ST. LOUIS -Students at Normandy High School and Jennings Educational Training School (JETS) are benefiting this year from contributions made by AT&T Missouri. The contributions are supporting the Jobs for America's Graduates program at both schools.
Officials from the two schools and AT&T celebrated the grants in separate events today (Tuesday, December 13) at the two schools. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who serves as a vice chair on the JAG National Board of Directors, joined the event at Normandy.
Jobs for America's Graduates-Missouri (JAG-Missouri) is a state-based nonprofit organization that is part of the national JAG network. JAG is dedicated to helping young people who have potential, but who are, for a variety of reasons, at-risk for not graduating from high school. JAG-Missouri helps ensure students graduate from high school and are prepared to succeed, whether in post-secondary education, the military, or in jobs/careers. The JAG curriculum emphasizes a wide variety of employability skills.
JAG-Missouri has 19 sites, including seven in the St. Louis area. Besides Normandy and JETS, the other St. Louis sites include Vashon High School, Roosevelt High School, Sumner High School, Riverview Gardens High School, and Jennings High School. AT&T provided two contributions for St. Louis area JAG schools for 2016-17: $10,000 sustaining grant awarded to JETS, now in its fourth year with the program, and a $20,000 incentive grant awarded to Normandy High School, which began offering JAG this year. JETS has 24 JAG students this fall; Normandy has 23 this fall, heading toward an ultimate goal of 45-50.
AT&T has been one of JAG's longest time and strongest supporters, both at the national and state levels. AT&T's contribution to JAG is pa1t of AT&T Aspire, the company's signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education -through technology, social innovation and relationships -to ensure all students have the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. AT&T Aspire has impacted more than one million students since its launch in 2008.
"For AT&T, this is yet another investment in the future of Greater St. Louis and its youth," said John Sondag, President of AT&T Missouri. "We believe in the power of JAG, based on its 37-year history of success, and we are proud to be one of its partners. We are confident this investment will help lead to higher graduation rates and better futures for the students JAG serves."
The other JAG-Missouri programs are at the Central Academy of Excellence in Kansas City, Study Alternative School in Springfield, West Plains High School and Alternative School, Hillsboro Middle School and High School, Farmington High School, Bismarck High School, Central High School in Park Hills, West County High School in Leadwood, Kennett High School, Hayti High School, Caruthersville High School, and South Pemiscot High School.
For the class of 2015, the JAG-Missouri graduation rate was 99 percent (127 of 128), the best in the nation among the 32 states with JAG. For the class of 2016, the graduation rate is currently 95 percent (287 of 304) and will continue to rise over the next few months during the follow-up.
One of the services JAG provides is monthly follow-up for 12 months following the senior year to assist students in their transition from high school. That includes attaining the high school diploma, placement in post-secondary education, a career, or enlistment in the armed services.
"JAG is making a real difference in helping students, and that's why we've more than tripled the number of Missouri schools that are part of this program," Nixon said. "JAG focuses on training and employability skills, which are key to these students' success. It also helps them feel better connected, which increases attendance, participation and graduation rates. Thanks to a combination of public funding and private contributions from partners such as AT&T, the program is meeting a need for young people who need direction and a sense of hope for their futures. That is the essence of JAG."
The school officials agree.
"We are pleased with the addition of JAG to serve our students," said Dr. Herman Harris, JETS Administrator. "In the three years we have had the program, we have seen the students in the program find their passion, develop skills, graduate, and be successful after high school." "Even in the early stages, we are seeing the positive impact the program can have," said Dr. Derrick Mitchell, principal at Normandy High School. "We are excited to grow the program, which we believe will be easy as more and more students learn about the opportunities it offers."
About the Normandy School District
The Normandy Schools Collaborative enrolls more than 3,500 students in preschool through grade 12. Located near the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Fortune 100 Corporation Express Scripts and historic neighborhoods like Glen Echo Park and Pasadena Hills, the Collaborative's staff works with non-profits, corporations and community members in the greater St. Louis area to provide a high quality education for students in the 24: 1 footprint.
About JETS and the Jennings School District
The Jennings School District enrollment is approximately 3,000 pre-k through 12th grade students. We are committed to continuous improvement. Our mission is to ensure each student develops a passion for learning through challenging curricula. We are a community of learners committed to excellence in education. Our motto is: Students First, and that remains our focus. The Jennings Educational and Training School (JETS) is a peaceful and academically challenging alternative school that provides small classrooms, individual attention, technology based lessons and a variety of programs that lead to graduating from high school. JETS employs a number of strategies to accomplish this goal, including Night School, Credit Recovery, Missouri Option, In-School Suspension, Jobs for Americas Graduates and Community Service with the district-operated food pantry.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T' s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, AT&T passed the $250 million mark on its plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-17.