Brian Wharton

2016 File Photo — Brian Wharton is the Yelm Community Schools superintendent.

The Graduate Yelm! initiative continues to thrive and grow.  

Graduate Yelm! is intended to engage the entire community in supporting students to graduation, into their planned continuing education, and then work. Our goal is that 100 percent of our students will graduate with a plan for the future.  

Our initiative is in its second year and the data looks strong.  

At Yelm High School, the on time graduation rate rose from 86.5 percent to 92 percent. The state average is 81 percent.  At Yelm Extension School, the five-year graduation rate grew 25 percent last year. We are really proud of our growth. We do, however, know that we can’t rest until we reach our goals.  

Since Graduate Yelm! doesn’t focus just on earning the diploma, planning by students and families for continuing education is more critical than ever. The largest barrier that prevents students from moving into their plan is the perception of costs being too high. In our district, we celebrate every continuing education pathway, including trade schools, the military, apprenticeship programs and two- and four-year colleges. This is why we focus very hard on students completing the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) so they can see how much tuition assistance is available.  

No community supports its graduates more than Yelm.  

Our Dollars for Scholars community program provides scholarships for seniors every year. The volunteers with Dollars for Scholars do amazing work to raise money that is turned into scholarship opportunities for seniors. In a typical year, approximately $130,000 is given to students who have completed the application and the interview process.

Graduate Yelm! asks the community to support our students by creating a “everyone will graduate” mentality, and to help create activities that motivate students to do well in school.  Dollars for Scholars offers two great ways for the community to get involved. First, everyone can attend the auction on March 7 starting at 4 p.m. at Yelm High School. Enjoy both the silent and live auction with activities and food throughout the evening. Even if your student is in elementary or middle school, attending the auction is a great way to see the community and students in action.  Second, volunteer with Dollars for Scholars.  You don’t have to wait until your student is in high school to help make sure the program stays strong for future graduating classes.  

If you are interested in becoming a Graduate Yelm! Network Partner, or want to join as a Personal Pledge, please access our Graduate Yelm! link on our website. To get connected with Dollars for Scholars, please check out their website.  

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Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools.

 

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