SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A new campaign is underway to encourage kids to stay in school and finish their education.
The initiative was announced Monday morning at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy.
The numbers are getting better, but for educators and community leaders, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Monday at Putnam, a major push called “Stay in School” was launched.
“This is one of the most significant initiatives that the United Way of Springfield will be launching and supporting. [Why is it significant?] It’s because its going to really address high school graduation rates,” says Dora Robinson of the United Way.
Last year, high school graduation rates in Springfield Public Schools rose from 52 percent to nearly 57 percent – a number that leaders say needs to jump even more.
“We have improved the graduation rate, the dropout rate and the attendance rate, but we clearly need community support to take it to the next level and to take it where this community needs it to be.”
The goal is to have that graduation rate rise to 77 percent by 2015
“School success is essential to everything and we want our kids to not only graduate, but to graduate college and career ready, so that they will be successful in life,” adds Springfield Superintendent Dan Warwick.
Adelaida Ortiz is raising four kids. She came to the launch Monday to stress the importance of staying in school. “I went back to school, so I can lead by example. I have to do what I want my children to do. I can’t just go out and give instructions, but yet, I’m not doing anything with my life.”
And that’s the kind of leading by example that officials hope will inspire others to finish their education.
Officials say that there is a direct correlation between school attendance and success later in life.