Houston ISD staff walk around neighborhoods to re-enroll high school dropouts

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Results of HISD's 'Grads Within Reach' program canvassing

A door-to-door effort by Houston ISD to push dropout students to go back to school netted 81 commitments over the weekend.

The annual Grads Within Reach Walk on Saturday comprised of volunteers knocking on the doors of dropouts to encourage them to finish their diploma.

They canvassed neighborhoods around 23 campuses and gave students information about the resources they can use to help them graduate.

The effort comes as the district faces some very low graduation rates. Some campuses are suffering from nearly half of the students dropping out before getting diplomas.

A recent study published by Houston non-profit Children At Risk ranked 10 schools in Harris County with the lowest graduation rates.

Nine out of those 10 are HISD schools: Sharpstown, Worthing, Wisdom, Kashmere, Wheatley, Jones Futures Academy, Sterling, Westbury and the Houston Math, Science & Technology Center.

As part of the effort, Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan laced up her tennis shoes to meet these dropouts.

"We were able today to contact three students from Madison High School and get them to re-enroll in school," Lathan said.

Madison High School was one of 23 campuses where volunteers started the walk.

Lathan admits finding out why a student dropped out in the first place is the key to getting them back.

"Just being able to hear some of the stories of why students dropped out and what they need to come back to school and also to ensure their success, it helps me get an idea of what we need to do differently as a staff," Lathan said.

She says there are many reasons students drop out and HISD is working to find a solution for every scenario, to ensure each student has the chance to earn their degree.

For dropout students who did not attend any of the re-enrollment programs at their high school Saturday, HISD says they can still re-enroll by simply going up to their campus and meeting with the staff.

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