U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

Achievement gap continues to narrow for underserved students

 U.S. students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The nation’s high school graduation rate hit 82 percent in 2013-14, the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates five years ago.

“America’s students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college, getting a good job, owning their own home, and supporting a family. We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”

What’s more, the gap between white students and black and Hispanic students receiving high school diplomas continues to narrow, and traditionally underserved populations like English language learners and students with disabilities continue to make gains, the data show.

“A high school diploma is absolutely critical, absolutely attainable and key to future success in college, in the workforce and in life. It is encouraging to see our graduation rate on the rise and I applaud the hard work we know it takes to see this increase. But too many students never get their diploma, never walk across the graduation stage and while our dropout numbers are also decreasing, we remain committed to urgently closing the gaps that still exist in too many schools and in too many communities.”


Overall Changes in Graduation Rates
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 3-yr change (2010-11 to 2013-14)
American Indian/Alaska Native 65 67 69.7 69.6 4.6
Asian/Pacific Islander 87 88 88.7 89.4 2.4
Hispanic 71 73 75.2 76.3 5.3
Black 67 69 70.7 72.5 5.5
White 84 86 86.6 87.2 3.2
Low Income 70 72 73.3 74.6 4.6
English Learners 57 59 61.1 62.6 5.6
Students with Disabilities 59 61 61.9 63.1 4.1
Total 79 80 81.4 82.3 3.3

Achievement Gap Changes

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Black-white gap 17 17 15.9 14.8
Hispanic-white gap 13 13 11.4 11

Since 2010, states, districts and schools have been using a new, common metric—the adjusted cohort graduation rate—to promote greater accountability and develop strategies that will help reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide. For four consecutive years, graduation rates have continued to climb, which reflects continued progress among America’s high school students.

To ensure the economic strength of our country, students must graduate high school ready for college, careers and life. The Department has invested more than $1.5 billion in early learning; implemented strategies that improve achievement and close opportunity gaps, and awarded billions of dollars through such grant programs as Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and School Improvement Grants; and expanded college access and affordability for families.

To view the graduation rate data—including a state-by-state breakdown—click here.

HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call To Action!!!

As the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions have taken effect, 17.6 million Americans have gained coverage, and, since 2010, we’ve reduced the uninsured rate in this country by 45 percent. For  African Americans, more than 500,000 young adults between the ages of 19 and 26 who would have been uninsured now have coverage under their parents’ plan adding to the total of 2.3 million African Americans (ages 18-64) who have gained health insurance coverage, lowering the uninsured rate among African Americans by 6.8 percentage points.

Even with these major strides, too many African-Americans remain uninsured. We must work together to spread the word about new coverage options. This includes working with the states that have yet to expand Medicaid to get as many people covered as possible. To accomplish this, the White House Office of Public Engagement (WHOPE), White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU), U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Enroll America (EA) would like to invite the collegiate and graduate members chapters Nation Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) in collaboration with White House Initiative HBCU All-Stars to participate in the HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action.

HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action

The HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action is to engage student leaders, partner Greek organizations, and university/ college officials to work with Enroll America to convene a 4-hour phone bank event between the weeks of January 16th-30th on their campuses (or appropriate venue) to compete for a chance to win a video or phone call from a White House VIP surrogate.

This challenge will work as a component of the White House’s “Healthy Communities Challenge” which seeks to engage key communities with high percentages of uninsured in states across the country.

HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call to Action is a national campaign that seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • Raise awareness in targeted HBCU and surrounding communities about the ACA marketplace, preventive service benefits, enrollment deadlines and coverage options
  • Mobilize local partners, students and volunteers to make chase calls to the uninsured in their communities to remind and encourage marketplace and Medicaid* enrollment.
  • The campus that makes the greatest number of calls during the scheduled 4-hour event will be deemed the winner of the challenge.

To Participate:

Reach out to your local Enroll America Office to begin logistics process. Leaders from your local Enroll America Office will work with leaders to organize logistics, support in volunteer recruitment and training, and provide lists of known uninsured community residents.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. An independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Enroll America works with more than 4,600 partners in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to create cutting-edge tools, analyze data, inform policy, and share best practices in service of its mission: maximizing the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Suggested Participants

  • College Students
  • Young Professionals
  • Sororities
  • Fraternities
  • Local community partners
  • Elected officials
  • College/University administrators and leaders

Target HBCU All-Star Colleges and Universities (not limited to):

  • Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL
  • Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL
  • Bethune Cookman University, Daytona Beach, FL
  • Spelman College,  Atlanta, GA
  • Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
  • Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
  • Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
  • Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC
  • Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
  • Fisk University, Nashville, TN

Data Job open to non-Feds at U.S. Department of Education Closes 23 Dec

The Office of State Support (OSS) at the U.S. Department of Education is seeking a highly motivated data analyst to join our Data Reporting and Analysis Team. The Office of State Support administers a variety programs that serve elementary and secondary students  with the goal of ensuring that all students have access to a high quality education. The Data Reporting and Analysis Team will develop innovative and useful ways to incorporate data analysis into our mission critical grant-making work, build staff capacity to make ongoing use of data, and build a data culture in our office.  Interested applicants should have a demonstrated interest in driving improvement in education programs through the use of data.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this announcement or wish to apply, you must submit your application online through the USAJOBS website which can be assessed through one of the following locations.

The position closes on December 23rd.

IPA/UAO Opportunity

Opportunity for Inter-Agency Personnel Agreement (IPA)
University Affairs Officer, NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA.

The Office of Education and Public Outreach at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) implements high-quality and meaningful education experiences that enhance the Nation’s STEM pipeline while informing the public of NASA’s unique missions and discoveries. NASA’s Offices of Communication and Education functions are both essential elements in inspiring, informing, engaging and educating learners, and each plays a critical role towards increasing the public’s understanding and appreciation of NASA and STEM. A vital part of preparing and developing the STEM pipeline is engaging, and collaborating with, academia and STEM workforce development organizations for purposes of maximizing the efficiency and capacity of STEM competencies in the future workforce.

Roles & Responsibilities
The University Affairs Officer (IPA) is a public facing position that represents NASA with institutions of higher learning, and community-based STEM organizations.
For this position, the University Affairs Officer shall:
· Facilitate and foster relationships with institutions of higher education, STEM non-profits to enhance both NASA’s and the Nation’s future technical workforce
· Facilitate faculty interactions with Ames’ researchers and scientists.
· Function as the NASA Internships, Fellowships and Scholarships (NIFS) lead.
· Function as the Agency lead for NASA Fellowships, NASA Scholarships, NASA Academies and NASA’s International Internship programs.
· Serve as a subject matter expert in higher education with special emphasis on program development and implementation that attract and maintain students within a STEM pipeline.
· Develop proposals and solicitations for the Office of Education that seeks to aligned activities with NASA and CoSTEM’s efforts.
· Review and evaluate proposals from institutions of higher education & educational Non-profits in areas of STEM education and NASA relevant research.
· Design, develop, implement, and evaluate STEM education programs.
· Conduct an analysis of current STEM education research, both current and trending, in order to facilitate new approaches for the execution of programs designed to develop and train technical workforce for the Nation and NASA.
· Facilitate relationships with other Federal Agencies to enhance under-graduate and graduate learning.
· Functions as Agency Program Manager for NASA Scholarships, Fellowships and NASA’s International Internship programs

Desired Skill-Sets, Competencies and Experience
For this position the candidate shall posses the follow skill-sets and competencies:
· Ability to be self-directed and capable of initiating work products aligned with priorities
· Cognitive Skills associated with leadership and management
· Demonstrated project management skills
· Ability to apply risk management and risk mitigation expertise
· Excellent communication (oral/written) skills; proficient with formal and technical writing
· Success STEM program development experience
· Programmatic evaluation and assessment experience
· External/Internal awareness and expertise in field of STEM Education
· Process management skills
· Planning/goal setting/roadmap and logic model skills
· Organizational leadership experience
· Computer skills (office suites)
· Research/Analysis Experience
· Time management/optimization skills
· Exceptional interpersonal Skills
· Understanding of multicultural/multigenerational and diversity constructs, trends and challenges within STEM fields.
· Higher education administration and/or STEM research experience
· Undergraduate and graduate workforce development
· Grant management & assessment

The POC for this position is:
Brenda Collins (also CC’ed)
(650) 604-3540

Ajiah Graham Celebrates #CSEdWeek

2015 HBCU All-Star

Celebrating #CSEdWeek

Why did you decide to major in Computer Science?

Ajiah Graham
Ajiah Graham
J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College
Sophomore, Computer Science

I decided to major in Computer Science because it is a continuous and evolving career area that has and will continue to impact our daily lives. This field ranges from programming to computer maintenance. Computing is a part of everything we do and aide in making some activities in our lives better. This field of study is known to help solve challenging problems in the world. I chose to major in computer science because of rewarding careers it has to offer. These jobs are here to stay regardless of the location. Although there are plenty of job opportunities in Computer Science, studies have shown the lack of minorities in this particular STEM field. This has inspired me to increase the number of minorities in Computer Science.

What do you plan to do with your computer science major in the future?

I enjoy Computer Science because there are opportunities to work in a team or as the individual. I plan to work as a software engineer, and eventually become an entrepreneur and open up a computer programming company to develop software that enhances the teaching and learning of STEM in the minority population. I would also like to develop various software for upcoming and newly developed companies that need new systems built to cater to their specific needs. Also, I not only want to become an entrepreneur myself, but I would like to inspire others to become entrepreneurs as well.

Ajiah Graham is a 2015 HBCU All-Star from J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College. She is a sophomore and computer science major.

Sidney Smith Celebrates #CSEdWeek

2015 HBCU All-Star

Celebrating #CSEdWeek

Why did you decide to major in Computer Science?

Sidney Smith

Sidney Smith
University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff
Senior, Computer Science

I will never forget registration day for college. I sat with my counselor and she asked what I would like to major in. I was unsure and told her “general studies.” She said that would be a bad idea and I should pick something. I came up with Information Technology (IT). She stated our school’s “IT” was for “INDUSTRIAL Technology,” and the only field of study pertaining to computers was Computer Science. I figured I would give it a try. My first semester I was enrolled in Computer Science I. The first time I coded, executed, and saw my work run perfectly was a spark that lit the fire. I am now one semester away from graduating with honors in Computer Science and Mathematics.


What do you plan to do with your computer science major in the future?

Oddly enough I am becoming very passionate about agriculture and growing my own food. On the surface it would seem having a background in CS is totally irrelevant. Luckily for me computers are used in every field in these technological times. I am in the process of interviewing with a prominent, world-wide technological company as a Software Engineer. This is one of the highest paid occupations to date. I have also become quite found of Data Analytics and Database Administration. These two practices will assist in the agriculture venture. I am also able to establish networks and design websites either professionally or as a lucrative side hustle.

Sidney Smith is a 2015 HBCU All-Star from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.  He is a senior and computer science major.

Angelica Willis Celebrates #CSEdWeek

2015 HBCU All-Star

Celebrating #CSEdWeek

Why did you decide to major in Computer Science?

Angelica Willis

Angelica Willis North Carolina A&T University Junior, Computer Science

When the time came for me to choose a major in college, I was stumped. I knew that I was good at math and that I loved problem solving, therefore STEM interested me; however, I felt like a kid in a candy store being told I could only choose one treat from the hundreds of available varieties. For a while, I thought I liked architecture enough to spend four years of my academic life, and hopefully the rest of my career, pursuing it. I later realized that was not the case. I embarked on similar journeys of discovery followed by eventual commitment issues with biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering, and ecology. As college application season approached, I put my research skills to good use and made a hypothesis: there has to be one common thread that links every facet of innovation–an occupation that is vital to every STEM related industry–that will allow me to dabble in everything I love.



What do you plan to do with your computer science major in the future?

Computer science proved my hypothesis, as it is crucial to innovation in all disciplines of STEM. Everything from the mapping of the human genome and 3D modeling, to space travel and driverless car technology, relies heavily on software engineering and data science. I want to become the type of computer scientist who contributes to ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking projects that positively and dramatically affect the technological advancement of mankind. I am now a junior computer science student at North Carolina A&T State University who enjoys coding to solve global problems.

Andronica Klaas

2015 HBCU  All-Star

Celebrating #CSEDWeek

 Why did you decide to major in Computer Science?

Andronica Klaas

Andronica Klaas
Johnson C. Smith University
Junior, Computer Science

Even though I will be the first of my siblings to graduate college, my major was influenced greatly by my engineering and tech related background; my older sister is a self-taught electrician, my older brother is a self-taught computer genie and my little sister is an absolute science junkie. Growing up around a love for STEM challenged me to find my niche and I eventually grew to realize that my brother and I both shared a love for computers. Along with this experience, I spent 3 years in high school taking Information Technology as one of my major subjects and absolutely loved it – it was challenging yet fun and I later grew a passion for the field. Upon my arrival in college I decided to pursue computer science because through the above-mentioned experiences I had learned that I have a passion for this field. I later grew to find more benefits of being in computer science that have influenced me to continue pursuing the field, benefits such as; the opportunity of working in a wide range of industries, serving as a mentor to young black female aspiring computer scientists, joining a fast growing industry, having more job prospects and earning a higher salary upon graduation in comparison to my peers.


What do you plan to do with your computer science major in the future?


In the near future, specifically upon graduation, I plan on attending graduate school and advancing my computer science degree to an MBA in Information Systems and eventually advancing it to a PhD in Computer Science and Information Systems. I plan to continue obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills in my field, until I reach a point at which I can devise ways through which to bridge the digital divide. I plan on working with third world countries, especially South Africa, to bridge the divide by sharing the knowledge and skills obtained throughout my years of schooling and training.

Andronica Klaas is a 2015 HBCU All-Star attending Johnson C. Smith University.  She is a junior studying computer science.

DHS SRT 2016 Summer Internships available!!

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
2016 Summer Research Team Program for
Minority Serving Institutions

The purpose of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Summer Research Team (SRT) Program is to increase and enhance the scientific leadership at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) in research areas that support the mission and goals of DHS. This program provides faculty and student research teams with the opportunity to conduct research at the university-based DHS Centers of Excellence (DHS Centers). The SRT Program and DHS Centers are sponsored by the DHS Security Science and Technology Directorate Office of University Programs.

Faculty receive a $1,200 weekly stipend.

Graduate students receive a $700 weekly stipend.

Undergraduate students receive a $600 weekly stipend.

All participants may be eligible to receive housing and travel allowances.
10-week research experiences are offered at university-based DHS Centers of Excellence (DHS Centers).

Areas of research: Engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biological / life sciences, environmental science, emergency and incident management, social sciences, and more. Additional information regarding DHS Areas of Research may be found on the program website.

U.S. citizenship required

Previous program participants may apply.
Application deadline: December 20, 2015, 11:59PM EST

How to Apply: Applications and supporting materials must be submitted at

Detailed information about the program can be found at:


For questions please email us at dhsed@orau.org.