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2013 looks promising for Education Matters

Dec. 31, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

The past year was a great one for Education Matters. We really enjoyed the forums from early in the year and the opportunity to talk with the community about how and why students drop out of high school and what we can do about that together. We even had the opportunity to present those findings to you in a dropout prevention summit which summarized the discussions we held throughout the county and offered a strong place to begin discussing how we could implement some of our dropout prevention strategies.

Through the help of the Education Alliance on the Frontline we were able to provide five Americorps volunteers to mentor middle schoolers all across the county. Currently we have one mentor serving 20-30 students in each middle school. As we look back across the last few months and prepare for the future, we are proud of all that we have accomplished. Most importantly, we know that Education Matters is made up of the entire community and therefore that feeling of pride can be attributed to you. Without your help, Education Matters could not move forward.

So what can you expect in 2013 from Education Matters? There has never been a better time to be involved! We host five committees that offer boundless opportunities for you to be involved with ensuring the success of Cabell County students at any age. We strive to include every perspective of the community such as that of parents and business owners because we know that everyone is concerned about this growing issue. That is why our committees are taking the strategies of 2012 and turning them into tangible goals for 2013. These goals will help ensure Cabell County is a safe, nurturing environment that values education at every level. While we cannot do it alone, we know that together we can make 2013 a year of prosperity.

You can also look forward to the widely acclaimed Ruby Payne training, Bridges out of Poverty, as part of our effort to increase the graduation rate in Cabell County coming in early March. We believe that this will act as a means of strengthening our community and equipping it with the tools needed to continue our work. Additionally, January will start our second semester of Americorps volunteers working in the middle schools. They continue to mentor students but have also been hard at work organizing various community service projects, including an animal shelter supply drive and day of animal care scheduled for late January.

It promises to be a year of exciting developments for Education Matters as we remain dedicated to dropout prevention as a community coalition. We couldn't be more excited to work with you and Education Matters thanks you for all the work that you've done as a community thus far. For more information about any of the upcoming events or to get involved with one of our committees, please do not hesitate to contact Sara Blevins at sara.blevins@unitedwayrivercities.org or call 304-523-8929, Ext. 4.

Sara Blevins is the coordinator of Education Matters, a dropout prevention effort.