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Student Mobility Summit aims to raise high school graduation rates

“Our students can’t be afforded those opportunities if they don’t walk through the door,” said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders.
“Our students can’t be afforded those opportunities if they don’t walk through the door,” said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders.

Mayor Sly James and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders on Tuesday announced they are joining forces with community education advocates and school districts to solve Kansas City’s student mobility problems.

The two met with education and community leaders from across the area in an all-day summit on student mobility launched in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and GradNation, a national organizer of community education summits.

When students frequently move from school to school, it affects how often they are absent and how well they perform academically, and it puts them at risk for dropping out.

The summit, held at the Kauffman Foundation, mirrors efforts across the country to encourage community, school and state leaders to assess the severity of student mobility and develop solutions.

Ultimately, James said, Kansas City is looking to do its part in helping the nation raise the high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.

Sanders talked about the opportunities available to students in classrooms across the area but noted, “Our students can’t be afforded those opportunities if they don’t walk through the door.”

James said the future of the city will be affected by what comes out of the summit.

“If our children do not achieve, our children suffer,” he said.

An action plan for how the community can reduce student mobility will be developed from the recommendations that come out of the meeting. The mayor’s Turn the Page KC initiative, designed in 2011 to focus on literacy skills for children from birth through age 8, will be involved with putting the plan together. No timeline was set on when the report will be available.

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