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Graduation Walk to Encourage More than 1,000 Students to Return to School

August 24, 2018


Graduation Walk will encourage middle and high school students who are at risk of dropping out to return to school and graduate. About 300 volunteers and 150 Des Moines Public School employees will visit students’ homes to share information about the importance of graduating high school and offer support and encouragement to graduate. Elected officials including Des Moines City Council members Connie Boesen, Chris Colman and Josh Mandelbaum as well as area business leaders and community stakeholders, are expected to participate.

Graduation Walk focuses on supporting high schoolers behind on credits, as well as high school and middle school students with high rates of absenteeism or who are struggling academically. This event also raises awareness on the importance of high school graduation throughout the community and connects families to needed resources.

Media is invited to the kick-off event featuring Superintendent Tom Ahart, United Way of Central Iowa President Elisabeth Buck, and a Wells Fargo spokesperson. There will also be opportunities to follow volunteers.


Kick-off at Theodore Roosevelt High School, 4419 Center St, Des Moines, IA 50312


Saturday, August 25, 2018

  • Remarks from key stakeholders – 9:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m.

  • Graduation Walk – 9:00-11:00 a.m.


Graduation Walk is a partnership between Des Moines Public Schools and United Way of Central Iowa. It is sponsored by Wells Fargo.


A high school dropout is 3 times more likely to be unemployed than a college graduate. Missing just 10 percent – about 18 days – of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success. Poor attendance in the first month of school often sets the trajectory for the year.

Middle and high school students may miss school for a variety of reasons: They are disengaged, feel unsafe, or have family care and job responsibilities. Chronic absenteeism not only impacts students’ ability to perform well, but it also impacts the entire school as teacher instruction shifts to the students who are behind in class. Research shows that one caring adult can change a young person’s behavior and re-engage youth, especially at a time when they need support most.

Learn more about Graduation Walk.

Media Contact

Liz Adelman