One of the focus areas of United Way of Southeast Missouri programs is improving the success of students in our public schools. This effort got a boost last month with a $50,000 grant from AT&T through United Way Worldwide. Overall, AT&T has contributed $2 million to the program through AT&T Aspire, a $100 million initiative focused specifically on high school success and workforce readiness.
The Family Engagement for High School Success grant to the local United Way is one of 15 matching grants to United Way efforts to boost graduation rates.
According to a press release from AT&T, the grant will support United Way's Leading & Inspiring Families to Excel (LIFE) initiative, which involves students, parents and school staff members in workshops and educational meetings to help at-risk students through after-school programs.
Last year, according to the release, 45 percent of 175 students in the local United Way's LIFE program boosted their grade point averages and 36 percent improved their school attendance records.
Nationally, United Way has set ambitious goals, including cutting the high school dropout rate in half by 2018. The family engagement initiative funded by the grant is part of the strategy to meet that goal.