TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The absenteeism in urban public schools is a horrible problem. When kids skip school they pretty much condemn themselves to a lifetime of failure.
Americorps and the United Way correctly determined that it is unacceptable to just shrug our shoulders and ignore this reality, so this year they launched a program called Graduation Coaches.
Here's how it works: Specially-trained Americorps members volunteer to work with at-risk 8th and 9th graders. They try to identify the key causes for absenteeism and work to resolve those problems. They monitor daily attendance and offer support and guidance and needed resources to get these kids to come to class.
The results have been encouraging. Grades have improved. Attitudes have changed. The 9th graders are discovering meaningful role models and the self-satisfaction of doing something well. This is a small step in the right direction, but at-risk kids need something to believe in, and someone to believe in them.
Graduation Coaches; it's a good idea. Hopefully, it will become a great one.