success, which is a credit to the area, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
The Graduation Matters program is always looking for ways to positively influence the current demographic group most likely to dropout.