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Project 43 History


According to data released by Chicago Public Schools, the 2008 and 2009 Five Year Cohort Dropout Rate was 43%. This means that 4 out of every 10 students in the Chicago Public School system did not graduate from high school. Each year UNITE members from university chapters across the country come together to research, question, and analyze a different factor that influences this alarming statistic. The weekend event, Project 43, lasts 43 straight hours during which time UNITE members attend workshops, speak to community members, interview teachers and students, and ultimately spread the awareness of the high dropout rate in urban areas.


Project 43 is UNITE’s largest annual fundraiser. Each participant gathers donations from sponsors. All donations are used to further UNITE’s programming in support of our university chapters to prepare future teachers to impact urban students and empower them to overcome challenges like factors that contribute to dropping out.


While the Five Year Cohort Dropout Rate has decreased to around 40% since UNITE started Project 43 in 2010, the number of students who dropout on a daily basis in urban areas around the country is still a problem that plagues urban schools. Teachers need to not only be aware of this statistic, but be prepared with a toolkit of resources and strategies to help students who are at risk of dropping out.



Past Themes:


2010- How does the Community Influence the Dropout Rate?

2011- Spread the Word: Awareness and Recognition

2012- School Closings and the Dropout Rate

2013- How does the Teacher Dropout Rate Impact the

          Student Dropout Rate?

Countdown to:

Dates: February 21st-23rd

Location: Chicago, IL


This year UNITE members will research and analyze the impact of falling behind in elementary school, specifically in literacy, and how that plays a role on a student’s chances of graduating from high school.


According to a recent study* conducted by Donald J. Hernandez and published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a student who is not on reading level by 3rd grade is 4 times more likely to dropout by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Students from low-income families who are not reading at grade level by 3rd grade are   13 times more likely to dropout when compared to a student who is not in poverty.


*Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation

Donate to Project 43!


Use the PayPal link below to make a donation via credit card, debit card, or your PayPal account. If you are sponsoring a specific participant, you may write their name in the “Notes” section of your donation.

Register for Project 43 2014


Are you a member of a UNITE university chapter? Register today for Project 43 and prepare yourself for a life-changing 43 hours! Check with your chapter president for more information about travel and accommodations.


Elementary School Check:

The Impact of Falling Behind