Program targets students in elementary school to decrease dropout rate

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email
High school dropouts

High school dropouts cause the country to lose $319 billion dollars in lost wages and taxes. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 26, 2012)

News 12 This Morning / Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The moment that makes every parent proud, walking down the stage and getting a diploma in hand, doesn't always come for every family.

In 2010, 20 percent of Georgia students never made it to that stage.

"It's not just a one-person problem, it's a community problem," said Brittany Dixon, grants coordinator with the Boys and Girls club of the CSRA.

That's why recent grads like Jennifer Barton are giving back, mentoring young students who can relate to her.

"We talk about academics, strong points," Barton said. "What she likes about school, what she doesn't like. How we can make it more interesting for her."

Barton is a mentor for the "Be Great: Graduate" program. It's an initiative that tracks elementary students for three to four years.

"We track our kids' behavior, we track attendance and track course work," Dixon explained.

Targeting students early allows the program to catch the warning signs of dropping out. When a student starts to slip, the mentors and program coordinators provide them with social and academic support.

"I just try to make sure that I am reassuring and positive all the time," Barton said.

High school dropouts cause the country to lose $319 billion dollars in lost wages and taxes. Closing the book on education means a tough time finding a good job.

"Factors such as truancy, having a low socioeconomic status, low academic scores," Dixon said.

By tracking the ABC's of education, the program hopes to see the dropout rate drop to zero. The program is targeted toward fourth and eighth graders.

It will cost parents $10 per year for all the services they provide for the program. Currently, they are tracking 50 participants in Richmond County. You can call (706) 504-4071 for more information.


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