Montana's Graduation Rate Continues Upward Climb

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
By Allyson Hagen

Montana's Graduation Rate Continues Upward Climb
Juneau Announces Availability of $150,000 in Grants for Graduation Matters Initiatives

Helena, MT - Today, Superintendent Denise Juneau released the 2012 Graduation and Dropout Report, which shows Montana's graduation rate continues to climb, and the number of students dropping out of school continues to decline. In the 2011-2012 school year, the number of dropouts decreased by more than 130 students, and the graduation rate increased by 1.7 percent to 83.9 percent. Since Juneau took office in 2009, the dropout rate has declined from 5.1 percent to 4.1 percent, and the graduation rate has increased from 80.7 percent to 83.9 percent.

Superintendent Juneau stated, "Making dropout prevention a statewide priority is paying off for Montana students and communities." She continued, "Every student we are able to keep from dropping out of school or who is inspired to continue their education after high school benefits not only that individual, but the entire state."

To coincide with the release of the 2012 Graduation and Dropout Report, Superintendent Juneau also announced the availability of $150,000 in grants from the Graduation Matters Challenge Fund to support new and existing Graduation Matters initiatives. Each grantee will be awarded up to $10,000 to replicate successful dropout prevention strategies.

Mike Halligan, executive director of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation stated, “Investing in community-based efforts to improve the achievement of all students is the single-most important investment we can make in our children." He continued, "Graduation Matters Montana is finding early successes because we know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, and each community must tailor its efforts to what will work in their community.  This kind of approach is at the core of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation’s mission, and we are proud to be able to support this critically important initiative.”

Last year, the Office of Public Instruction was awarded $450,000 from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to support a statewide network of locally-designed, community-driven efforts to increase the number of Montana students who graduate from high school ready for college and careers in the Montana workforce.

During the first year of funding from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Graduation Matters initiative grew from 11 to 28 communities. More than 65 percent of high school students now attend a school with a Graduation Matters initiative.

The 2012 Statewide Graduation and Dropout Report as well as school and district-level data can be found here:

Current communities involved in a Graduation Matters Montana initiative: Anaconda, Belgrade, Billings, Box Elder, Bozeman, Browning, Butte, Corvallis, Great Falls, Hamilton, Hardin, Havre, Heart Butte, Helena, Kalispell, Lame Deer, Laurel, Lewistown, Libby, Livingston, Miles City, Missoula, Polson, St. Ignatius , Stevensville, Thompson Falls, Townsend and Wolf Point

More information about Graduation Matters Montana can be found at:

About the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation:
The major philanthropic organization for the Washington Companies and the Washington family, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington’s Foundation values mirror those of its Western heritage. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation strives to better the human condition by supporting programs and services that give people the tools to enhance the quality of their lives and to benefit society as a whole.

Contact for the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation: Mike Halligan, 406-523-1300


Back to Media Center Home Page