To the Editor:
In response to Diana Nelson’s Commentary “Middle Mismanagement” (Nov. 24, 2004): The Las Cruces, N.M., school district has recently initiated a dropout-prevention program using middle managers as the key ingredient. District high schools identify their students most at risk of failure, and middle-level (as well as some higher-level) district managers volunteer to mentor one of these students through school.
The program is designed with attention both to mentoring research and to research on at-risk youths and volunteer programs. The payoffs are multiple: Schools get to see middle managers work with their most challenging students; middle managers get to revisit their background in direct service; and students benefit from both the relationships with the mentors and the connections the mentors have with the system.
Las Cruces, N.M.
A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2005 edition of Education Week as Middle Managers: One District’s Success Story