Overcoming Challenges to Graduation
Graduation, Reality And Dual-role Skills (GRADS) are programs for pregnant teens and/or young parents that focus on work and family foundation skills of significance to these students. GRADS programs include student demonstration of skills leading to high school graduation and economic independence.
The GRADS program curriculum is developed at the local level using standards from the Work and Family Foundation areas of study in the National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FACSE). The program requires a FACSE certified teacher, who has also completed GRADS training. The program includes on-site child care and practicums, as well as coordination of learning activities outside the classroom.
Currently, seventeen school districts in Washington State offer GRADS programs. Interested in starting your own program? Learn how.
Teen parents in Clark County's GRADS program get access to more services -
The Oregonian, November 2, 2012
- Audio: Staying in School and American Graduate Week - The Story, NPR, September 27, 2012 - interview of Vancouver, WA GRADS student begins at 22 minutes
Pregnant and parenting teens recognized for finishing high school: GRADs program helps them stay in school, be good parents - The Columbian, June 6, 2012
Davis senior: wife, mom, top student - Yakima Herald, May 30, 2012
Pregnant and parenting students face unique challenges and have a greater chance of dropping out of school than most other students. Read more.
Washington State data (2007-2008) indicates that 62 percent of GRADS students graduated, received a General Education Development (GED) credential, or continued in the program. Twenty-three percent of these students had dropped out of school prior to enrolling in GRADS. Nationally, pregnant and parenting teens have much lower retention and graduation rates. A 2001 study found that on average, 41 percent of teenage mothers obtained a standard high school degree, compared with 61 percent of women who did not give birth as teenagers.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is working in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health, the Office of the Attorney General, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, and WithinReach to support pregnant and parenting teens and improve services for pregnant and newly parenting victims of sexual and domestic violence and/or stalking. The work is made possible through a three-year Pregnancy Assistance Fund grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health.
OSPI’s work will focus on creating support for the GRADS program, which is an in-school, secondary program for pregnant students and young parents (male and female). OSPI will increase teacher training and support, work with GRADS teachers to update and align the curriculum with national and state standards, and increase enrollment through outreach and the addition of new sites. Communities where GRADS programs are located will be funded to develop a network that supports pregnant and parenting teens and their families.
During the 2011-12 school year, OSPI and the GRADS teachers completed an update of the
GRADS Curriculum Framework. The teachers formed the Framework by selecting a set of standards and competencies from the array of the Family and Consumer Sciences’ frameworks and then aligned them with state and national standards, including the Common Core State Standards. Next, the GRADS teachers will enrich the Framework with best practice lessons and activities.
Read the Washington State GRADS Annual Report 2011-2012 to learn more.
GRADS Program Specialist