Group 2 3 min Read

On Track for Graduation – and Beyond

The Cost to Graduate

Many people don’t know that summer school costs money – even for students enrolled in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program. This course fee is prohibitive for many families living in poverty. Bellevue LifeSpring’s Grads-On-Track program awards summer scholarships to these students, allowing them to recover credit, improve their grades and stay on the pathway out of poverty. By providing the opportunity to make up a class, Grads-On-Track puts on-time graduation within reach for every student in Bellevue.

“The cost to retake high school credits is expensive,” shared Melissa Slater, McKinney-Vento Advocacy Coordinator for the Bellevue School District. “Bellevue LifeSpring is the only organization that works with the school district to provide the scholarship opportunity for our students. It is potentially life-changing for these kids. Last year, 96% of the scholarship recipients earned high school credit. They were motivated, they were driven, they wanted to graduate and it happened because the scholarship program was accessible to them.”

The Impact

“The journey doesn’t end when kids leave high school, it really just begins,” Melissa continued. “The impact the Grads-On-Track program has on society goes beyond just our district.” Thanks to your support of Grads-On-Track, 181 students received scholarships for credit recovery this summer. You provided them with the funds to recover credit necessary for graduation – and to pursue higher education, fulfilling careers and successful lives.

Last year, Bellevue LifeSpring had the opportunity to award a college scholarship to one of its former Grads-On-Track recipients. “High school was a rollercoaster,” she confessed in her scholarship application. “I hit rock bottom when I failed a class but it awoke my drive to succeed. I took summer classes for credit recovery. Now I’m attending the University of Washington.”

With your support, we can continue to help students recover credit and continue their education toward a fulfilling, living-wage career.

“The fact that they had this opportunity [through Grads-On-Track] may be the single factor that made the difference for [these students] so that they could graduate,” Melissa said. “There’s a difference that Bellevue LifeSpring’s Grads-On-Track program makes for kids, not only as they move through high school, but their life beyond. It’s their opportunities moving forward as well because it’s kind of that launching point.” Seven of Bellevue LifeSpring’s current college scholarship recipients formerly received support from Grads-On-Track.

Why do students need Grads-On-Track?

Students living in poverty are at an increased risk of class failure due to factors beyond their control, including food insecurity, insufficient resources and instability in the home.

“Students end up needing to retake a class for several reasons,” Melissa continued. “They might struggle academically, they may have been experiencing homelessness and so school is not the focus for a semester. There may have been trauma in the family. And so, the student then needing to retake a class can be very difficult because it it’s expensive to do.”

The Bellevue School District has reported that up to 78% of students in need of credit recovery are living in poverty. Unfortunately, that means the students most in need of recovering credit are also least likely to be able to afford to do it.

How can you help?

Last June, over 1,500 students graduated from Bellevue high schools – ready to take on the world and achieve their dreams. Of these, 52 students were also Grads-On-Track recipients. The Bellevue community made their graduation and academic success possible. Support Bellevue kids on the path to graduation and beyond by giving to Bellevue LifeSpring’s Grads-On-Track program today.

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