Los Angeles Tries Luring Back Dropouts Via Social Networks
Facing unrelenting pressure to raise anemic high school graduation rates, education leaders in Los Angeles are turning to YouTube, MySpace, text messaging, and the radio waves to reach students at risk of dropping out of school and lure back thousands who have already left.
The Los Angeles Unified School District —the nation’s second largest, with 708,000 students—is believed to be one of the first districts to use social-networking Web sites and text-messaging communications as a vital part of a dropout-reduction strategy.
Students who abandoned the city’s high schools and have come back to finish their diplomas will be the primary messengers to their at-risk peers in the new campaign, said Debra Duardo, the director of Los Angeles Unified’s dropout-prevention and -recovery program. They will post video testimonials on YouTube and build groups on popular MySpace message boards to spread the word about their own experiences and the alternatives for earning a diploma, which don’t necessarily require a return to one of the district’s...
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