How Did Project Graduate Begin?

In June of 2017 the Red Lake Tribal Council passed a resolution in support of a 100% graduation rate for its young people who reside on and off of the reservation. (The Red Lake Reservation is located in northern Minnesota and is home to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa.) Like most Native American communities in Minnesota and in the United States the gap between the percentage of Native students who stay in school and their white counter parts is unacceptable. In fact the graduation gap between white students and students of other ethnicities, is also unacceptable.

After 200 years of trying to fix the “problem,” the gap continues with some improvements some years and set backs in other years. What has not been done to erase the gap is to solicit the support of the total community to help schools make a 100% goal a reality.

Following the lead of the Red Lake Nation, all communities in Beltrami County (home of the Red Lake Nation) have committed themselves to a 100% graduation goal. This includes all city councils and county commissioners. At the time of this writing over 375 businesses and organizations stand with this goal of encouraging 100% of its youth to graduate.

How is this done? When all young people have a mindset to graduate, 100% of our youth will graduate. We do this primarily by spreading the word to young people that they need to graduate and doing it relentlessly.

Have we reached our goal? Not yet, but we will. How can we be so confident? Because you and I graduated by merely having someone put in our brain a mindset to graduate. We all need to work together to help youth have a like mindset.

Why not have a graduation rate goal of 100% for all of Minnesota? Why not all fifty of the states? 

Practical things you can do to help 100% of our youth graduate.

  1. Believe that they can graduate and instill this belief in young people.
  2. Talk to them about the need to graduate and the benefits that come from having a high school diploma.
  3. Ensure they attend school.
  4. Select the school that best fits how they learn.
  5. If they need help in school, insist that they get it.
  6. Relentlessly remind young people that their number one goal is to graduate from high school.

Practical things for business leaders to do in the community to help children graduate.

  1. Remind all employees to help 100% of our youth graduate.
  2. Put flyers on your counter that remind customers of what they can do to help youth graduate.
  3. Remind young people how important it is to graduate.
  4. Remember that when we have a more educated society, we have a healthier and productive society.
  5. Go the extra mile and do something extra to spread the word about 100%.
  6. Encourage other businesses to join the movement.

Practical things to do in the home to help children graduate.

  1. Read to your children and/or have plenty of books around.
  2. Encourage your children to get involved in school activities.
  3. Find your high school diploma and display it some place in the home. If you do not have one, make a diploma for your children that shows the year they will graduate.
  4. Do things together as a family.
  5. Turn off the TV or computer.
  6. Eat together.
  7. Have limits at home because schools have limits.
  8. Make sure they get at least 8 hours of sleep every day.
Practical things educators can do to help 100% of our youth graduate.
  1. Make your school graduation goal 100%.
  2. Teachers need to consistently and relentlessly remind students that their number one goal is to graduate from high school.
  3. Remember that every teacher has the responsibility of graduating 100% of the students.
  4. Do your best to encourage parents to get involved in school. Give them specific things they can do.
  5. Look for educational alternatives for students who are losing interest and may drop out. Ask your school leaders to help.
  6. Believe you can make a difference by relentlessly working towards a 100% goal.

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