Communities in Schools Program helps struggling students - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Communities in Schools Program helps struggling students

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ATLANTA -

Nearly a third of all Georgia students fail to finish high school in four years, but Georgia's Communities in Schools program is helping reverse that trend by getting up close and personal with students.

Nikita Henry is proud of her school, even though it isn't your typical high school.

"I'm not as distracted as easy. I'm doing my work. I actually ask questions. It's basically fun for me," said Henry.

A building in Marietta is a Performance Learning Center. It's part of the Communities in Schools program. PLCs are small, non-traditional school settings geared to a specific type of student.

"We knew that there were many children who were extremely smart and competent and could really do great things, but for some reason they got distracted, got off track and were not achieving to their potential," said Communities in Schools co-founder Neil Shorthouse.

Bernice Henderson's daughter, L'aisha, was having problems in school. Henderson says they tried tutoring, talking with counselors, but nothing appeared to be working.

Bernice and Alfred Henderson's say their daughter is a visual learner. L'aisha, like all of the nearly 100 students that attend a PLC, she was in danger of not graduating.

"I would just sit there, and I'd do this or doodle on my paper and not pay attention to the teacher," said student L'aisha Henderson.

"In your larger settings, students become simply a number, but here we make it more personalized. We not only get to know the student but we get to know the family, the situation, everything," said principal Tammie Roach.

PLC students complete assignments using a computer-based curriculum with the assistance of a teacher.  Students are given one on one attention and allowed to move at their own pace.

"Whatever you need they're there. Not just academically but they'll be there to talk to you if you're having a bad day. They'll be like, what's wrong and help you out," said student Sapphire Govan.

It's a concept that's made the difference between falling through the cracks and soaring to new heights.

"I don't know what happened to my child and where this child came from. That's how good this program is. Now we have a child that, I got to get up before I go to work, she's here at 6:45. She doesn't leave until 5:00," said Sapphire's father, Shacon Fanning.

Communities in Schools has recently opened a free parent resource center to give parents tips and ideas for preparing for standardized tests and helping students with homework. For more information on Communities in Schools and PLC, click here!

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