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Breaking Barriers to Graduation


May is Graduation month! But not all Memphis-Shelby County Schools students will be throwing their caps in the air at the end of the month. Our public high schools graduate just 79 percent of our students, compared to the statewide graduation rate of 90 percent.

In addition to academic barriers, factors like homelessness, trauma, health or mental health issues, and a lack of caring adults can get in the way of students making it all the way to their commencement day. Economically disadvantaged students of color are the most impacted.

Several local nonprofits help break down the barriers to graduation. Communities in Schools of Memphis for instance, provides daily, school-based interventions to students. From immediate needs like food or clothing to more complex ones like counseling or emotional support, they do whatever it takes to help students come to school, stay in school, and remain on track to graduation—with proven results.