Grads Within Reach walk returns 59 dropouts to class

Fifty-nine high school dropouts are back in the classroom this week, thanks to volunteers with Houston ISD’s 11th annual Grads Within Reach walk.

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More than 200 volunteers canvassed the city to encourage students who had not returned to school this year to continue their education. The volunteers knocked on 1,400 doors and chatted with about 500 people.

“The Grads Within Reach walk is like the Super Bowl for us,” said Bea Marquez, HISD’s director of dropout prevention. “It’s great to see district employees and volunteers for our community partners out in the streets, talking one-on-one with parents and students helping them to understand the importance of being in school and being in a classroom every day. Those conversations help us create additional academic programs, plan events, and develop services to help students stay in school.”

Volunteers talked to dropouts about the different types of programs the district offers, letting them know that a traditional classroom isn’t the only path to graduation. The district also has grad labs that offer tutoring and online coursework, and schools with non-traditional hours for students who need to work during the day.

Participating high schools included: Austin, Bellaire, Chavez, Davis, Furr, Jones, Kashmere, Lamar, Lee, Madison, Milby, North Forest, Reagan, Sam Houston, Scarborough, Sharpstown, Sterling, Waltrip, Washington, Westbury, Westside, Wheatley, Worthing, and Yates.

September is Attendance Awareness Month. A student is considered chronically absent if they miss two or more days of school per month, and grades can be withheld if a student misses more than 10 percent (17 days) school per year. For information about the district’s attendance policies, and why attending class is so important, click here.

5 thoughts on “Grads Within Reach walk returns 59 dropouts to class

  1. Abigail Moran

    I know some people that might like to come back to finish their high school diploma, where do I sent them or what number can they call. Thanks:)

    1. HISD Communications

      The best number to call is 713-556-7017 — someone there will be able to walk the student through what is needed to return to school. Thanks so much for wanting to help!

  2. Gail A Forbes Harris

    Way to go, Grads Within Reach. What a great initiative. This is truly a way to aggressively reach out and bring young man and woman back to the school system. It certainly makes a powerful statement that the district cares!!!!

  3. Chris Struk

    I think this is a great initiative. As a tutor at Austin High School I am also trying to help with the teachers and others anyway that I can to stress the importance of staying in school and getting an education. I sometimes use myself as an example. I have a High School Diploma, but now alot of jobs are looking for a college degree whether you have a High School Diploma or not, so it is even hard to find a job even with that and you need a College Degree also. Also, alot of colleges may not accept you if you don’t have a Hgh School Diploma.

  4. emma pina

    I see first the efforts of these volunteers. But truth of the matter counselors need to be more supportive and help in every way they can. My son decide to drop out because a counselor drop the ball to sign him up for summer school. He shows up thinking she did and fails. Says I’m sorry . While he will have to be delayed again. If kids in school were asked what drives them or what would be better? I believe we would be off to a great start. As for myself counselor were no help so I got my GED. Only later to enter community college with the counselor to be negative being I was a single parent. I used that to get me through and graduate in December 2014. There are so many things we can do to convince these teens to stay in school. The number are good but not enough

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