Help available for high school dropouts

August 19, 2008 4:46:26 PM PDT
A large number of Philadelphia students who drop out of school really want to go back. Now, the city's school district has a new way to help them achieve that goal.

It's called "The Re-Engagement Center," which helps 16 to 21 year olds who've disconnected from school re-enroll in diploma or GED programs. Research found 85% of young people who quit school actually want to come back but don't know where to turn.

"We didn't have a system," said Courtney Collins-Shapiro of the Re-Engagement Center. "So kids were calling different numbers, going different places and it was sort of if they lucked out they wound up in a place that made sense for them. Now we're saying it's our job to own that and help you, soup to nuts, get everything you need."

The Re-Engagement Center is at district headquarters. It's one stop shopping that helps place students in programs that fit their learning styles and needs. Some need smaller classes, mentoring, child care or even housing to learn well.

It's there to help students like Victilicia Rodriguez, who felt insignificant in her overcrowded classes and disconnected without fanfare.

"Students were unruly," Rodriguez said. "And my immediate reaction was to stop going to class. Over time I nearly stopped going to school completely. Out of 120 school days, I attended 18."

Now, Rodriguez is a college bound honor students while attending one of the 20 alternative learning programs the center uses.

Already 300 students have come through the re-engagement center.

For more information:

Call (215) 400-6700

Or visit:

The School District of Philadelphia

Re-Engagement Center

440 North Broad Street

Suite 1013

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.m Monday through Friday

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