Each morning, when the school bell rings, a warning siren should go off across our community. Young people are dropping out of school at an alarming rate. Children in poverty live face-to-face with barriers to academic progress and well-being. Among them: hunger, an absence of academic support, low parental involvement, limited medical and dental care. With barriers like these, it’s hard for young people to find a path forward. Or a reason to believe they ever will.
So where do we start? How do we begin to tackle this problem? The answer – middle school. The fact is this: Students who start 9th grade on schedule, reading at grade level, with grade-appropriate math skills are three times more likely to graduate high school than students who don’t. In a world that can so easily go sour, this is the sweet spot. Sixth through eighth.
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