AT&T grant will help address high school dropout crisis

December 17 2008

AT&T Inc. has announced a $20,000 grant to the Indiana State University Foundation focused on reducing the high rate of dropouts in Vigo County. The ISU Foundation will use the funds to collaborate with the ISU Student African American Brotherhood and local school districts to expand and enhance an African-American male mentors program for high schools and middle schools.

"We are committed to partnering with area educators and administrators to help prevent dropouts and increase student retention," said ISU Foundation President Gene Crume. "We thank AT&T for their support and look forward to putting these funds to good use in helping students succeed."

The grant will focus on bringing more college-aged mentors into area public schools so that they can motivate high school and middle school students to keep working toward graduation. The grant will also help support a study among 19 schools and five district partners to look at dropout prevention through the lens of implemented and sustainable practices.

"Caring for others and taking responsibility for student success are two of our core values," said ISU College of Education Dean Bradley Balch. "The SAAB program puts these values into action and provides areas high school and middle school students with mentoring opportunities that can help them achieve great things inside and outside of the classroom."

"AT&T is proud to be part of the local community and we are committed to helping local students get the tools they need to graduate," said AT&T Indiana President George S. Fleetwood. "This partnership holds tremendous promise and we look forward to hearing many success stories in the months and years ahead."

Earlier this year, AT&T announced a $100 million AT&T Aspire program to support organizations with strong track records that promote educational success, from the classroom to the workplace. The program provides a range of support for students, including academic intervention, mentoring and tutoring services.

"As a member of the House Committee on Education, I'm pleased to see AT&T and Indiana State University partnering to help local students succeed," said state Rep. Clyde Kersey. "Mentoring puts positive role models in front of our young people, and shows them that anything is possible if they stay in school and graduate."

In addition to the Indiana State University Foundation grant, the AT&T Aspire program is addressing three other key areas nationally:
* A student job shadowing initiative involving 400,000 AT&T employee hours that will give 100,000 students a firsthand look at the skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century workforce.
* The underwriting of national research that will explore the practitioner perspective (teachers, principals, superintendents, school counselors and school board members) on the high school dropout issue.
* Support for 100 state and community dropout prevention summits, announced earlier this year by America's Promise Alliance.

For more information about the AT&T Aspire initiative, please visit www.att.com/education-news.

Contact: Mike Marker, AT&T, 317-265-4020 or mm8963@att.com

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Story Highlights

AT&T Inc. has announced a $20,000 grant to the Indiana State University Foundation focused on reducing the high rate of dropouts in Vigo County. The ISU Foundation will use the funds to collaborate with the ISU Student African American Brotherhood and local school districts to expand and enhance an African-American male mentors program for high schools and middle schools.

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