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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 12, 2019 08:44 AM
From: Representative Carol Hill-Evans
To: All House members
Subject: Removing Barriers to High School Graduation
During the 2016-2017 school year, 13,883 public school students in grades 7 through 12 dropped out of school in Pennsylvania, an increase of 377 students over the prior school year. Although our school districts already provide essential supports to their students, the time and personnel needed to ensure students receive the in-depth services they need to overcome academic and nonacademic barriers to graduation are not always available.

Accordingly, I will be introducing legislation that is aimed at assisting public schools in procuring the services of non-profit organizations that provide evidence-based student support services to help students remove both these barriers to learning. Specifically, it will create a program that would allocate grants to schools to be used solely for services addressing the overall needs, including mental health, of students to prevent school dropouts. It will also establish an account in the Treasury Department to fund the program with unencumbered and undistributed revenue from the Department of Education, as well as donations and interest.

The community-based model for school supports is already used in multiple states, including Virginia, Texas, and Michigan, which have had great success with the evidence-based support model operated by the Communities in Schools organization. Notably, students in the North Carolina Communities in Schools program had a 98 percent graduation rate. It is my hope that, by providing state-level guidance for student supports programs in Pennsylvania, our students will show similar successes.

Please join me in equipping our Commonwealth’s schools with the tools they need to help students tackle their barriers to academic and life success by supporting this legislation.

Introduced as HB1418