Natrona County High School

NCSD leaders participate in dropout prevention forum

With some 20 percent of Wyoming students dropping out of school each year, Wyoming leaders from all sectors took part in a statewide conversation about productive solutions to the crisis.

"The input of Wyoming's leaders is crucial to ongoing efforts to reach Wyoming students," said Dr. EmmaJo Spiegelberg, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Secondary School Principals. "Without a high school diploma, our young people are much more at risk of unemployment, incarceration, or being dependent on government assistance. And, the nation is at risk of a workforce unprepared for the global marketplace."

The association, through a grant from the America's Promise Alliance, held a forum Feb. 22 at the Cheyenne Community Center, focusing on ways to help lower dropout rates and ensure an educated and trained citizenry for the future of the state.

According to the Alliance, nationwide, one high school student in America drops out every 26 seconds; that's 1.23 million per year. At the same time, the Alliance notes that jobs requiring post-secondary education will make up more than two-thirds of new jobs in the future.

International comparisons, provided by the Organization for Economic and Co-operation and Development, show in the past 30 years the U.S. has largely stagnated while other countries have made major gains, slipping from No. 1 to 14th in onto-college rates and 15th among all 29 OECD countries in reading literacy.

Founded by Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton to call America to service on behalf of children, the America's Promise Alliance is comprised of more than 250 partner organizations. Major partners include State Farm Insurance Company, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AT&T, ING Foundation, Casey Family Programs, The Boeing Company, Ford Motor Company Fund, Capitol One, United Way of America, Communities in Schools, The Councils of Chief State School Officers, the National League of Cities and the National Governor's Association.

Chaired by Alma Powell, wife of Gen. Colin Powell, the America's Promise Alliance has provided technical assistance so far in support of more than 25 state and city dropout prevention summits, with a goal of 50 state and 50 city dropout summits by 2010. Leaders from NCSD who took part in this forum were Dean Kelly and Scott Schutte, principals at Natrona County High School.