AT&T Awards More Than $650,000 in Grants to Help Address High School Dropout Crisis

AT&T Inc. is awarding more than $650,000 in AT&T Foundation grants to 10 San Diego and Orange County-area educational institutions to support high school retention programs for at-risk students.

The grants are part of the company's signature initiative, AT&T Aspire, which was announced earlier this year to help address high school success and workforce readiness. AT&T has committed $100 million in philanthropy through 2011 to schools and nonprofit organizations that are focused on high school retention and better preparing students for college and the workforce.

As part of the Aspire initiative, the AT&T Foundation has committed $29 million in High School Success grants to more than 170 schools and nonprofit organizations. Statewide, AT&T is awarding 35 grants totaling more than $3.5 million.

America's Promise Alliance, the nation's largest multi-sector collaborative dedicated to the well-being of children and youth, has noted that nearly one-third of U.S. high school students drop out before graduating -- with about 7,000 students dropping out every school day, or one every 26 seconds.

"High school dropout rates are a serious issue affecting students all across the U.S. including here in San Diego and Orange County," said Mark Leslie, vice president, AT&T, External Affairs - San Diego. "We're committed to helping kids succeed by preparing them for tomorrow's economy. We are pleased with the response we've seen to the Aspire program, and look forward to working with these groups to build a brighter future for our youth."

Local recipients of these grants are:

Escondido Union High School District -- $180,000 to support and expand the "Tutorial Intervention" program which provides targeted tutoring for at-risk 9th/10th grade students earning a "C" or lower in any core subject area.

Grossmont Union High School District -- $150,000 to support inclusion of 9th grade students in the Learning Center, a small learning community for at-risk students at Monte Vista High School that centers around core academics, student retention, and credit recovery programs.

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District -- $100,000 to support the Valencia High School Hope & Opportunity program designed to work intensely with failing 9th and 10th grade students or others having a history of behavioral problems and attendance issues and therefore, at risk of dropping out of school.

Barrio Logan College Institute -- $31,244 to support planning to improve the writing and literacy of at-risk 9th and 10th graders participating in the "Steps to Success Program", which provides comprehensive academic services and support relevant to college success.

Greater Santa Ana Vitality Foundation -- $35,000 to support planning for High School, Inc. which when implemented will deliver real-world education and curriculum through six career-based academies housed at Valley High School within the Santa Ana Unified School District.

Imperial County Office of Education -- $34,850 to support the expansion of the Summer Bridge algebra academies for 8th and 9th graders to better prepare students for high school academics and requirements for college.

Irvine Public Schools Foundation -- $35,000 to support planning activities for the Freshman Success Program, a peer mentoring project for Irvine Unified School District that will target low-achieving 9th grade students and pair them with mentors and role models with the goal of reinforcing the importance of college.

Saddleback Valley Unified School District -- $30,000 to further develop the Freshman Success program for at-risk 8th and 9th grade students at Mission Viejo High School that provides academic skills classes in geometry, algebra, and English.

San Diego Urban League -- $35,000 to support development of BE SMART (Better Education in Science, Math & Arts for Talented Young Men), a male youth enhancement program designed to increase involvement of at-risk, underserved 9th and 10th grade students in S.E. San Diego County with math, science and arts programs.

THINK Together -- $35,000 to support the expansion of THINK Together (Teaching, Helping, Inspiring, Nurturing Kids Together) high school program into the Santa Ana Unified School which will encompass an intense in-school/after school academic program to keep at-risk students on track.

As one of the largest-ever corporate commitments to high school retention and workforce readiness, the $100 million AT&T Aspire program will support organizations with strong track records that promote educational success, from the classroom to the workplace. The recipient programs of this year's High School Success grants provide a range of support for students, including academic intervention, mentoring and tutoring services.

In addition to the retention program grants, AT&T Aspire will award funding in three other key areas:

-- 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, visit