Aspire’s networks chose to use the Waite High School community to begin its analysis. Waite was built in 1914 and has approximately 1500 students enrolled in grades 9 through 12. Seven elementary schools feed into Waite: Birmingham, East Broadway, Garfield, Marshall, Navarre, Oakdale and Raymer. The Waite neighborhood includes East Toledo and the Old South End along the Broadway corridor.
The networks chose to work in this area first because there is a diverse population, teen birth rates are among the highest in the county, and the highest density of children under 5 live in this area. Poverty rates are high. The percentage of children under 5 years old living under the poverty level in this area is approximately 70 percent, with some sections exceeding 80 percent.
Approximately 70 percent of the youth in the Waite area also live at or below the poverty level. The graduation rate of Waite High School in 2014 was 55.9 percent. Many aid and support programs are active in this community, yet nearly half of the enrolled students are not graduating. Waite is representative of the challenges we see in other areas of Lucas County.
Aspire is talking with parents, caregivers, teachers, administrators, social service agencies, health care professionals and community leaders to gather information beyond the statistics. Why are the graduation rates low? Why is attendance sporadic? Why are children not successful? Click here to learn more about our efforts to improve high school graduation.