Dropout prevention: Gwinnett takes a STEP forward to get overage 8th graders back on track to graduation

The AJC’s Nancy Badertscher has a good story today about Gwinnett’s  STEP program targeting overage eighth graders, who face a very high risk of dropping out of high school.

These students who have fallen behind their peers are put in an accelerated yearlong program with specially trained teachers. Through concerted effort and time, they can get back on track for graduation.

Based on a national model, the program combines classroom and online classes. STEP sound promising and has had strong initial results for Gwinnett students.

Here is an excerpt of Nancy’s story: (Please read the full story before commenting.)

While the district has a 67.6 percent overall high graduation rate, only about 13 percent of its students who enter ninth grade a year or more behind are leaving high school with a diploma. The goal of Gwinnett’s new STEP academies is to get those students back on track to on-time graduation through a compressed, one-year schedule of online and traditional classes.

The students push through the eighth grade curriculum in semester 1 and can be ready to move on to 10th grade after completing their ninth grade studies in semester 2. All this takes place in a super high-tech classroom with innovative computer software, interactive and hands-on projects and a focus on the real-life relevance of learning.

“It is not for students who are unmotivated,” said Gale Hey, Gwinnett’s associate superintendent for teaching and learning. “It takes commitment.”

These schools-within-schools are patterned after the nationally lauded Star Academies, the first of which opened in South Carolina in 2005. Thirty-five now exist around the country, including two, each with capacity for 80 students, at Gwinnett’s Sweetwater and Moore middle schools.

“We took what they gave us and put it on steroids,” said Georgann Eaton, principal at Sweetwater Middle School. “We had a higher level of expectations.”

For their part, students have to commit to a rigorous class schedule and strict rules on attendance. Parents have to attend five hours of training on what they’re expected to do to help their students succeed. The teacher-student relationship also is considered a critical component, and there’s an expectation that teachers will be available to help their students before school, after school and, if necessary, on Saturdays.

“If you listen to the parents and students, it’s truly a game-changer,” Eaton said.

Students fall behind for a variety of reasons as officials running Gwinnett’s academies have found. Some came from other countries and weren’t on grade level; some were held back after kindergarten; some failed a grade in elementary school; and at least one got behind due to prolonged illness. “A lot of students’ disengagement is really a learned behavior,” Eaton said. “They’re generally students who really can achieve but who have not been able to find that real-life connection they need.”

Science, technology, engineering and math are emphasized at the academies, as are benefits of knowledge in those valued fields, such as putting students on the path to dual college enrollment, better paying jobs and interesting careers, Hey said.

The program has been a good fit for many, though not all. Last year, 74 middle school students in Gwinnett attended the program. Of those, 58 were ready for 10th grade at year’s end. Nine were ready for ninth grade, and 12 dropped out.

This year, 154 middle school students are enrolled in the two academies. To date, 19 have dropped out, according to data compiled by Hey’s office.

Durrant Williams, assistant principal at Berkmar High School, said he believes “the development of such a creative program will ultimately change the face of public education in Gwinnett County Public Schools.” The program, Williams said, is demonstrating that the focus of the school system and its leaders “is to ensure that all students receive a world-class education, regardless of their previous struggles.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

45 comments Add your comment

Chris Murphy

December 2nd, 2012
11:06 am

Some new math involved here?

“The program has been a good fit for many, though not all. Last year, 74 middle school students in Gwinnett attended the program. Of those, 58 were ready for 10th grade at year’s end. Nine were ready for ninth grade, and 12 dropped out.”

74= 58 + 9 + 12?

indigo

December 2nd, 2012
11:07 am

Even though I grew up in a single parent paycheck to paycheck home, the idea of not graduating from high school never entered my mind.

America is in an epidemic of poor parenting. Neither liberal or conservative politicians have shown the slightest inclination to man up and tackle this problem.

Because of political correctness, anyone and everyone who could really make a difference avoid this issue like the plague.

This STEP program is just a “window dressing” social experiment that no one expects to make any real difference.

Chris Murphy

December 2nd, 2012
11:08 am

I’m all for the strategy, in which a district operates with a level equal to the emergency, but I am also very wary (and cynical) when they trot out their statistics, which usually don’t add up, or don’t meet some other ’smell test.’

KB

December 2nd, 2012
11:11 am

It will be interesting to see how these students perform on standardized tests – have they really learned or is this another instance of being socially promoted?

paulo977

December 2nd, 2012
11:19 am

Dekalb county School Superintendent …..wants to close 12 MORE schools most of them in the south end of the county!!!!!!!!

drew (former teacher)

December 2nd, 2012
11:42 am

So, you make students responsible. You require parents to do their part. Then you provide specially trained teachers willing to go the extra yard, students committed to doing the work, state of the art classrooms, and voila…success! I think I’ve heard all of these ideas mentioned by teachers here before.

“The program has been a good fit for many, though not all. Last year, 74 middle school students in Gwinnett attended the program. Of those, 58 were ready for 10th grade at year’s end. Nine were ready for ninth grade, and 12 dropped out.”

Not to rain on this parade, but 58 of 74 students go from “struggling incoming 8th graders” to “ready for 10th grade” in one year? What exactly does “ready” mean in this context? Do the students actually go from 8th grade to 10th grade? If I’m reading this correctly, they complete the 8th grade curriculum in one semester, then the entire 9th grade curriculum in another semester? Sounds to good to be true to me. And usually, when it sounds to good to be true, it is. Call me a cynic, but let’s see where these students are in two more years.

And one thing not mentioned in the article is the cost of this program (some grant no doubt). But if it’s so effective, why is it not the model for ALL schools? Sounds like Gwinnett is devoting lots of resources on those who chose to “checkout” of their education for a few years, and now want to get check back in. I’m all for students graduating, but if these students and parents were committed to education, expensive programs like this wouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

Dr. Monica Henson

December 2nd, 2012
12:11 pm

drew (former teacher) posted, “But if it’s so effective, why is it not the model for ALL schools?”

Amen to that. But if you start designing educational programming so that it meets the needs of STUDENTS (rather than accommodating the adults who are paid to teach/feed/drive/maintain facilities), then you will streamline the number of paid adults dramatically. You’ll also see many students completing the curriculum, if mastery learning credit is permitted, at a swifter pace. This means they are not in school for a full 12 years, meaning that there aren’t as many dollars generated dependably to support the paid-adult infrastructure that has been created to support the traditional public school model.

It’s not just the “bloated administrative bureaucracy” bemoaned by so many on this blog that will be reduced–there’ll be reductions in staff across the board. I for one don’t think that’s a bad thing, but there are many in the education establishment whose defense of the status quo is centered primarily around preserving this infrastructure.

Are local boards of education prepared to accept the wholesale change that would result from large-scale implementation of TRULY student-centered programming? I seriously doubt it.

Dr. Monica Henson

December 2nd, 2012
12:14 pm

I helped create a Magic Johnson Bridgescape program for overaged/undercredited middle schoolers in Warren County, NC, a rural district about an hour outside of the Research Triangle: http://edisonlearning.com/content/20120724/new-north-carolina-bridgescape-program. It is similar to the Gwinnett STEP program, and they are in the first full year of implementation. It will be interesting to see how their results compare.

crankee-yankee

December 2nd, 2012
12:21 pm

There is an observation (cannot remember the name for it) that with ANY change, there will be a positive (but not necessarily long-lasting nor permanent) effect.
Additionally, a small group process does not always scale up successfully. The people involved with the initial roll-out will always be more committed to the process than those who follow since they built it. Replacing or duplicating them is usually difficult.
We will need to watch and see how this process pans out as it expands to see how well it operates over time.

Ron F.

December 2nd, 2012
12:42 pm

Whaddaya know- a PUBLIC school system did something to help increase success for KIDS?? After all, aren’t we just adult employment agencies bent on sucking the taxpayers dry? Could it be that some in the current system really DO look at data and try to make decisions that will help students learn? Who would have thought it possible?

Now that I’m through being snarky, let me congratulate those in Gwinnett who got this program up and running. Most systems need to be able to offer this type of system to help kids who are in danger of dropping out. Some will anyway, but clearly we can reduce that number significantly with just this type of program. Perhaps as we learn to work WITH instead of AGAINST each other, the online charter schools and public systems could develop this same type of program, where local teachers could be the resource for the kids as they work online to catch up credits.

Ron F.

December 2nd, 2012
12:46 pm

“Are local boards of education prepared to accept the wholesale change that would result from large-scale implementation of TRULY student-centered programming? I seriously doubt it”

How about starting at the state level, since they set graduation requirements we must comply with in the local systems. Get them to accept that kids could graduate in less than twelve years and get a legislatively approved path, and I bet many local systems would get on board. Every school has kids who could do it, and you’d find local support among parents strong enough to convince local boards, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s as much about local boards and school employees’ “defense of the staus quo” as it is about a need for state leadership to step up and approve a framework for it. If the state leaders will allow it, it could happen.

Hillbilly D

December 2nd, 2012
1:13 pm

In my opinion, this needs to be dealt with long before the 8th grade. The sooner, the better.

Get them to accept that kids could graduate in less than twelve years and get a legislatively approved path, and I bet many local systems would get on board.

Back in my day, there were a few kids who did that. My memory is pretty hazy but it was fairly easy to wind up needing only senior English to complete your requirements, when you were a senior. I knew some who went to summer school, in order to graduate early. I was part of a class where we took all 3 semesters of senior English in the fall semester (we spent 3 hours a day, in that class) and we all graduated 6 months early. It is something that can be done for a certain number of the students.

huh?

December 2nd, 2012
1:17 pm

Please forgive my confusion. A student who failed at least one of grades one through eight is going to somehow miraculously pass the eighth and ninth grades in one scholastic year. And the education bureaucracy wonders why the average stakeholder / taxpayer is suspicious of every new scheme to pretend that children are actually receiving an education. Pitiful!

KIM

December 2nd, 2012
2:07 pm

Read the article and am impressed that GC has taken the step (no pun intended) to tackle the affects that result in potential drop outs. From what I have read about STEP the end result justifies the means: students are focused and parents have to contribute. Sounds like a great plan. And as for the math…I hardly think they owe us a perfect addition problem. There are students who are probably unaccounted for…did they actually drop out or are they in cyber space and yet unidentified. If you are hung up on the math, then you are hung up and out.

Tom

December 2nd, 2012
4:43 pm

This program needs to begin in the 3rd grade, and offered in each grade thereafter.

What happens to those students who are not willing to agree to the prerequisites to enroll in this program?

Beck

December 2nd, 2012
4:47 pm

Dr. Monica Henson

December 2nd, 2012
5:04 pm

Ron F. posted, “If the state leaders will allow it, it could happen.”

It’s not as simple as that. There have already been a couple of surveys sent out, by the state, to all superintendents asking for feedback on the issue of permitting mastery learning credit via an amendment to the Rule. Even so, the most recent proposed change to the State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.15 AWARDING UNITS OF CREDIT AND ACCEPTANCE OF TRANSFER CREDIT AND/OR GRADES, currently has a restriction to only 3 credits that could be awarded based on a student being able to demonstrate proficiency by taking a test to confirm it, such as the EOCT.

I think there’s definitely support, at both the state and local levels, for making some change. The wholescale opening of the floodgates remains quite unlikely, though, in my opinion.

The state is not going to impose something like this wholesale without the support of the superintendents. Superintendents of local BOEs are not likely to support a measure that is such a radical change in the way that

Dr. Monica Henson

December 2nd, 2012
5:06 pm

Oops, hit the send key by mistake.

Superintendents of local BOEs are not likely to support a measure that is a dramatic change in the way that business is done because if they have good sense, they’ll run something like this by their boards, and the boards will object to anything too radical.

KIM

December 2nd, 2012
5:11 pm

Beck is correct and Move ON When Ready is encouraged in many districts.

Ole Guy

December 2nd, 2012
5:38 pm

This program, worthy in it’s intent, somehow misses one crucial element. Rather than develop a fine program intended to combat the problem of overaged 8th graders, why not concentrate on the root causes behind these kids being where they are. Criteria lists the students’ need for COMMITMENT to rigor and scheduling. Does it not stand to reason that if the educational community INSISTED upon this level of student commitment in the first place, there just may be no need to develop these programs.

However, as I recall in my short tenure in the classroom, teacher ain’t allowed to place too much pressure on the kid…lest the kid become unhappy with teacher and yammer to mom an’ dad who, in tern, yammer to principal because their kids’ teacher is being an SOB.

Good programs are good only if they’re implemented 100%.

catlady

December 2nd, 2012
7:32 pm

Hope it does work. However, the codicil “With concerted effort and time” is sort of funny, since the lack of that is why many of these kids are in this position. Not, note, lack of effort and time by their teachers in the past.

In my system there are virtually none of these overage 8th graders, as we never hold any children back, no matter how astonishing their lack of skills.

Terr Jones

December 2nd, 2012
8:19 pm

These program turn up everytime there is some “grant money” to fund them. The numbers only move about 2 points and they are called a success. When this stop adding any results; there is will be another program with free money. The success of any students come with innovative teachers in the classroom and the student’s motivation and discipline to learn. Some schools expects little from students and then
pass them along – asking teachers to give them makeup work – because when the teacher was teaching the originial lesson – they were sleeping. She writes them up and the teacher is reprimanded. This ids the cycle.

RCB

December 2nd, 2012
9:19 pm

“All this takes place in a super high-tech classroom with innovative computer software, interactive and hands-on projects and a focus on the real-life relevance of learning.”

Gosh, that sounds really nice. Too bad all of the responsible kids don’t have this, too.

Pride and Joy

December 2nd, 2012
10:03 pm

KIM, are you a teacher? Yes, reporters DO need math skills and they and the education programs DO OWE US correct math.
Your explanation, however, for why the math may not be accurate is more pitiful than the inaccurate math. You say some of the students may not be accounted for…
So that would make the problem even worse, Kim.
Kim, there is no nice way to put this. 58 plus 12 plus 9 ALWAYS equals 79.
It never ever equals 74 — even if there were some missing students out there as you suggest.
Sad, so sad.
And the educRATS wonder why we parents are so concerned about our public schools?
Dear Lord.

crankee-yankee

December 2nd, 2012
11:23 pm

RCB
December 2nd, 2012
9:19 pm

I do not teach in the STEP program but my classroom is “super high-tech” (a computer for every kid) with “innovative software,” my curriculum is generously laced with hands-on projects and I teach a career unit that focuses “on real life relevance.” So I guess the “responsible kids” DO have access to it.

The way I read the quote is the “overage kids” have the same equipment & opportunities available to them as the on-track kids, what is different is the intensive delivery modality.

Ole Guy

December 3rd, 2012
1:48 am

What will be the end result of all this crapin’ around…in a manner of speaking…locking the barn door long after the horses have escaped. We’ll have the best-educated flunkies money can buy…that’s exactly what we’ll have. Rather than focus on programs which yield a positive return on investment, these gd educational gurus come up with all this snake oil which is guaranteed only one result…to enrich the few folks who sell all the marvelous stuff.

Look people, contrary to popular thought, these gd kids aren’t stupid, “disadvantaged”, or “at risk”. They simply know how to play the system like a fiddle; how to gain attention and get that free ride to (what they feel is) success. If the kid can’t/won’t get with the gd program and learn this stuff in the prescribed amount of time, to hell with em. Let the gd parents fund these special programs for their special little ones who will only grow up to be worthless adults…probably not unlike the adults in their lives.

INTENSIVE DELIVERY MODALITY…what a load of crap. These gd kids are being set up to expect the attentions of “intensive delivery” throughout their miserable lives. In case no one has heard, life is a one-time shot; the train only comes around once; if you ain’t ready when the rest of your peers, who somehow managed to “get it” the first time, are on the ready line…you’re _ ucked. You religous zeolots and adhearants to political correctness may find MY delivery modality unsavory, but, gd-it, that’s the straight skinny.

Stop playing these gd games with these kids; start INSISTING they “unstuck their heads” and get with the program.

Another comment

December 3rd, 2012
4:02 am

The biggest problem is the dumbing down with Bushes Leave no child behind has bored the crap out of so many kids. My daughters tell me of boys that constantly interrupt and cause problems. She tells me that she is in classes with kids that are so stupid. My child can miss 2-3 days work and get a 97 or so on the test the highest test in the class. The other kids in the class will get a 32 to a 53 on the test and they were there every day. My child has head aches and stomaches from boredom. The school nurse and our pediatrician are her best friend.

We didn’t have these problems in the northern state that has always been top ranked where I went to school. First it it a one high school district that has it feeders schools feed into it. it has an AP Regents, Regents (College Bound) and General ( vocational ) diploma tract. It shares the votech school with a neighboring one high school district. Jrs and Seniors attend this school 1/2 days and are career ready at graduation. These districts have over 95% graduation rate.

Students are separated out on the basis of their ability and behavior early on. Too many. Children loose in Georgia’s one size fits all boondoogle

drew (former teacher)

December 3rd, 2012
5:58 am

another comment,
I suggest you get your precious darling in a private school, or move to some “northern” state ASAP. If allow her to remain where she is now, you obviously don’t care enough about her education.

drew (former teacher)

December 3rd, 2012
6:04 am

Intensive delivery modality? I used some of that on that last play of the SEC championship.

Ole Guy,
I feel your gd delivery modality! Intense, indeed.

ljhays

December 3rd, 2012
7:32 am

The eighth grade is too late to remediate students’ poor academic performance. STEP-type resources should be provided beginning in early elementary school and be an integral part of all educational resources, not a discrete program that will be abandoned as soon as the next educational fad comes along.

Mountain Man

December 3rd, 2012
7:54 am

I agree with a lot of the posters here that the problem should not be addressed at the eighth grade level – but earlier when the problem starts.

I also have my doubts about the success of the program – lem us know how it turns out. I think the majority of the overage eighth graders are from backgrounds that you are not going to be able to fix. Sure, there are some outliers – the “illness” student who can make up his/her work in one year. Most will be the chronic attendance and don’t-care students that this program will not help.

Mary Elizabeth

December 3rd, 2012
8:52 am

“I think the majority of the overage eighth graders are from backgrounds that you are not going to be able to fix.”
—————————————————————————-

Many of the students who are behind grade level in 8th grade actually need private counseling to rectify their underlying problems. The school system cannot afford private counseling for each student in this situation, but traditional public schools can, at least, provide lowered teacher to pupil ratio – with these specific students – so that caring, competent teachers can nurture these students in ways beyond the purely academic. With their emotional growth targeted as a specific goal (as well as their academic growth targeted as another goal), and with caring, competent teachers assigned to these specific students in order to carry out these goals, these students can progress, and they can progress much quicker and to a higher level of performance than they had previously been able to achieve without this targeted affective-level goal being implemented with them in the classroom setting.

Private Citizen

December 3rd, 2012
10:22 am

MH, It’s not just the “bloated administrative bureaucracy” bemoaned by so many on this blog that will be reduced–there’ll be reductions in staff across the board. I for one don’t think that’s a bad thing, but there are many in the education establishment whose defense of the status quo is centered primarily around preserving this infrastructure.

When you say “staff” I wonder if you mean staff in the school house or staff in the main district office. I word in one school environment and we had a pretty good balance in the building of students / teachers / asst. and management staff. Not too much and a pretty challenging load for everybody. The “problem” was that so much of our time was being directed to outside directives and to testing emphasis. Being in the building is like being a pair of blue jeans in a washing machine, round and round, rinse, wash, and again. And it seemed like whenever we, including the bosses, tried to direct energy to content we got slam dunked back down to testing Hades and punished or redirected from good content, not to mention the complete absence of supply materials for content, maybe not absence, but spotty, some subjects get support, some do not, barely rational. Number of staff was not the problem, outside directives, lack of content support, and excessive required testing was the problem.

The main district office has been thinned out, too. 4-5 years of sequential budget squeezing has had it’s desired result. But maybe it should be squeezed some more. Maybe the budgets should be really squeezed. I regret that I have no love for my former district office due to the unethical people I witnessed who made up jobs for themselves and went around and harassed teachers and could do so due to the depth of their political connections and years in the district. They’re criminals are heart and it is like there is a little criminal gang at the center of things and they need to use other people to justify their scam, paying themselves $100k salaries. These are the ones who got out of teaching as quick as they could and headed into management with the bigger salary and nice clothes and going around acting like they’re the big boss, the royalty over other people. These are the ones who move principals around and keep them on the hot wire. I am not sure what to do about this local management malaise, but something needs to be done about it.

The problem with generalizing about labor numbers is that it is probably different in different counties. Some places you probably have thinly staffed central office that do not interfere with teachers, other places you have these management palaces and people with periphery jobs and people who are receiving management level income to go around and target and harass people as if they have a shopping list that they make up of who they are going after, except that they’re not shopping, they’re doing something else. The more conspicuous when the management structure has squishy graduate degrees and they go after people with real content or graduate degrees. I was in one building and criminals who do this went directly after the three highest educated teachers in the building and started to occupy their classrooms and harass them.

Maude

December 3rd, 2012
10:38 am

If a student is behind in 8th grade it means they do have have the highest IQ how do you expect them to learn knowledge for 2 years in 1 year??

Private Citizen

December 3rd, 2012
10:48 am

provide lowered teacher to pupil ratio – with these specific students – so that caring, competent teachers can nurture these students in ways beyond the purely academic

that and yes, please get them out of the general ed. classroom. Having kids three years out of grade level in the general ed classroom is catastrophic, especially in the lower grades when there are difference in innocence / adulthood and it is compound when you had the age difference. This is a huge thing and these out-of-age-range students have different needs than the other kids.

Maybe when a kid fails one grade they stay with their class, but when they’re two years behind they need an intervention and they do not physically belong with their former pier group. This might have worked in the past in the one room schoolhouse, but with today’s fast paced high-demand classroom, it does not work and creates a serious imbalance and is very destructive. Also, if the out of age kid is a hoodlum, they can challenge the teacher and try and lead the class and awaken the rest of the carnival hoodlums. It is complete dereliction of duty from the state or local managers to allow kids three years out of grade to be in general education classroom, and they DO NOT like this pointed out to them. It is confronting and maybe they are keen to it already.

These kind of kids can blossom with remediation. In the general classroom, many of them have signed off from academics and occupy themselves with trying to attract other students or to challenge and mess-with the teacher. For some of these out-of-agers, they makes this activity a FULL TIME JOB in the classroom. And they work with dedication – at challenging the teachers and trying to entertain their friends who are not really their friends because they get displaced so much.
Oh yes and there is always the one teacher who can handle them, the “mother” who knows how to manipulate the kid and keep them occupied somehow, like an infant. There might be some love in it, but it is also manipulative and a maintenance situation.

Private Citizen

December 3rd, 2012
2:08 pm

five-facts-about-america-s-pathological-wealth-distribution

1. We’re close to being the most unequal country in the world.
2. Wealth accumulation has been rigged for the rich.
3. As tax rates have gone down, income for the rich has gone up.
4. “We should all cheer for the stock market” is a big scam. Thanks a lot, “NPR”
5. Debt has masked wealth inequality for 30 years

http://www.nationofchange.org/five-facts-about-america-s-pathological-wealth-distribution-1354546558

daniel reid

December 3rd, 2012
2:22 pm

Funny that some would question Ms. Badertscher’s mathematical skills when it’s their own critical thinking that needs examination. While it’s entirely possible that she erred, the number of dropouts in fact says nothing of readiness for the next grade. So a kid could be counted among the 58 (or the 9) AND the 12. It’s just plain nonsense to think that the sum of those numbers MUST be 79.

Ron F.

December 3rd, 2012
2:42 pm

“These kind of kids can blossom with remediation”

:-) :-)

Yes, indeed they can. And we have to accept that some need that remediation all the way through. It’s not a case of one year and they’re done. They need follow-up. Most have been at-risk all the way through. I love those kids and teach them every day. It is very taxing some days, but very worth it also!

what's best for kids???

December 3rd, 2012
2:59 pm

Here, here, RCB.
Here, here.

Jail House

December 3rd, 2012
4:05 pm

Where the motivations of the STEP program are admirable the cruel reality is the program is too little too late for too many students. Educators and communities at large would be wise to cue their planning and delivery of supplemental intervention in the same manner as the For Profit Prison system. Prison facilities project the demand and building of prison capacity around reading test results of 3rd Graders. In short, all stakeholders should focus on driving this metric to improve overall graduation rates.

Pride and Joy

December 3rd, 2012
8:49 pm

“Intensive delivery modality.”
Mwa ha ha ha.
I always laugh at those who try to impress others with important sounding terms; I just wish those same people would understand that we educated people laugh at them behind their backs.
What next? A paradigm shift? How about a value-added proposition to go with it?
Buzz word bingo anyone?

Pride and Joy

December 3rd, 2012
9:02 pm

Tom asks a good (and obvious unanswered question) which is “What happens to those students who are not willing to agree to the prerequisites to enroll in this program?”
Those are the kinds of questions that a real journalist knows to anticipate and to answer in the context of a news story. When a school puts out a public relations piece and brags about its effectiveness, the average real journalist will ask the questions the PR fluff avoids:
“WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE KIDS WHO DROP OUT OF THE PROGRAM?”
My guess is that this question isn’t addressed because the school doesn’t want to answer or address hard questions, those questions that highlight some weaknesses in the program.
Indeed, what does the school do with the kids who drop out of the program? Are they put into the same general education classes as the rest of the kids, which holds back the general education kids?
Is the child who dropped out of the program put back into eighth grade or socially promoted?
What happens when parents DON’T do their part? What happens when they DON’T ensure homework is done and so on? What then?
Let’s do some more math.
79 kids went into the program and 12 dropped out.
So only 65% stayed in the program after the first year.
Only 67% of Georgia’s kids graduate high school on time.
So is the program really making a difference?
How do we know?
We have to wait and see.
Will more than 67% of these kids graduate on time or is this program too little too late?
We just have to wait and see.
My prediction — it won’t have mattered. It will not make a difference because it is implemented too late.
We need to give these kids good skills and support BEFORe THIRD GRADE!
Reading is fundamental. All kids who aren’t up to speed with their peers are behind because they cannot comprehend what they read. Children learn to read from k-2. We HAVE TO get involved and motivate parents and kids before third grade or we’re just wasting our time and money…again.

Pride and Joy

December 3rd, 2012
9:07 pm

KIM

December 4th, 2012
7:56 pm

Pride and Joy, I laugh at your arrogance. A person who is really well educated does not have to tell others.

KIM

December 4th, 2012
8:00 pm

Pride and Joy: BTW, I am not a teacher, but have had a wonderful career in education. And we eduRATS or whatever you call us, are dedicated to all of God’s children….even yours.