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Committees work together to make a big difference

Sep. 11, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Over the course of the last year and a half, Education Matters remained committed to heeding the importance of how our community supports student success in Cabell County. Through our dropout prevention forums and our continual outreach we dedicated our time and energy in producing a dropout prevention plan that reflects the deeply rooted needs, the out-of-the-box ideas, and the sincere concern of our entire community.

It has been a long journey-navigated by our coalition members and the effort of the many valuable community voices that serve on one of our five committees. Together, informed by the forum data of 2011-2012, they have put their heads together to produce a plan for working in partnership to dramatically affect the dropout rate in our county. But it's going to take all of us. Every neighbor, parent and agency united in their decision to take action on behalf of our youth and their academic success. Education Matters operates inside the understanding that success does not appear the same to every person. It is understood that the plan must be multi-faceted in order to address a multi-faceted problem.

The dropout prevention plan is designed to operate on multiple levels, to extend beyond its own boundaries over time so that it can be easily adapted to any situation that may arise. In this way, Education Matters can try a unique approach, one that does not ask a single entity to find the solution. That fact alone makes it innovative.

What does a community driven dropout prevention plan look like? One part of the plan addresses the importance and availability of community resources. Another part addresses how we can engage our students to invest in their academic success. There will be ways to plug into the plan that include directing energy to our youngest learners so that they have the best possible opportunity for success. All of these pieces help to make up the whole picture of how to invest in prevention.

We invite you to be a part of that picture. On Sept. 19, Education Matters will be hosting "A Summit for the Community." This summit is the place to get connected with others that want to reach a goal of zero dropouts in Cabell County. The Education Matters coalition members will be sharing ways that they personally contribute to dropout prevention as well as discussing in more depth the dropout prevention plan. Maybe you've been working on dropout prevention a long time, maybe education is an area of emphasis in your collegiate work or maybe you have a school age child and have a first-hand perspective. Perhaps you are concerned about the quality of the next generation of employees that choose to stay in our community. There are countless reasons to attend. One thing is fact. Everyone has a reason to invest in education. I hope to see you there.

For more information or to register your attendance to the summit, please do not hesitate to contact Sara Blevins at 304-523-8929 x 106 or via email at sara.blevins@unitedwayrivercities.org.

Sara Blevins is the Education Matters Coordinator for United Way of the River Cities.