By MIKE KEENEY
In the effort to reduce the dropout rate, Aldine ISD mobilized to encourage students to come back to school.
The campaign had two phases. The first part had dozens of volunteers and staff telephoning the homes of approximately 1,500 AISD students who failed to show up during the first week of school. The phone-bank operation on August 30 and August 31 was in advance of the door-to-door campaign on Saturday, September 8 to encourage dropouts to complete their education. Volunteers and staff were able to reach hundreds of students or their families during telephone operation.
The results of the phone calls also provided AISD representatives with data to map out the homes of 900 students who would be visited during the Reach Out to Dropout Walk. The walk proved successful as more than 300 volunteers that participated in the Saturday event reached more than 600 students, their families or neighbors throughout AISD.
To help students register, all of the high school campuses were opened on the day of the walk.
Of the students reached through the door-to-door phase, 15 dropouts enrolled that day while another 61 committed to enroll this week. More are expected to enroll or call to clear up student records.
Reaching out to dropouts is not a one-day effort, said Ben Wilson, AISD assistant superintendent of community and governmental relations and one of the organizers of the campaign.
The school staff has been working since the first day of school to clear up enrollment records. This effort has resulted in finding hundreds of students, encouraging them to return to school, and even clearing up records in the cases where these were not accurate. We believe we will continue to see more students returning to school because of this effort.
There are many reasons why students dropout of school. In many cases, the families or students have moved away and failed to notify the school, thus leaving records incomplete or labeling the students as dropouts. For others it is a matter of life choices and personal or family circumstances. And even lost interest may have played a role in their decision to leave school.
AISD has counselors, social workers and intervention specialists who can assist dropouts in completing their education. For those who work during the day, the Hall Education Center has a program that allows students to earn their diploma while attending school in the evening. And all of the traditional high schools assist students who are pregnant and want to complete their high school education.
Reach Out to Dropouts receives strong support from district and national leaders. At this years event, U.S. Congressman Gene Green encouraged the door-to-door volunteers at MacArthur Senior High School while many AISD administrators hit the pavement including all seven school board members.
For more information on how you can volunteer in this effort, contact Ben Wilson at 281-985-6202.
By MIKE KEENEY