GradNation Summit explores ways to encourage graduation

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — At UNCW, folks gathered for the GradNation Community Summit which was focused on the Watson College of Education’s Dropout Prevention Coalition. For 5 years, the program has been bringing leaders from across the community together to work toward increasing the graduation rate in Wilmington.

According to Janna Siegel Robertson, an Education Professor with the Watson College of Education, when the program started graduation rates were in the 70’s and now they are in the 80’s. She said the goal is to have those numbers in the 90’s in the next five years.

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“But that’s numbers, I’ve met the children. There are several children that were at risk for dropping out who now have jobs that pay more than mine,” said Robertson. “So that’s the success rate. I have seen people who were incarcerated who now have productive jobs, productive lives doing things that they never imagined.”

The program works to incorporate organizations and groups across the community to encourage students to complete their education.

“I think we learn from each other and we support each other. We’re just more effective together than we are separately,” Robertson said. “I think when we act like it’s all disjointed, that schools have nothing to do with non profits have nothing to do with churches and we all segment… The truth is that as a human you’re not separate your personal and professional life and your spiritual life and your academic life.”



Robertson said there were over 250 people who attended panels throughout the day. She says everyone participating is a volunteer and the progress would not be possible without their generous help.