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AT&T Awards Grant to STLCC to Help Reduce High School Dropout Rate

December 05, 2008

AT&T Aspire Grant check presentation  
Partners in the AT&T High School Success Grant presentation include,
from left, Zelema Harris, STLCC chancellor; Marcia Pfeiffer, STLCC-
Florissant Valley campus president; Chris Wright, Hazelwood School
District superintendent; and David Nichols, AT&T Missouri president.

AT&T Inc. has awarded an $85,000 High School Success Grant to the St. Louis Community College Foundation to support its high school retention program and to prepare students for engineering and technology-related programs in higher education.

It is one of 170 schools and nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive $12 million in competitive grants from the AT&T Foundation designed to support high school retention programs at national and local levels for at-risk students.

The grant will support a group of 60 students from the Hazelwood School District participating in Project Lead the Way curriculum, a program designed to increase students’ interest in math, engineering, technology and science (METS) related careers, and provide enhanced instruction to improve math and reading skills so that students will not fall behind their peer groups.

"We all recognize as partners we cannot remain globally competitive unless we can make sure K-12 students leave with competitive skills," said Zelema Harris, STLCC chancellor.
America’s Promise Alliance has noted that nearly one-third of U.S. high school students drop out before graduating -- with about 7,000 students dropping out every school day, or one every 26 seconds.

The grants are part of the company’s signature initiative, AT&T Aspire, which helps address high school success and workforce readiness for METS-related careers. AT&T has committed $100 million in philanthropy through 2011 to schools and nonprofit organizations that are focused on high school retention and better preparing students for college and the work force.

"It is essential that we improve our high school graduation rate and get all of our young people thinking about opportunities beyond graduation," said Mo. Sen. Tim Green. "The support of these programs will help to ensure that more of our students get the diplomas and training they need to become successful."

Mo. Sen. Rita Days added: "Good public policy encourages companies such as AT&T to invest in their communities and to get involved in activities such as this. We all benefit."

"Community members working together can help students succeed -- not just in school, but in life -- by helping them graduate from high school and gain the skills they’ll need to be successful in the workplace," said Dave Nichols, president of AT&T Missouri.

As one of the largest-ever corporate commitments to high school retention and workforce readiness, the $100 million AT&T Aspire program will support organizations with strong track records that promote educational success, from the classroom to the workplace. The recipient programs of this year’s High School Success grants provide a range of support for students, including academic intervention, mentoring and tutoring services.