Phoenix Community Conversation to Focus on High School Completion and Postsecondary Success

Press Release
Press Release

PHOENIX - Local leaders, educators and members of the business community will convene tomorrow for a "community conversation" on how to support and empower more young people to graduate from high school on time and ready for college and careers. Mayor Greg Stanton will host the event, which will take place at Phoenix's historic Heard Museum. Blair Taylor, Starbucks' Chief Community Officer, will provide the keynote address, and Jeff Appel, Deputy Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education will also deliver remarks. Mr. Appel is the department's top policy adviser on higher education. 

Phoenix's Education Summit is organized by Degree Phoenix, with assistance from the National League of Cities, America's Promise Alliance and the U.S. Department of Education. The summit will emphasize the importance of mentorships, internships and leadership development in "reclaiming youth talent" and increasing the number of Phoenix youth earning a high school diploma and completing postsecondary education. 

"A high school diploma is vital to the progress of young people in our communities. High school graduates are more likely to thrive and contribute to the success of our economy when equipped with the necessary resources," said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah. "I commend the City of Phoenix for the real strides they have made to increase high school graduation and college completion rates."

"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, America's Promise Alliance. "Summits like the event in Phoenix are rallying points for communities. America's Promise is delighted to support this effort and work with the leaders in Phoenix and communities across the country to help advance this campaign."

This community conversation is one of a series of similar events held in cities across the country resulting from a "memorandum of understanding" signed by the National League of Cities and the U.S. Department of Education in March 2014. The conversations focus on early childhood education, afterschool learning and postsecondary success, and explore ways that cities are working to close the achievement gap and increase student outcomes, including non-academic outcomes such as social and emotional skills.

This event is also one of 100 Community Summits being held around the country through 2016 that are co-sponsored by America's Promise Alliance as part of its GradNation campaign to raise high school graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020 and increase postsecondary enrollment and completion. 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. Other national sponsors include Southwest Airlines and GE Foundation.

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About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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 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.

Media Contacts:
Tom Martin
National League of Cities
202-626-3186
martin@nlc.org

Daria Hall
America's Promise Alliance
202-657-0621
dariah@americaspromise.org

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