Graduation Walk

Graduation Walk 2014 – Saturday, August 23

Click the Graduation Walk logo above to volunteer and help a student stay on course to earn their high school diploma.

On August 23, Des Moines Public Schools, United Way of Central Iowa, and corporate sponsor Wells Fargo are holding the sixth annual Graduation Walk. This year’s event has been moved to August, in order to reach students who are behind in class credits and at risk of dropping out. Visits to the homes of these students can offer encouragement to start the school year and to continue their education.

We invite you to volunteer for this important event. In one Saturday morning, you can help a young person make the best decision of their life: to graduate from high school.

At Graduation Walk, you’ll be part of a team of 3-4 community volunteers and school administrators who will go to the homes of students who have dropped out of Des Moines Public Schools or who are at risk of dropping out because of lack of credits. You will connect with the student and family and provide an opportunity to re-enroll. When a young person does not graduate high school, it’s an issue for all of us.


  • Dropouts stand to earn, on average, $707,400 less over their lifetimes compared to their peers who graduate.
  • People who drop out of high school are four times more likely to be unemployed, five times more likely to become incarcerated, and six times more likely to become teen parents.
  • Adding the loss of income and the human service costs, every dropout represents a million dollar issue. The past five events volunteers have had a major influence on the lives of youth, offering them the information and opportunity they need to complete high school and build a positive future.

The success of Graduation Walk is thanks to our hundreds of volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, simply visit the United Way of Central Iowa to register. (NOTE: Volunteers signing up as “door-to-door walkers” are required to attend a training offered before August 23. During the registration process, you will be prompted to sign up for a training date.)

View this video for more information about the Graduation Walk

Destination Graduation

DestGrad-LogoDes Moines Public Schools administrators, educators, school board members, and community partners continue to work together to keep students in school and on track to graduate.

In October 2010, the district was awarded $6 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education to reform high schools and improve the educational outcomes of students.

The school district will receive $1.2 million per year for five years to support Destination Graduation — the district’s initiative to see fewer students drop out of school and more students graduate.

The five-year goal for DMPS is to raise the graduation rate to 95 percent and lower the dropout rate to below state average.