VOLUNTEERS KNOCK ON DOORS TO BRING STUDENTS BACK TO SCHOOL
More than 50 teachers, outreach workers, district staff and community members turned out Sept. 15 for the PPS Reconnect to Your Future Campaign, knocking on the doors of students who are not in school and inviting them back.
The campaign builds on efforts that began last fall with the creation of PPS Reconnection Services, a team of outreach workers who contact students who have left school to get them reconnected. The initiative is among the school district’s efforts to raise the graduation rate and ensure that all students are prepared for college and career.
“We’re really working to make sure that every student finds their way to school this year and finds the support they need to stay in school,” said Superintendent Carole Smith.
At the start of school this year, 274 students who had left the district’s nine main high schools last year had still not returned. Outreach workers got 119 of them reconnected by Sept. 15, when volunteers mobilized to find the remaining 155.
Teachers, school and district staff volunteer
Volunteers included Bonnie Calnek, a secretary at Chief Joseph K-5 School, and Kate Moore, a Franklin High School teacher. Both just sent children off to college after a range of challenges and wanted to help others.
“If we can get just one kid back,” Moore said. “Kids need to graduate from high school. Life’s pretty hard without that.”
Moore and Calnek’s list of students proved typical. In several cases, no one was home so they left a door hanger with information. In one case, the family had moved. But several visits were fruitful.
One young man came to the door with younger siblings at his feet. He said he had left Madison High School last year and that his mom wanted him to go to an alternative school. Moore and Calnek said PPS could help and said an outreach worker would call him. Then they made him promise he’d get back to school. Moore held out her hand and the young man accepted the handshake.
“This was a good visit. He wants to go,” said Calnek afterward. “Let’s get this kid back in school! Yes!”
Efforts will continue throughout the year to reconnect students who leave the district’s mainstream and alternative high schools. For information, contact PPS Reconnection Services: 503-916-3956 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Reconnection Services started out of the need to provide every disengaged youth hope and access to their dream of graduating. Historically, if students are not re-engaged immediately upon request, they are discouraged and they disengage for even longer periods of time.
Reconnection Services is a collaborative effort in Portland Public Schools to support middle and high school students in re-engaging in their education. We work with students who have disconnected from school and need assistance in re-enrolling in either their neighborhood school or another education option.
If you are a student who needs assistance in getting back into school,
Contact us in one of the following ways: