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Pacific, partners bring together leaders for GradNation Community Summit

Stockton-San Joaquin County Summit one of 100 nationwide seeking to raise high school graduation rates and preparing all young people for success
Apr 2, 2015

University of the Pacific, working alongside the nonprofit Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin, is convening leaders in Stockton and San Joaquin County to identify what's working and where challenges remain in our region's efforts to prepare young people for success in and out of school.

The Stockton-San Joaquin County GradNation Community Summit will be 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, at Merlo Gym, 2044 Fair St. in Stockton.

The summit, one of 100 that will be held around the country through 2016, is co-sponsored by America's Promise Alliance as part of its GradNation campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time.

"As we celebrate signs of a brightening economic outlook throughout San Joaquin County, we remember that the long-term success and stability of our region depends on the wellbeing of our young people," said Jennifer Torres Siders, community relations director for University of the Pacific. "This Summit is a great opportunity to come together, share successes, identify needs, and strengthen efforts to support the work of our schools and families."

The event will feature remarks from Congressman Jerry McNerney, Stockton City Councilman Michael Tubbs and keynote presenter, Jeremy Bates, a nationally recognized youth development advocate.

During small-group sessions, youth and adult leaders will work together to discuss our community's top strengths and challenges when it comes to providing the resources and experiences young people need to succeed in high school and beyond: caring adults, safe places, an effective education, a healthy start and opportunities to help others. Research has shown that when young people have access to these academic and life resources - what America's Promise calls the "Five Promises" - they are more likely to succeed academically and socially.

To lend local context and youth-driven perspective to the summit, students from Stagg High School are preparing a special edition of the award-winning Stagg Line newspaper, with stories on promising programs, ongoing challenges and compelling student experiences.

The 2014 Building a GradNation report found that for the first time, our national graduation rate is 80 percent, and the nation is on track to meet the goal of a 90 percent national graduation rate by the class of 2020. In San Joaquin County, about 80 percent of teens graduate from high school, according to data from the California Department of Education, a considerable improvement of 10 percentage points since 2009.

"The progress we are seeing toward the national goal of raising graduation rates is based on communities coming together to support and insist on better outcomes for young people," said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America's Promise Alliance. "Summits like the event in Stockton-San Joaquin County are rallying points for communities. America's Promise is delighted to support this effort and work with the leaders in Stockton and communities across the country to help advance this campaign."

The premier sponsor of the national GradNation Community Summits initiative is AT&T, whose support is part of AT&T Aspire, the company's $350 million commitment to graduate more students from high school ready for college and career. The other national sponsors include Southwest Airlines and the GE Foundation.

"We applaud the hard work our local school districts have done to improve local graduation rates in recent years, but we must keep in mind that all of us have a stake in this issue," said Meredith Huber Baker, youth program director for Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin. "One of our community's greatest strengths is the way leaders across sectors are willing to work together on our most pressing issues, including high school graduation and youth success. We look forward to continuing those conversations at our summit."

The summit is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, go to OpportunitySanJoaquin.eventbrite.com. Lunch and snacks will be provided.   For more information and to learn how to get involved nationally, visit www.gradnation.org.Participants will be using the hashtags #OpportunitySJC and #ReinventStockton.

About America's Promise Alliance
Founded in 1997 at the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, America's Promise leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to fulfilling the presidential declaration signed on that day calling upon the nation to keep five crucial promises to every young person in America: the presence of caring adults in their lives; safe surroundings to live, learn and grown; healthy starts and healthy childhoods; an effective education that builds marketable skills; and opportunities to serve others.  As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign, launched in 2010, mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90% by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit AmericasPromise.org.

About University of the Pacific - Beyond Our Gates
Beyond Our Gates represents University of the Pacific's commitment to work with community partners to improve the social and economic health in Stockton and San Joaquin County. University President Pamela A. Eibeck convened a series of public forums in 2010 to discuss the community's most urgent problems and to begin considering solutions. Through these continuing conversations, education emerged as a pressing challenge and the most promising means of enhancing quality of life. Beyond Our Gates strives to do that through such projects as Reading by Third, Tomorrow Project academies for elementary and high school students, and through ongoing community engagement via the Beyond Our Gates Community Council. For more information, visit BeyondOurGates.org.

About Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin
The Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin is committed to ensuring that children are born healthy, are prepared to enter kindergarten, are reading at grade level as they grow, are graduating with their class and are pursuing higher education or trade school thereafter. By taking this path, we are helping children and their families break free from the cycles of poverty. Our work is based on a Service Integration Case Management Model - designed to stabilize families as a whole by meeting their immediate needs and strengthening and enhancing parents' capacity to promote their children's education.  

Media contact: Jennifer Torres Siders | 209.946.3134 | jtorressiders@pacific.edu

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