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Seattle Times Highlights Middle Schools and Diplomas Now

Seattle Times Highlights Middle Schools and Diplomas Now

The Seattle Times, winner of nine Pulitzer Prizes, focused today on the Diplomas Now partnership with two middle schools in Seattle. We are proud to be a part of these success stories.

2 Seattle middle schools focus on attendance, see scores climb

EDUCATION LAB: Missing just a few days of class in sixth grade can predict whether you’ll graduate from high school. That research powers a national anti-dropout effort that’s making a difference at Seattle’s Aki Kurose and Denny International middle schools. Read more…

Video: “Near peers” drum up enthusiasm at Middle School

If you’re a student at Denny International Middle School in West Seattle, a lively scene of chanting and singing welcomes you as you arrive for class each morning. The routine is just the beginning of the many duties that the school’s City Year corps members perform during the day.

Denny is one of two schools in Seattle participating in the anti-dropout Diplomas Now program, and City Year youth – who call themselves “near peers” – are an important part if it. They target kids who are frequently late to class (or don’t show up at all), knowing that sixth graders who miss 20 percent of school – 18 days in Seattle – have no better than a 20 percent chance of graduating high school on time.

Check out the video at the Seattle Times to find out more about Diplomas Now and see the City Year corps members in action.

Five questions with Denny Middle School’s City Year mentors

James Dixon and Becka Gross are two of the red-vested City Year mentors who work at Denny International Middle School in West Seattle. Here, the two AmeriCorps members, featured in the Seattle Times story about the importance of attendance, answer questions from reporter Claudia Rowe about their work at Denny and their own middle-school experiences. Read more…

Communities should work together to keep kids in class

Our own Dr. Robert Balfanz is a guest contributor at the Seattle Times today:

Nationwide, 5 million to 7.5 million students are chronically absent each year. In Seattle, this amounts to missing at least 18 days — or about a month’s worth of school.

All too often, no one notices or even cares if these kids don’t show up.

Our research at Johns Hopkins University shows that chronic absence is a strong predictor of who will eventually drop out of school. And the problem starts early. One study estimated that one in 10 of the nation’s kindergarten and first-grade students were chronically absent. Read more…