First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear Attends Final Regional Graduate Kentucky Summit in Somerset

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 09, 2010  
Contact Information:  Elizabeth Roach

SOMERSET, Ky. – First Lady Jane Beshear today participated in the final Graduate Kentucky: A Community Approach regional summit, held at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset. Named by local students as “STAARS (Students Taking Action to Achieve Real Success) Summit,” the event drew elected officials, community leaders and students from Pulaski County.

Graduate Kentucky is a statewide initiative that was formed in 2008 to tackle the dropout problem in Kentucky. The program has fostered a comprehensive conversation to identify the reforms necessary to ensure student success and begin the process of lowering Kentucky’s dropout rate. The goal of the initiative is to not only understand why students are dropping out of school, but to share ideas and best practices for how communities can play a pivotal role in reducing the dropout rate by creating a strategic vision for keeping the state’s children in school.

“As we conclude the Graduate Kentucky Regional Summits, I would like to thank all of those who have taken a vested interest in turning the tide on our dropout problem and in strengthening our state, one community at a time,” said Mrs. Beshear. “The work we have undertaken does not end. The conversations we have started must now be turned into community-based actions and a statewide effort to empower every child in Kentucky with a high school education.”

As a follow-up to a statewide event in September 2009, regional dropout summits were planned across the state with an emphasis on community approaches for student success. This is the seventh and final summit in the series. Other regional dropout summits have taken place in Ashland, Bowling Green, Hazard, Murray, Richmond and Covington.

“The success of our education system in Kentucky is dependent upon the involvement of our communities,” said Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Joseph U. Meyer. “These regional events are providing and encouraging a hands-on support system for our students at the local level. This input is vital to addressing the specific barriers in each area that keep our students from reaching their full potential.”

Graduate Kentucky seeks to promote coordination of resources and tools among private, public and nonprofit education initiatives. One of the goals of the initiative is to create an action plan for policy-makers, educators and the business community. This plan will be developed by the state steering committee using information and recommendations compiled from the statewide and six regional summits. A report will be issued in January 2011.

The development of Graduate Kentucky: A Community Approach is the result of a grant awarded to Kentucky by America’s Promise Alliance, Colin and Alma Powell’s nonprofit coalition of companies and organizations providing support and awareness for issues affecting children.

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