Three years have past since Chico Harlan’s heartbreaking series in The Washington Post “A Region Left Behind” laid bare the crushing truth of poverty in the Deep South. In places like Drew, Mississippi, the chances of climbing out of poverty aren’t good — even for students who do manage to earn a high school diploma.
Madeline wasn’t convinced a traditional high school was quite right for her. When her boyfriend suggested she try Graduation Alliance, as he had, she took after his hard-working example. “In high school I had trouble focusing. It was hectic and I just wanted to have fun,” Madeline said. “With Graduation Alliance I can do my
Tristen was performing perfectly in a traditional high school setting. That is, until he moved to a new town for his senior year. “The school literally gave me panic attacks the moment I walked in. It was so much bigger than any school I’d ever been too,” he said. “Finishing high school was my biggest
Jordan was ready to start his career and leave school forever. The problem? He hadn’t yet earned a high school diploma. “School itself was my biggest challenge,” Jordan said. “Just having to work on someone else’s schedule was hard. I couldn’t found time.” When a counselor in his traditional high school told him about opportunities
Nate wanted to be in school, but his home life made that hard. So when an enrollment counselor from Graduation Alliance left a voicemail for him, after being referred by his local school district, he immediately called back. “I work full time, so my family and challenges at home really started to interfere with my
While growing up, Cassie never became too attached to friends in school. Her family moved around about once a year—making friends stopped being worth the effort. “High school kids are not exactly known to be friendly sometimes,” Cassie said. “The pressures and school atmosphere for the social aspect was hard for me to want to
Hannah knew the value of education. Having grown up in a small private school, she was eager to continue her learning in a traditional high school setting. But the change was overwhelming, partly due to the sheer size of the campus and class sizes. “School was already hard,” Hannah said. “Then, I got sick for
Savannah moved around a lot when she was in high school. With each move, she fell just a bit further behind. She reached the end of her senior year a few credits shy of a diploma. And that was that. Or, so she thought. Then one day, a few years after leaving school, she got
The report of proceedings from the 5th annual Alternative Accountability Policy Forum has been published, and the recommendations derived from 26 sessions from teachers, administrators, researchers and educational policy experts are eye-opening.