This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
More than a decade after forming, a coalition of city agencies and nonprofits dedicated to improving high school graduation rates in Philadelphia has set new goals.
By 2020, the coalition, called Project U-Turn, aims for 70 percent of the city’s dropouts to return to school at some point and for half of those who return to earn their high school diploma. Right now, the coalition said, 54 percent of students who entered high school in 2008 but dropped out at some point eventually returned to school. Of those who returned, only 35 percent went on to graduate.
The coalition — with members from 25 organizations and government entities, including the School District of Philadelphia — also vowed to reduce the number of students who "disconnect from high school" to 20 percent by 2020. Among students who started at a Philadelphia high school in 2008, 25 percent dropped out within four years, according to a Project U-Turn report.