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Paving the Pathway – Expanding youth initiatives to improve high school graduation rates of at-risk students in Vancouver

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High school graduation is an important milestone for future employment and opportunities, income potential and overall well-being. However, too many students in low-income neighbourhoods fail to complete high school. In Canada, youth from low-income families are three times more likely to drop out of high school than youth from middle-income families. Negative peer effects in school and weak neighbourhood dynamics impact socio-emotional development and educational outcomes of youth. Investments in education can help overcome barriers associated with poverty. This capstone assesses how comprehensive youth initiatives can be expanded to improve high school graduation rates of at-risk students in Vancouver, British Columbia. Five criteria were used to assess policy options and their ability to increase high school graduation outcomes. Through literature reviews, interviews and case studies, a recommendation is made for the Ministry of Education to establish an After-School Grant Program and to request written proposals from interested schools and organizations.
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