NV Nonprofit Celebrates 94 Graduate Rate For Students In Program / Public News Service

A Nevada nonprofit is celebrating a 94% graduation rate among their high school seniors for the 2021-2022 school year.

Tami Hance-Lehr. The CEO and state director of Communities In Schools of Nevada said the graduation rate is based on the 453 case-administered high school seniors, most of whom are students who qualify for free and affordable lunches or experience some other form of poverty.

Hance-Lehr pointed out that Nevada’s graduation rate for such students is about 82%. Compared to the state’s overall graduation rate, African American students in the program are 17.1 percentage points higher than the national average, Hispanic and Latino students are 14 percentage points higher, and mixed-race students are 13 percentage points ahead.

She noted that the pandemic presents many challenges for students to cross the finish line.

“The other thing to keep in mind is that when the majority of seniors started working with Communities In Schools in either their junior or senior year, they were not on track to graduate do when these students came to us,” said Hance-Lehr. “They were most likely bad credit.”

Hance-Lehr explained it’s not just about identifying barriers keeping kids from attending school and working to get students back on track, it’s also about making sure they do well after high school have goals. The program deploys a full-time on-site coordinator at each of its 92 partner campuses to help with the effort.

Hance-Lehr pointed out that of the 453 high school seniors, half plan to go to college, 32% plan to enter the workforce, 14% plan to get certification, an apprenticeship or attend trade school, and 4% plan to to join the military.

While the program focuses on K-12 students, Hance-Lehr noted that they make supporting their alumni a priority once they leave the program.

“We have to focus on our students even after they graduate,” Hance-Lehr said. “Barriers that we remove for them and get them to graduate don’t just go away when we’ve given them a diploma and then they step into the world and say, ‘Here you go.’ There are still barriers to transportation, there are still barriers to trauma, there are still barriers to poverty.”

Hance-Lehr emphasized that they have more than a hundred partners in the community and acknowledged that their work would not be possible without them. She added that community providers are able to help students with more individual needs.

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