April 27, 2023, Meridian, MS – The GRAD Partnership is pleased to announce its second spotlight school, Southeast Lauderdale High School, in Meridian, Mississippi. Southeast Lauderdale was chosen for its efforts to improve attendance and bolster graduation rates by fostering positive relationships between students and school staff and encouraging students to participate in extracurricular activities.
“Southeast Lauderdale High School represents a close-knit community of students and school staff,” said Patricia Balana, managing director of the GRAD Partnership. “At Southeast Lauderdale, educators and school staff are mentors and a resource to their students. By cultivating meaningful relationships with the school’s staff, students can become more confident in their abilities and more engaged in school, which increases their chances of graduating.”
Southeast Lauderdale High School began working with the Rural Schools Collaborative and the University of West Alabama in 2022 to create a student success system and strengthen the school’s efforts to empower students to graduate ready for their future.
“At Southeast Lauderdale, we have already yielded positive results through long-term, authentic connections with our students,” said Dr. John-Mark Cain, superintendent of the Lauderdale County School District. “Coaches and extracurricular leaders are often the most trusted adults in school for many of our students. When we invest in these relationships, when we connect with students around what interests them, students are more likely to reach out when issues arise. Our goal is to understand the issues that might be keeping students from attending school, center student needs, and respond accordingly.”
Southeast Lauderdale High School is the GRAD Partnership’s second spotlight school, following Manzano High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Spotlight schools are recognized for their commitment to implementing a student success system to better support the academic progress, college and career transitions, and well-being of all students. Student success systems have four common elements: strong, supportive relationships; real-time, actionable, holistic data; strategic improvement actions; and student-centered mindsets. Each spotlight school presents its own unique approach to implementing a student success system that works for its school community and serves as a national example for how to use data and craft individual and school-wide responses to advance student success.