Keeping students in school and ensuring they graduate is integral both for their personal lifelong success and the success of the Arlington community. Arlington ISD is committed to providing every student with a positive learning experience at school and the tools to graduate and succeed in life. And if students stop showing up, we’ll do anything we can to help them get back on the right track. One of the many district-wide efforts to help these students and increase graduation rates is the annual Operation Graduation.
Operation Graduation is a collaborative effort between the community and Arlington ISD with the goal of increasing the graduation rate of high school students. This year’s event is Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, from 8:30 a.m. to noon to encourage students who have been absent to return to school.
Arlington ISD staff and community volunteers will walk or drive to the homes of students who were enrolled in school during spring 2021 but have not yet returned to school this year. Staff can engage with students and families and motivate them to earn their diploma. All Arlington ISD high schools will be open from 9 a.m. to noon to give families an opportunity to re-enroll students.
“My favorite part of Operation Graduation is watching Dr. Cavazos instill hope in these families,” said dropout prevention coordinator Wendy Carrington. “Each person’s journey is so unique and special, and it is personally rewarding to see young people go from feelings of hopelessness to overcoming obstacles in their lives to earn their diplomas.”
The event has evolved from a campaign conducted by several big districts 11 years ago. Arlington ISD has had so much success registering kids and improving relationships between schools and homes, it has continued the tradition every year since.
Home visits have proven to be one of the most effective ways to reach students. Most parents and students are amazed when their principal, assistant principal, teacher, superintendent or school board member shows up at their home to invite them back to school. They appreciate that school employees care enough about them to take time out of their day off to visit their home. Families are often unaware of the support systems the district provides, so it can be helpful for them to learn all the options available to them.
“We truly believe education is the great equalizer, and a high school diploma is the foundation for a long, healthy, happy life,” said Carrington. “I know it will allow them to move forward and accomplish any goals they set for themselves.”
It’s evident Operation Graduation can change the lives of students. The district has seen students who have returned to school go on to pursue the next level of education in college or trade schools or earn raises and promotions at work. Some have been the first in their families to graduate from high school.
In Arlington ISD, we don’t just teach students, we shape futures. If you are ready to re-enroll, please visit aisd.net/register. If you want to sign up to be a community volunteer for Operation Graduation, please fill out this online form.