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.