Afterschool Program Helps High School Seniors Graduate

Students from Chicago public high schools who participated in a program created by Exelon, ComEd and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago to encourage students in at-risk communities to graduate high school reported substantially higher graduation rates than their peers throughout Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

According to the program’s annual report card, which was unveiled last Saturday, students who participated in the Stay in School Initiative had a 92 percent graduation rate compared to the 60.6 percent average for CPS seniors for the 2011-2012 school year. This is the fifth consecutive year that high school seniors in the program achieved a graduation rate above 90 percent.

Exelon and United Way created the Stay in School Initiative to address the issues preventing teens from graduating high school. Three community-based afterschool agencies – including B.U.I.L.D Inc., Centers for New Horizons and Youth Guidance – support the initiative. They provide a holistic suite of programs for students and their families that include tutoring, social services, leadership and social engagement, skill-building, and parental workshops. Employee volunteers from Exelon and its subsidiary, ComEd, provide one-on-one mentoring during a seven-month long workshop series.

The majority of the students in the Stay in School Initiative are from the Austin, Bronzeville/Grand Boulevard and Humboldt Park/West Town neighborhoods, communities with some of the highest dropout and truancy rates in the city. The initiative has served more than 13,000 students ages 13-20. It will serve an additional 2,000 students during the 2012-2013 school year. For the full 2011-2012 Stay in School Initiative report card, visit