Jacksonville joins push to raise graduation rate

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A cry for help from high school students across the nation is finally being answered, and Jacksonville is joining the cause.

It's called GradNation, a campaign to raise the national graduation rate.

Friday's day-long summit in the River City was part of a series of summits to be held across the country through 2016. University and community leaders were there to exchange ideas that will help develop a plan.

The national graduation rate is currently about 72 percent. The goal is to raise that rate to 90-percent by 2020.

Mayor Alvin Brown said parents and the community are needed to reach this goal.

"If you don't have the opportunity to allow kids to give back, participating in making sure that they understand their community in giving back; those things are very important," Brown said. "We have an opportunity now to really lay out a strategy, a clear vision for the whole community to embrace."

There are four areas of focus for GradNation: early childhood education, literacy, mentoring for at-risk students and increasing African-American male achievement.

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