October 22, 2012
Afterschool Program Helps 92 Percent of Participating High School Seniors Graduate
Entering its seventh year, Exelon/ComEd/United Way Stay in School Initiative unveils its annual report card
CHICAGO — Students from Chicago public high schools who participated in a program created by Exelon, ComEd and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago to encourage students in at-risk communities to graduate high school reported substantially higher graduation rates than their peers throughout Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
According to the program’s annual report card, which was unveiled Saturday, students who participated in the Stay in School Initiative had a 92 percent graduation rate compared to the 60.6 percent average for CPS seniors for the 2011-2012 school year. This is the fifth consecutive year that high school seniors in the program achieved a graduation rate above 90 percent.
“The Stay in School Initiative is a great example of how a partnership with the private sector can improve the lives and academic performance of Chicago students,” said Andrea Bazán, senior vice president of resource development at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. “Our report card illustrates the success of this collaboration and how we are able to provide opportunities for students who are most at-risk.”
Exelon and United Way created the Stay in School Initiative to address the issues preventing teens from graduating high school. Three community-based afterschool agencies – including B.U.I.L.D Inc., Centers for New Horizons and Youth Guidance – support the initiative. They provide a holistic suite of programs for students and their families that includes tutoring, social services, leadership and social engagement, skill-building, and parental workshops. Employee volunteers from Exelon and its subsidiary, ComEd, provide one-on-one mentoring during a seven-month long workshop series.
“The Stay in School Initiative has taught me so much in the three years I’ve been in the program,” said Humboldt Park resident Jonathan Suarez. Suarez, 19, graduated from Pritzker College Prep and is currently a sophomore at the University of Illinois-Chicago. “I’ve learned and developed valuable business tips, networking opportunities and interviewing skills from our Exelon and ComEd mentors that are preparing me for college and my future.”
The majority of the students in the Stay in School Initiative are from the Austin, Bronzeville/Grand Boulevard and Humboldt Park/West Town neighborhoods, communities with some of the highest dropout and truancy rates in the city. The initiative has served more than 13,000 students ages 13-20. It will serve an additional 2,000 students during the 2012-2013 school year.
The program’s partners issue an annual report card to track their progress and effectiveness in keeping participating students on track for graduation. The 2012 report card captured data from the 330 core students who were most active in the program and shows that students from at-risk communities can succeed with the right combination of afterschool activities and mentoring:
• 92 percent of Stay in School seniors graduated from high school, compared to the CPS graduation rate of 60.6 percent in 2012.**
• 85 percent of Stay in School students were promoted to the next grade.
• 85 percent of Stay in School students improved at least one grade in core courses (math, science and English), an 18 percent improvement from last year.
• 76 percent of Stay in School students participated in postsecondary education activities (preparing for qualifying exams, such as the ACT).
• 76 percent of Stay in School students participated in leadership-based activities (defined as non-violent conflict resolution and participation in out-of-school leadership programs).
“Education continues to be a signature focus of our corporate citizenship strategy,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of corporate relations at Exelon. “We have six years of results showing the Stay in School Initiative works. Sometimes students require an extra push to get them to live up to their potential in the classroom. The Stay in School Initiative, with the help of our community partners and our employee volunteers, provides the motivation to succeed.”
Exelon and ComEd have contributed more than $2.5 million to fund the Stay in School Initiative since its inception in 2004. The program was rebranded as the Exelon/ComEd/United Way Stay in School Initiative in October 2011.
Stay in School leverages Exelon’s cultural partnerships and sponsorships to provide students with numerous enrichment and recognition opportunities throughout the school year. Exelon also runs a companion job skills development workshop series that provides up to 10 paid summer internships each year for students in the Stay in School Initiative. The internships are divided among Exelon, ComEd, United Way and the three afterschool agencies.
For the full 2011-2012 Stay in School Initiative report card, visit http://www.uw-mc.org/2012/exelon-and-united-way-stay-in-school-initiative-2012-report-card.
** Stats for Chicago Public Schools are from the CPS Office of Performance**
Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately $33 billion in annual revenues. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon has operations and business activities in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is the largest competitive U.S. power generator, with approximately 35,000 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 100,000 business and public sector customers and approximately 1 million residential customers. Exelon’s utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to more than 6.6 million customers in central Maryland (BGE), northern Illinois (ComEd) and southeastern Pennsylvania (PECO).
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.
About United Way
United Way advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on the three key building blocks to self-sufficiency: Education, Income and Health. LIVE UNITED 2020 is United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s community-impact plan, focused on channeling education, income and health resources into more than 40 communities of greatest need. By 2020, United Way will: help 50,000 underperforming middle school students enter high school ready to succeed, ensure 100,000 families advance their economic stability and 200,000 individuals have access to available, preventative healthcare. Annually, LIVE UNITED 2020 will provide one million individuals with access to crisis services including emergency food, shelter and protection from violence. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. For more information about United Way visit LIVEUNITEDchicago.org.