'Diplomas Now' Offers Potential Dropouts Lots of Help
The Diplomas Now model, spreading in cities across the nation, uses an early- warning system to identify potential dropouts and offers intensive social support to help students make it through.
On a dead-end street in a hardscrabble corner of this city, an experiment to keep students from dropping out of school begins with 11-year-olds.
Even before the first bell rings at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, and long after the last bell sounds, students are drawn into a web of activities and relationships designed to keep them on track with their studies. From the greeting-and-bonding activity in the school courtyard each morning to the homework help and community-service projects into the late afternoons, students are linked with a team of adults who serve as mentors, monitors, teachers, naggers, and nurturers. Some even follow the neediest students from class to class, offering minute-by-minute help.
The 750-student middle school in upper north Philadelphia is a showcase for a comprehensive approach to dropout prevention. It produced such dramatic improvements in attendance, behavior, and course-passing rates last year that it’s being tried this year in 11 more middle or high schools in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans,...
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