Program Helps Get Teens Who Dropped Out Back in Class
Yakima, WA - Drop out rates for Yakima's two high schools have improved significantly. Just a few years ago, those numbers were among the worst in the state.
The Yakima School District credits the Student Retrieval Program. It's staff members actually go out into the community -- and track down students who aren't going to class.
Rod Bryant is the program's coordinator. His job is to track down teens like Kristina Carter.
"I've knocked on hundreds of doors," he says bluntly.
Bryant says teens drop out for many different reasons; social pressures, pregnancy, work. Kristina says she was wrapped up in her social life last year, and stopped going to class at Eisenhower High School.
"I got a little too wrapped in everyone else's problems, instead of worrying about my own."
Kristina heard about the student retrieval program and this fall got in touch with Rod Bryant. Now she's enrolled at the Learning Center in Yakima. She's talking with Bryant about getting her cousin to join her.
"It feels good," she says about getting her life back on track.
Bryant meets with students like Kristina periodically - even after they are back in school, but he spends most days knocking on doors looking for those who aren't.
He knows his job may never be complete, but "We're winning the battle."
The Student Retrieval Program is now three years old. Last year alone, they got 353 drop outs back into school.