You are here

District Profile

Dropping the Dropout Rate

When college-age mentors from the New Directions program in Harlingen, Texas, came calling at Dora Oliveras' middle school, she was wary at first. "I was doing OK in school," she recalls, "and I thought maybe New Directions was some kind of special ed program in high school."

A Little District That

In a village severely disadvantaged by sheer geography, it would be easy for the failure of a single student to go unnoticed. Located in the heart of Alaska, Galena is only accessible by boat (in the summer, when the river is ice-free) and by plane. But when one of the district's 13 seniors from its K-12 facility, Galena City School, didn't graduate this year, educators didn't just chalk it up to statistics.

Over the course of one school year, Teresa Moran has gone from a concerned yet helpless parent to an active participant in her children's education.

Last school year, Moran was struggling to communicate with her second-grade son, Robert, about how he was doing in his Los Angeles school. Moran, who immigrated to the area from Mexico 12 years ago, spoke very little English and could not help her son with his homework or discuss any educational concerns with his teacher.

Flashback: The year was 1994, and Washoe County School District's self-insured health plan was on life support. The Reno, Nevada-based district was facing a 45 percent rate increase. Continued, drastic rate hikes would prove fatal to the program and injure the district's bottom line.

There are many things Principal George Albano can't do. He can't walk through the brightly colored halls of Lincoln Elementary in Mount Vernon, N.Y., without virtually talking to every other teacher, lightly touch a shoulder in a warm gesture and explain the staff member's "never-missed-a-day-of-school" dedication.

He can't oversee carpeted classrooms without waving to students who look for his smile and compliments on their work.

The recruitment problems facing Columbus (Ohio) Public Schools--namely a shortage of qualified math and science teachers and a lack of minority role models--are a nearly universal challenge. The Columbus solution? Tap into internal resources.

The district's Stepping Up program has allowed classified employees to earn a math or science teaching license with no out-of-pocket costs. In exchange, the employees commit to teaching in the district for four years.

This district proves that a digital divide effort can be stretched to accomplish so much more

They say when you look at fine sculpture, the work can be viewed from any angle without disappointment. The artist considers every side.

As soon as Principal Renita Perkins saw the teacher's tears, she had a pretty good notion about what was wrong.

At the teacher's prior school, affluence and two-parent homes were the norm. On the flip side, Nashville's Cumberland Elementary has mainly disadvantaged minority students. Perkins had discussed this potential problem with the teacher when she hired her.

But now, here she was, at her wits' end over two difficult students in her fourth-grade class. Their behavior had crossed the line into physical fighting.

The bucolic Amish country of Lancaster County, Pa., is home to a group that survives with only basic means, minimal possessions and the bare essentials of shelter. But these people are not Amish. They're the homeless of Lancaster, a city with typical urban problems. Chief among them is its homeless students.