UMaine Hosting Dropout Prevention Summit July 27-28

Contact: Jim Artesani, 581-4061

ORONO — More than 250 state policymakers, stakeholders, lawmakers and educators will gather at the University of Maine July 27-28 for the 2009 Maine’s Dropout Prevention Summit.

With funding this year from America’s Promise Alliance, founded by General Colin Powell and his wife Alma Powell to reduce school dropout rates, summit participants will review and consolidate for the first time multiple high school completion initiatives into a new statewide high school completion plan, according to UMaine associate professor of special education James Artesani, who is helping to coordinate the summit.

The conference, cosponsored by the UMaine College of Education and Human Development’s Institute for the Study of At-Risk Students and the Maine Department of Education, is scheduled 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. primarily in the D.P. Corbett business building on the Orono campus. Maine’s First Lady Karen Baldacci is scheduled to participate.

Maine’s 20-30-percent dropout rate ranks 13th nationally, but Artesani says the goal of educators and policymakers is to further reduce dropout rates by promoting high school completion through a multitude of methods. Studies show that high school dropouts tend to live substandard lives economically and socially, and also are more susceptible to health problems and divorce.