PUHSD and Linda Abril Educational Academy Hosts an Event Called ‘Graduation Highway’

Posted by Communications on 8/25/2016

Phoenix Union and Linda Abril Educational Academy hosted an event called ‘Graduation Highway,’ where Mayor Greg Stanton and others took to the streets with Phoenix Union Student and Community Liaisons, making home visits to students who have not returned to school this year. The August 23 event came two days after the “drop date” in which students previously enrolled are taken off the attendance rolls. Six teams of politicians, community leaders and celebrities deployed to six school neighborhoods and targeted homes around Betty Fairfax in Laveen, Camelback, Central, Carl Hayden, Maryvale and North. Among the door-knockers, were City Manager Ed Zuercher, Police Chief Joseph Yahner; Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner, Phoenix Suns alum Steven Hunter, Phoenix Mercury’s Adrian Williams-Strong, Phoenix Mercury and City Councilwoman Laura Pastor. 

The home visits have been going on for years as part of PUHSD’s Dropout Prevention program, and it has proved successful. Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson explained how the annual dropout rate has fallen from double digits 15 years ago, to 3.4 percent, while the graduation rate has gone from 55% in 2001 to 80% last year. Student Liaisons Norma Lopez of North and Noemi Herrera of Maryvale joined Linda Abril students Magaly Rodriguez Santillan and Saul Palanco Salazar on a panel. The students shared their educational challenges and how they overcame obstacles. Students who have fallen behind in credits have numerous opportunities to recover, including attending the Linda Abril Educational Academy, where on-line courses and six-week terms accelerate and personalize learning. The District also provides free Evening School at most campuses. Linda Abril, formerly named Suns-Diamondbacks, has graduated 2000 students who might otherwise have fallen through the cracks.