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Season Of Caring: Communities in Schools

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Communities In Schools is the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization

by Tracey McCain

High Point, NC – A growing number of students make it to high school without ever learning how to read. Educators say students typically drop out to hide their illiteracy.

A Triad group is tackling the problem; working to help students learn and graduate. WFMY News 2’s Tracey McCain tells us more about Communities in Schools and how they could use your help.

If statewide statistics remain true, by the time under performing second graders enter high school, 3 out of 5 boys will drop out along with a quarter of the class.

High Point Central junior Rosanna Ventura is helping students prove experts wrong.

Rosanna works with Montlieu Elementary School second graders on math, but improving literacy among students at the Title One school is her primary goal.

“I’m here to help them. They’re not really good at reading but they’re getting better,” said Ventura.

She is one of 19 high school students to volunteer with Communities in Schools; a dropout prevention program.

“I think it’s real important for kids to feel good about themselves and if they don’t feel good about themselves, I don’t think they’ll do any good in school.”

The non-profit group works to reduce the drop out rate. The program that normally targets high school freshmen; now focuses on second and third graders.

“If students are deficient in areas especially in areas like reading, 9th grade is a little late to try to tackle that,” said Cerise Collins, Executive Director for Communities in Schools in High Point.

“What happens a lot of times is when students drop out their level of frustration for being able to be successful diminishes by the time they get to high school. And they feel like at this point, what else am I going to do,” Collins said.

That’s where volunteers make the difference. “When the student’s preliminary tested, almost close to 90% of the students were not performing on or above grade level. One hundred percent increased and their measures were amazing; improving their score some as much as 9 points, and many of them moved above grade level,” she said.

Communities in Schools can always use your help. You can volunteer your time by contacting your local office. Click here to be directed to the North Carolina Communities in Schools directory.

Source: WFMY News 2 Copyright: 2008

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