Springfield School Superintendent Daniel Warwick announces the Stay in School initiative.
Stay in School campaign logo.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -
For years, Springfield has had one of the highest non-graduation and dropout rates in the state of Massachusetts. A new cooperative initiative between the Springfield Public Schools and the United Way of the Pioneer Valley announced Monday aims to change those numbers.
Monday morning, Springfield Schools Superintendent Daniel Warwick and a host of community leaders launched a new campaign called "Stay in School," which aims to increase the city's graduation rate to 77.4 percent by 2015. The 2012 graduation rate stood at 56.6 percent, up from 52.1 percent in 2011.
"The dropout rate is down and our school attendance over the last three or four years has gone up significantly but we need to do better, and in order to do better we need the whole community coming together behind this effort," Warwick said.
The campaign will directly reach out to students, parents and the community at large in an effort to raise awareness about the problem, highlight effective solutions and provide resources and support to students who are in danger of dropping out.
Speaking directly to the students in attendance, Springfield mayor Domenic Sarno pleaded for their assistance in making the program successful.
"I need you to be ambassadors for the city of Springfield," Sarno said.
"The future vitality of this city depends on us improving the Springfield public schools," Warwick said.
The campaign is aimed to improve attendance and in turn graduation rates throughout the city of homes.
"Our goal is not only to graduate them but graduate them college and career ready," said Warwick. "But our present graduation rate is not acceptable and we want to improve that."
The initiative is seeking to increase the number of graduates citywide by 12 percent, to reduce the number of drop outs by 10 percent and to reduce the number of students who are chronically absent by 5 percent by the year 2015.
"You're not going to regret staying in school," said Putnam High School Senior Ariana Williams. "You are not going to regret going on to college, and filling our scholarships and doing your homework. It's definitely going to benefit you."
Williams spoke at the launch of the campaign of the importance of staying in school and why she chooses to lead by example.
"What keeps me motivated is I love to learn and I know that dropping out would be not only a big disappointment for myself but for my family," Williams said.
Another person fighting to improve the graduation rate is Dolly Ortiz. Ortiz is a mother of four who dropped out of high school and recently went back to school to get her GED.
"It was really important for me that they know that they need to work hard in school because it was not easy for me at all," said Ortiz.
She told those in attendance why she wants her kids and others to stay in school.
"I'm very honest with them because if you don't tell them the consequences of whatever action they might make, they are just going to make the mistakes anyway so I'd rather they learn from mine than commit their own," Ortiz said.
Public service announcements will be produced in both English and Spanish to reach out to the entire community.
CBS 3 Springfield is the exclusive English language television sponsor of the Stay in School campaign.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, March 6 2014 9:29 AM EST2014-03-06 14:29:24 GMT
A South Carolina woman who drove her mini-van into the ocean at Daytona Beach with her three kids inside is from Cross in Berkeley County, according to authorities in Florida. Police say they interviewedMore >>
A South Carolina woman who drove her mini-van into the ocean at Daytona Beach with her three kids inside is from Cross in Berkeley County, according to authorities in Florida. Police say they interviewed her two hours before the Tuesday afternoon incident but the woman was released because she showed no signs of being suicidal.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:04 AM EST2014-03-06 16:04:16 GMT
Batkid, the cancer patient who thrilled San Francisco with his efforts to save the city, was scheduled to appear at the Oscars but was scratched at the last minute, his mother said. Natalie Scott toldMore >>
The 5-year-old Batkid who saved San Francisco was scheduled to appear on the Oscars, but his segment was cut before the show. More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 8:23 AM EST2014-03-06 13:23:14 GMT
They were stashed in a plastic tote and left along the highway to perish. Ten tiny puppies, all alive and well tonight, after being rescued and turned over to the KC Pet Project Animal Shelter. "He thoughtMore >>
They were stashed in a plastic tote and left along the highway to perish. Ten tiny puppies are all alive and well after being rescued and turned over to the KC Pet Project animal shelter.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 9:06 PM EST2014-03-07 02:06:12 GMT
A first generation United States citizen and World War II veteran received an honor all the way from Norway, 70 years after fighting. Trygve Petersen fought with an infantry division known as the "VikingMore >>
A first generation United States citizen and World War II veteran received an honor all the way from Norway, 70 years after fighting. More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 10:34 PM EST2014-03-07 03:34:31 GMT
A report outlined by Partners for a Healthier Community outlines a number of potentially negative impacts to Springfield residents if a casino is built here. The study conducted by the Western Mass CasinoMore >>
A report outlined by Partners for a Healthier Community outlines a number of potentially negative impacts to Springfield residents if a casino is built. More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 6:34 PM EST2014-03-06 23:34:55 GMT
Potholes have been a fact of life in western Massachusetts since there have been roads. Some years are worse than others and authorities in several communities have said this winter has been very bad.GreenfieldMore >>
Potholes have been a fact of life in western Massachusetts since there have been roads. Some years are worse than others and authorities in several communities have said this winter has been very bad.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 9:48 PM EST2014-03-07 02:48:25 GMT
In January, the State Department of Public Health awarded licenses to 20 medical marijuana dispensaries. Only two were approved here in Western Mass. But that's not stopping some cities and towns fromMore >>
The Westfield City Council is considering a petition by the Planning Board to change the city's zoning ordinance to allow for a medical marijuana facility.More >>
Wednesday, March 5 2014 11:37 PM EST2014-03-06 04:37:30 GMT
A Fort Mill mom wants to send a message to parents after she caught her 15-year-old daughter having sex with a man who she met on a popular social media site. The man claimed to be a teenager. The motherMore >>
A Fort Mill mom wants to send a message to parents after she caught her 15-year-old daughter having sex with a man who she met on a popular social media site.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 10:44 AM EST2014-03-06 15:44:18 GMT
A candy warning from Indiana health officials who say several people have become ill after eating original Skittles. Preliminary tests showed the candy sold at a Richmond, Indiana store contained "unconfirmedMore >>
A candy warning from Indiana health officials who say several people have become ill after eating original Skittles.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:52 AM EST2014-03-06 16:52:13 GMT
The Metro Nashville Emergency Communications Center says employees received 162 false 911 calls from a child playing with an old cell phone in less than 24 hours. Officials say the calls started aroundMore >>
The Emergency Communications Center in Nashville says employees received 162 false 911 calls from a child playing with an old cell phone in less than 24 hours.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 9:36 PM EST2014-03-07 02:36:26 GMT
A Vanderburgh County jury finds Jerry Dulin not guilty of murder. Officials say Donnie DeJarnett Jr. was shot while he was driving down New York Ave in 2013. The defense claims Dulin shot him in self-defense. CopyrightMore >>
A Vanderburgh County jury finds Jerry Dulin not guilty of murder.More >>
Friday, March 7 2014 9:36 AM EST2014-03-07 14:36:06 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Police are responding to a shooting call at the Oak Court Mall in East Memphis. Action News 5 is working to learn more. Stay with WMCTV.COM for the latest. Get the latest from Action NewsMore >>
A shooting sent security guards running through the Oak Court Mall during the dinner hour Thursday evening. Witnesses say the guards told everyone to get inside a store and take cover.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 12:42 AM EST2014-03-06 05:42:42 GMT
Two women were injured in an attack by a family member's dogs, according to officials in Opp. Opp Mayor John Bartholomew says the victims were the wife and daughter-in-law of the owner. Authorities haven'tMore >>
Family dogs turned on the ones they love during a horrifying ordeal in Opp that's left two women injured and the owners wondering why their pets would go on the attack. More >>