BISD Targets Dropouts, Offers Alternative Learning Opportunities
"The dropout rate is a growing problem along the US right now, " says BISD Dropout Intervention Specialist, Sergio Sauceda.
The valley dropout rate only adds to that problem, but a special team made up of administrators, counselors and intervention specialists, among others in BISD are working to get students who have made the decision to leave, back in the classroom. They have through the end of September to get these students back.
Sauceda says many of these high risk students or dropouts usually are homeless, have gone through the juvenile system, are the bread winners for their families, or have children.
"Many people think the problems they have at home are just too big or they can't overcome them and school is not a priority for them," says Sauceda.
That was the case for one recovered drop out.
"My baby was sick in the hospital, he was in the hospital, I couldn't come to school because I was worried and I had no one to take care of him," says Junior, Samantha Martinez.
The recovery team got her back and is providing several alternative options to keep her on track to graduate.
"Even though I came in late, I'm still catching up with my work and they're making it easier for me," says Martinez.
She works daily at her own pace through the STARS program, a computer based credit recovery program. Martinez says she's glad they tracked her down and have provided these alternatives; otherwise she wouldn't have been back.
"I wanted to get my high school diploma because I want to go to college,” says Martinez.
Sauceda says getting these students back is one thing, getting them to stay is a task all its own; so keeping in close contact with these at risk students is an ongoing mission.
"Whether it just be counseling, whether it’s working on scheduling, making sure they go ahead and graduate and some of these kids just need attention," says Sauceda.
Now coming up in January a new program will begin which will target older dropouts, those who are over 21 years old. New night time classes will be provided to these students looking to earn their high school diplomas.