The Columbus City School Board last night authorized spending nearly 800,000 dollars to continue the Diplomas Now program in three schools.
The program provides tutoring, mentoring and other assistance to at-risk students to keep them on track to graduate and is a partnership of Communities In Schools, Johns Hopkins Talent Development and City Year, which provides the staff. City Year Columbus director Todd Tuney says staff focuses on improving attendance, behavior and coursework in English and math. The program operated in Linden-McKinley, Mifflin and South High School in the 2012-2013 school year.
TT: Our goal was to achieve 67% in each one of those categories with the students that we worked with. Looking at South High School in particular, we’re able to see a growth of our 9th graders in attendance to 67% were good in attendance, and then behavior 69% were back on track in behavior. And then [in] English and math, 90% and 88% respectively. What we really were excited about was that we were about to get 93% of our 9th graders promoted into the 10th grade, on track and on time to graduate in four years.
Tuney says the programs success depends on the intensive individual approach the City Year staff provides.
TT: They follow the students directly into the classrooms, and they support those students, whether they need tutoring in their math or in their English. If a student didn’t show up, then our Corps members are looking at that list of attendance, and they’re calling those students and making sure that they at least get a message from the school saying ‘you’re wanted; we’re waiting for you here.’ And then they, at the end of the school day, they work with the students providing after school programs.
Diplomas Now operates at 39 schools in 13 cities.