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AISD goes door-to-door to bring dropouts back to school

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Sep 14 2013 08:52:17 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 14 2013 08:52:27 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Groups of volunteers with the Abilene Independent School District went door-to-door Saturday to encourage drop-outs to return to school.

Each year, about 40 students go unaccounted for in the school district and administrators and community members were among the volunteers. The program is called, "Walk for Graduates." 

One group said all the students they spoke to are working on a plan to return to school. AISD administrators want drop-outs to know they can always come back to school and finish their education. 
 
"You have students that face pregnancy," AISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Burns said. "You have students that need to work to support family or to help their mom and dad. You have students that just faced personal tragedies and challenges like everyone else faces in life and make a choice to discontinue."

The trained volunteers provided resources and encouragement to the students they visited. 

"The school district has so many ways to help students and sometimes they're just not aware of something like night school or that they could come early and still go to their job," Mathematics Director Nita Keese said.

The groups visited 60 homes total. 

"We send a message to the students that no matter why they left, they're welcome back," Dr. Burns said. "This is home and that getting a public education is one of the most significant things that they can do to give themselves a chance to better their lives for themselves she for their children."

If the volunteers don't hear back from students by Tuesday, they will touch base by calling the families to find ways to recover the students.

Teachers said another reason students drop out is because they haven't passed the STAAR test. AISD said they provide on-going tutoring programs to help students pass the the test.

By 5 p.m. Saturday, AISD Director of Accelerated Programs Billy Stone said the district had already received calls from dropout students.