AT&T Awards $730,000 in Grants to Address High School Dropout Crisis in Los Angeles Area

AT&T Inc. is awarding more than $730,000 in AT&T Foundation grants to eight Los Angeles-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 more than 1 million students in this country each year," said Denita Willoughby, vice president, AT&T External Affairs - Los Angeles. "We're committed to supporting the great work our educators are already doing in our local communities to help kids succeed by preparing them for a global economy. We are lending a hand to build and expand these programs, and we are gratified by the response to the program and look forward to working with these groups to build a brighter future for our youth."

Local recipients of these grants are:

Los Angeles Urban League -- $100,000 to support the Algebra 1 Summer Institute for at-risk 9th graders and a rigorous Mathematical Thinking professional development program for 9th grade Algebra I teachers at Crenshaw High School within Los Angeles Unified School District.

UNITE-LA, Inc. -- $215,000 over 3 years to support Los Angeles Unified School District's College and Career Success Schools that are designed to provide sustained support to at-risk 9th and 10th grade students.

Alameda Unified School District -- $85,000 to support Island High School serving credit deficient students who have not been successful in a traditional high school.

Los Angeles City College Foundation -- $50,000 to support 30 at-risk 9th and 10th graders from Los Angeles Unified School District throughout the school year covering core subjects and computer skills, and to support a six week 9th grade summer bridge program that reinforces skills critical when transitioning in high school.

Los Angeles Unified School District -- $85,000 to support Belmont High School's Juvenile Intervention and Prevention program, which targets at-risk 9th and 10th grade students, and is designed to improve academic skills, reduce truancy, build strong family systems, and develop civic responsibility.

Pasadena Educational Foundation -- $90,000 to support expansion of the Pasadena Unified School District's Secondary Literacy Initiative, targeting at-risk 9th and 10th graders, by providing intensive supplementary instruction for students more than two years below grade level in reading.

University of Southern California -- $70,000 to provide a rigorous course of study, including Saturday academies for 9th and 10th grade at-risk students, to ensure they graduate with the skills and competencies necessary to progress through high school and college.

Hispanic College Fund -- $35,000 to support planning efforts to expand the Fund's Hispanic Youth Symposium and associated year-round programming targeting Hispanic 9th graders at two underserved Los Angeles Unified School District high schools.

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, please visit